February 23, 2011

Preparing For Law School: Choosing The Right Law School For You

So you've taken the LSAT and gotten together your application materials, but you're unsure where you want to spend the next three years?  This final installment on preparing for law school gives some suggestions on how to determine which law school is the right one for you.

Attend A Law School Fair
Law school fairs are a great way to find out about the schools in your area.  Major cities and large colleges generally have one once a year.  Check out the websites of as many of the attending law schools as you can beforehand to figure out which ones you might be interested in and stop by those tables first.  Chat up the representative, pick up some brochures, and ask any questions that came up when you were exploring the school's website.  Then wander over to any tables that catch your eye (or have nice pens!).  Having physical brochures can be helpful because they are often laid out more clearly than the websites and they make it easier to compare schools and programs.

Decide Where You Want To Practice
Unless you are attending a top law school, I highly suggest going to law school in the area where you want to practice.  The legal world, just like the music world, revolves around relationships.  Employers look to nearby schools first when hiring interns or associates, and being able to intern during the school year in the city where you want to practice can help you to create valuable relationships early that could lead to a job later on.  Another reason is because professors often mention what the law is in the state you are in during class when there are differences in state laws, which can help you later on when it comes time to take the bar exam in that state.  The obvious choices for entertainment law are New York, L.A., and Nashville, but other big cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, or Atlanta can be good cities to practice entertainment law in as well.

Assess Your Choices Realistically
Once you have a list of law schools that seem pretty cool, you have to start being realistic with yourself.  Look up the admission statistics for your chosen law schools on LSAC and compare the averages to your LSAT score and GPA.  If your numbers are way below theirs, cross that school off your list.  Not everyone can get into Yale or Harvard.  Try to narrow your list down to at least two schools that you will have no problem getting in to, at least two schools that have average acceptance scores close to yours, and one reach-for-the-stars school.  Your reach-for-the-stars school should be your dream school that is juuust out of your reach average score-wise.  That one school that just MIGHT accept you based on other considerations, and you'll never forgive yourself for not trying.  So go for it.  You never know.

Arrange To Visit
Visiting the campus is of course the best way to get an idea of what life would be like if you attended.  Most schools have tours available, and some will even let you sit in on a first year class.  If possible, take advantage of the opportunity to get a feel for the school.  Talk with the students there.  A website and a pamphlet can only say so much and are obviously biased in favor of the school.  Get the real scoop.

- Lauren
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