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How would you recommend completing high school with the necessary tools to obtain a degree in law that would allow me to be successful in getting into an excellent law program?

I am a sophomore in high school, I want to go to UCLA, I do think law would be a good choice for me due to the fact that I can be very persuasive and persistent.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Edward’s Answer

Kim's response is superb, I would add only: incorporate writing as well.

Seek out an English course where you'll be tasked with writing essays, book reports, and creative fiction. The objective here is to master the art of persuasion through writing, a skill crucial to the profession of law.

Edward recommends the following next steps:

practice your writing
read as many of the great books as possible, esp. Arthur Conan Doyle, Kafka, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy
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Kim’s Answer

Joseph,

To capitalize on your HS education, I'd recommend some of the following:
1. drama (ability to act, and to control facial expressions/reactions)
2. speech
3. debate
4. a class that makes sure you understand grammar and the parts of speech
5. perhaps Latin language (many law words are Latin, as are medical terms if you go that route)
6. analytical thinking - if your school offers Logic, that is a good course. Otherwise, I like Geometry
7. being well-rounded - join some clubs or civic organizations, do charitable work, etc. Start working towards establishing yourself as a leader. Run for student government, or be a leader of a club. Do things that show compassion towards others- not everything has to revolve around law.

You will then go to college to get a 4 year degree, before going to law school. There you will want to meet with the Pre-Law advisor, get involved in various civic activities and student organizations, hopefully take leadership roles, etc. At some point you will need to take the LSAT for law school admission. It' s a difficult test, which you should start looking at and thinking about very early in your college days. special prep courses are offered, you should consider taking them.

Hope this helps!

Law is a very broad field. If you have interests in a particular area (such as medical malpractice) you should consider getting your undergrad degree in a science/healthcare field, as the knowledge will be very useful when handling cases. When I retired from law enforcement, I did some work for a criminal defense/civil rights attorney. He definitely appreciated the perspective I brought to the cases.

Kim
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Jacob’s Answer

It's great that you have a clear goal of pursuing a degree in law and aiming for a prestigious law program like UCLA. Here's a roadmap to help you prepare for success in your future legal career:

1. **Maintain Strong Academics**: Focus on maintaining excellent grades throughout high school, especially in challenging courses like English, history, government, and debate. A strong academic record is crucial for law school admissions.

2. **Take Honors and Advanced Courses**: Enroll in honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses to demonstrate your commitment to academic excellence. These courses also provide college credit opportunities.

3. **Develop Critical Thinking and Writing Skills**: Law requires strong analytical and writing skills. Engage in activities like debate, mock trial, and essay competitions to hone these abilities.

4. **Extracurricular Activities**: Participate in extracurricular activities that showcase leadership, teamwork, and community involvement. Consider joining debate clubs, student government, or organizations related to law and justice.

5. **Internships and Volunteer Work**: Seek internships or volunteer opportunities with law firms, legal aid organizations, or local courts. Practical experience in the legal field can provide valuable insights.

6. **Build a Strong Resume**: As you progress through high school, compile a resume that highlights your academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, and any relevant internships or volunteer work.

7. **Prepare for Standardized Tests**: Start preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, as these scores are a part of the law school admissions process. Consider taking the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) prep courses when the time comes.

8. **Research UCLA and Other Law Schools**: Familiarize yourself with the specific admission requirements and criteria for UCLA and other law schools you may be interested in. Tailor your high school experience to align with these expectations.

9. **Seek Mentorship**: Connect with teachers, counselors, or professionals in the legal field who can provide guidance and mentorship as you prepare for law school.

10. **Develop Public Speaking Skills**: Public speaking is a valuable skill for lawyers. Consider joining Toastmasters or participating in public speaking courses or clubs.

11. **Cultivate a Growth Mindset**: Approach challenges with a growth mindset, viewing setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. This mindset will serve you well in the demanding field of law.

12. **Stay Informed**: Keep up with current events, legal issues, and important court cases. Read books, articles, and blogs related to law and justice to expand your knowledge.

13. **Write and Research**: Practice your research and writing skills by taking on independent research projects or contributing to your school's newspaper or literary magazine.

14. **Letters of Recommendation**: Build strong relationships with teachers, mentors, or employers who can write compelling letters of recommendation for your college and law school applications.

Remember that the path to law school is a journey that requires dedication and preparation. Stay focused on your goals, seek opportunities to grow and learn, and consistently strive for excellence. With determination and the necessary tools, you can increase your chances of gaining admission to a top law program like UCLA and achieving success in the legal field.
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