12 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Law School Admission Consultant

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I just put down the new issue of preLaw magazine, featuring an interview with three people giving admission advice for law school. I have to admit, the article makes me a little mad and I rolled my eyes more than once at the advice being given. At least two of the people interviewed are law school admission consultants and all 4 have written books on the subject.
One person (and I’m not sure whether she has ever evaluated a law school admission file) said if you have under a 3.0 you may want to re-evaluate applying to law school. WHAT? I’m shocked at this advice. Lots of my clients have GPAs under a 3.0 (and closer to a 2.0) and they get into fine law schools. What if people reading this give up on their goals because of this one purported “expert’s” comment? That’s one of the comments that makes me mad.
#1 So, the first thing to ask a prospective law school admission consultant is: “Do you work with other applicants in my situation, or only applicants applying to “Top 20″ schools?” You need to find someone who is excited to work with you and help you through this process, no matter what your goals or where you hope to attend.
Another person, whom I think is one of the great legal minds in our country but not a great law admissions theorist says (loosely): “Get good grades. Do well on the “law boards.” And get professors who will write you letters of Rec.” Wow. Genius advice ; ) – And I’ve never heard anyone else call the LSAT the “law boards”….
A lot of the advice in the article seems geared toward the person trying to go to a Top 5 law school, but in reality only 2% of all law school applicants are going to attend these schools. There are 200 law schools in this country for a reason and everyone who graduates and passes the bar is a lawyer. #2 Will the law school admission consultant you work with realize this and place the same importance on each piece of your application that they will on the applicant applying to Harvard?
#3 Also, how much time does the consultant have to work with you?
#4 Is the person also helping people applying to MBA programs? Giving career advice to recent grads? Doing a book tour? Practicing law? How high up will you be on the priority list of this very busy person? I’ve had clients who started working with two of the individuals interviewed in this article who then stopped and started working with me instead because helping law school applicants is all I do, full time.
#5 How responsive will the law school admission counselor be to your needs?
#6 Does he/she have someone else do editing? Who will actually be picking up the phone and giving you advice?
#7 Do you need to make an appointment or do you feel free to call and have an open discussion whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused or down?
#8 How does the person charge? If it’s by the hour, is that conducive to you really taking advantage of the individual’s expertise and asking every little question that comes up?
#9 How fast will your e-mails and phone messages be answered? How quickly will your essay drafts be turned around?
#10 Does the law school admission advisor give the same advice to everyone – does everyone fill out the same questionnaire or does he/she really take the time to get to know you and give you the advice and timeline that applies to your specific situation?
#11 Is the person willing to give you references of current/former clients with similar goals, credentials, and geographic region?
#12 And, MOST IMPORTANTLY, Has the person actually made law school admission decisions?

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