If you’re even thinking about applying to law school, it’s tempting to apply now. After all, law school applications are down – significantly – and people are getting into crazy reach schools that wouldn’t have considered them back in 2008. Of course there are reasons for this, but we’re not talking about whether to attend law school: we are talking about whether to even apply. The decision whether to attend can be made later. If you are thinking about law school, you’ll never know what your options might be unless you actually apply. So, if you’re thinking there’s a better-than-50 percent chance that you might want to start law school next fall, you may want to move ahead and apply so you have the option to attend later. Of course, you have to want it enough to spend considerable time, energy, and money on the process – for some of you that means the threshold will need to be considerably higher than 50 percent. But you’re reading this blog, so chances are you’re already in the mindset. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re deciding whether to bite the bullet and apply this fall:
Do You Want to Be A Lawyer? It’s a tough question to answer, even for many lawyers. If you haven’t worked for a lawyer yet, you should look into the possibility. You should, at the very least, reach out and talk to lawyers. Don’t be scared or shy – ask people who they can introduce you to – ask a friend or cousin or your hairdresser if they have a family member or friend who is a lawyer. And don’t be shy – ask questions, see if you can follow someone around for a day, learn about how different the life of a transactional lawyer is from the life of a workers compensation attorney. Find out what an “international law attorney” really does, and whether it really is glamorous. And whether you’re even qualified to do it based on your language fluencies and other professional experiences. Here’s a 2-minute tip video about how to make smart decisions in the law school decision process (spoiler alert: for profit law schools are not a good bet):
What are Your Job and Career Prospects without a Law Degree? If you’re already on Wall Street and you’d be going to BigLaw after law school, or if you are in a profession where you’re already making close to 6-figures, it might not be worth it to you to give up three years’ of income unless you’re really sure it’s the right career choice for you for the long haul. Obviously, if you want to practice immigration law or be a district attorney – if it’s about the job rather than the money – then stepping aside for three years would be worth it to you, probably sooner rather than later. And, of course, there may be a compromise: perhaps a part-time program that would allow you to continue earning income, would work for you. Also, even if you attend law school full-time, you can work during your second and third years. You might not really be giving up three years after all, and if you have help paying your law school tuition, whether from family or from scholarships, this makes the choice that much easier.
Can You Get in to a Law School You Would Want to Attend? If you’ve already taken the LSAT, or spent considerable time preparing for it, you have a good idea of what your options would be based on that LSAT score (and your GPA, of course). If you’re on the cusp of being in the possible admit category for the schools you’d like to attend, you don’t have a lot to lose by trying. After all, you’ve done the hardest part by getting the LSAT behind you.
Can you spend at least $1500 on LSAC fees, the LSAT, LSAT Prep, and law school applications? If not, then you shouldn’t apply. If you don’t have money to do more than buy a book on LSAT prep, you’re going to have a tough time putting yourself in a position to succeed in this process. There are definitely affordable ways to prepare for the LSAT, but think about how it will all add up. If you’re not wiling to invest a little bit in your future success, it probably tells you something about (a) how badly you want it; and (2) whether you can afford law school.
Can You Get Your Act Together in the Next 2-3 Months? YES. If you think you can get your ducks in a row to apply in (or, preferably, before) January, then now is the time to get started. Your first step might learning more about the law school admission process (this law school guidebook takes just 3 hours to read). If you’re interested in law school admission consulting, we are offering a convenient payment plan for the first time. Whether you plan to apply after your September LSAT score comes out, or after a December score, now is the time to start strategizing and getting your ducks in a row to find out what your options might be if you apply.