One of my clients raised a good question today – What do I do if I don’t feel ready for the December LSAT?
If this is your first time taking the LSAT, and you’re planning to apply for Fall 2008 admission, then you need to weigh the pros and cons:
(A) If you don’t feel ready to take the LSAT, then your instinct is probably right. You have a few options. You could take it and just see what happens and if it’s halfway decent then you can apply. (Not a fantastic strategy and usually it goes worse than you expect and becomes something you have to later explain on your applications; plus, it’s a huge ego-deflater).
(B) You could wait and take the February LSAT and apply to schools that offer a January 2009 start date. (This is an interesting option for those of you graduating in December who are preoccupied with everything else going on in your life right now).
Or (C) you can take the LSAT in February for Fall 2009 admission. If it doesn’t go as you’d like, you’d still have the option of re-taking it in June. You’ll be able to show your grades from your final year of college and submit your law school applications early in the cycle (August/September), thereby taking advantage of rolling admissions. You’d also hear back from a lot of schools pretty quickly.
So, that brings me to the topic of what to do in your year off before law school:
A lot of people go to a law firm, where they are a “paralegal”, “legal assistant,” or “file clerk.” They think they will gain some significant insight into the legal profession this way and get an attorney or two to tell a law school how they brilliantly saved a case for the firm. Yeah, ummm, not going to happen. Really, you’re just going to have a boring year typing with long hours. while busy lawyers bark at you. And, you’ll be applying to law school while enduring those long hours. And, after all that, you’ll have only spent three months at the firm by the time you apply. How outstanding a letter of rec do you think you’re going to get?
Better ideas? Yes. Find your passion!!! Find something that will set you apart and help you find a niche. It can be anything from sky-diving instruction to teaching the viola. The key is to explore one of your passions. Plus, it’s probably one of the last times in your life where you can spend your day doing something really fun, something you enjoy. And it’s also probably the last time you’ll be able to get away with only making $25,000/year.
P.S. If I’ve confused those of you who are relying on schools to accept your February 2008 LSAT score for Fall 2008 admission, let me explain: They may say they accept the February LSAT under their rolling admissions policy, but what they mean to say is: “We’ll accept a February LSAT score that is above our 75th percentile, but really by then we’ll have given away most of the seats in the class.”