When you are on the fence about attending law school, advice from people around you can influence your decision. Here we give some great advice about law school, but we have also heard some bad advice about law school. Here is the bad advice we have heard and why it is bad.
- Take the LSAT cold – Taking the LSAT without any preparation or understanding of the test is terrible advice. If you are serious about law school, taking the LSAT cold could make getting into law school difficult. You cannot take the LSAT more than three times in a two-year period. If you do terribly the first time, you are one test closer to maxing out and having to wait to re-take it. If you properly study and prepare for the LSAT, hopefully, you will only have to take it once. While some law schools look at your highest score on the LSAT, others will average the scores if you have multiple.
- Law schools only look at your LSAT/GPA – I can only speak specifically for University at Buffalo School of Law, but we look at all of the components of all the applications we receive. That includes letters of recommendation, personal statement, resume, and any addenda you include to complete your application. LSAT and GPA are indicators the admissions committee uses to gage the type of student you are, but the other documents paint a complete picture of you as a person including your background and your strengths. Do not be discouraged if your LSAT and GPA do not fall exactly within the range of the school you are applying to. Many students do not fit the profile exactly and the admissions committee takes the other parts of your application into consideration.
- Get a letter of recommendation from a politician, alum, lawyer, or family member – At UB School of Law, letters of recommendation can really make the difference in a law school application. The more personal and genuine, the better. Our admissions committee is not impressed to see the letterhead of a politician or attorney if the content of the letter impersonal and generic. Your letters of recommendation should be personal but not too Letters of recommendation from a family member, generally, do not seem genuine or unbiased. They also cause the admissions committee to question why you didn’t get one from a professor or advisor.
- You should go to law school because you like to argue – Being a lawyer requires more skills than being able to argue. It requires research, time, and ultimately the ability to negotiate and compromise. Law school is also very expensive. If the sole basis for attending law school is that you like to argue, I would evaluate if it is really a strong enough desire to follow through with.
There is a lot of good and bad advice out there about law school and lawyers in general. If making a difference and advocating for people is what you truly desire to do, don’t let anyone’s opinion stop you from doing that.