Preparing for Law school in high school
As a young student, it can be hard to know exactly what you want to do or study after you graduate.
However, you can take small steps every day and make things less overwhelming. To get started you can read about the fields that interest you, do some research about the top universities, go on campus tours, then you can apply to your dream schools, and finally, you can become a college student.
As big as this process can be, you should keep in mind that if you work on it little by little you won't be running around before deadlines or having to make rash decisions because you procrastinated.
If you believe that you want to become a lawyer, work in court, or you see yourself living in New York as a big successful lawyer, there are plenty of small steps you can take while you're still young.
For instance, you should focus on your education and pay attention to your class schedule. If every class you take is just a random decision you're making, then you'll take longer to build the skills you'll need in the future.
However, if you pay attention to what classes you take, then you'll be taking steps that'll bring you closer to your goals and dreams.
Here is a list of the subjects and classes you should pay attention to if you want to become a lawyer:
- English - the language and literature classes you're compelled to take are very important if you want to practice law in the future because they'll help you develop your writing and reading comprehension skills. These are much-needed skills if you want to become an attorney.
- Math - having good math skills can come in handy for anyone and in any field. Nonetheless, attorneys usually have to analyze complex numerical data and it'll be really useful if you develop your mathematical skills at an early age.
Social studies - attorneys need to have extensive knowledge on any subject that can help describe society like economics, history, government affairs, and others.
- Science - it might sound weird but learning the scientific method will be incredibly helpful once you start studying law because some of the steps of the scientific method (hypothesis, experimentation, observation) are used in the legal profession.
- Public speaking - learning to speak in public is probably one of the most essential skills you'll need as a lawyer because you'll have to stand up in front of entire courthouses and deliver speeches.
Top Law schools in America
As a young adult interested in pursuing a career as a lawyer you should know which schools, colleges, and universities are usually ranked as the top institutions for the subject.
These rankings are usually based on academic curriculum, alumni success, sense of community, global perspective, the happiness of faculty, staff, and alumni, and much more.
Another important type of ranking is de one that looks at the performance of an institution in a given field or degree. So, if you want to go into environmental, criminal, or global studies, you should look for schools known for having a good program for what you are looking for.
The best schools are known for having excellent general programs. Getting into these schools can be extremely challenging so it is in your best interest to start preparing for it with enough time of anticipation so that you can apply with no problems or stress.
Below you'll find a list of the best-ranked universities based on their program according to U.S. News:
- Yale - application deadline: February 28
- Stanford - application deadline: February 15
- Harvard - application deadline: February 1
- Columbia - application deadline: February 15
- University of Chicago - application deadline: March 1
- New York University - application deadline: February 15
- University of Pennsylvania - application deadline: March 1
- University of Virginia - application deadline: March 3
- Berkeley (UCB) - application deadline: February 15
- Duke - application deadline: February 15
Keep in mind that if you want to meet these deadlines you should start preparing a year beforehand and register to take the LSAT at the latest in October. If you register in October you'll be taking the exam in late November or December, which means you'll nearly meet the application deadline.
Choosing your law specialty
There are different law degrees and specialties you could pursue in college.
Many believe they were born to work for one specific area but we would recommend you explore every field and discover what each branch of the law has to offer. This way you can develop a critical point of view and make an informed decision about which career path you wish to pursue.
Keep in mind that you don't have all the time in the world, so it's not about trying every elective and all the fields, it's about giving yourself time to explore and diversify.
Types of law degrees
There are 5 types of law degrees, and you can choose depending on the field you're interested in. There's the Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), Doctor of Judicial Science (SJD), Master of Legal Studies, and Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR).
- JD - is the most popular degree and it is for students who want to practice law in a courtroom and become someone's lawyer. You'd be working directly with clients as a freelance attorney or for a firm.
- LLM - this diploma is for people who have a law degree but want to explore other areas of the field. These programs may have more than one type of curriculum depending on the area of specialization you want to focus on.
- SJD - attorneys who earned the JD or LLM and wish to continue their legal education can pursue an SJD.
- The Master of Legal Studies - this degree is for students who want knowledge of the law but do not wish to become lawyers. Graduates may work in business, law enforcement, human resources, regulatory agencies, or civil rights advocacy.
- MDR - this diploma is for any individual who wants to find a job in organizations providing resolution and negotiation skills.
Fields and specialties
Below you'll find a list of some law specialties or fields:
- Health Care
- First Amendment
- Intellectual Property
- Personal Injury
- Justice Department
- State Laws
- Public Services
- Civil Rights
Extracurricular activities for future law students
Getting involved in extracurricular activities related to the field of law is important because it'll help you develop skills to become a good lawyer and you'll learn if being a lawyer is something that you would enjoy.
If you don't know what field or subject you're passionate about, you should pursue extracurricular activities in different areas so that you can discover what you love. But, if you already know your passion is the law then you should plan your extracurriculars around the skills you'll need as a lawyer.
There are three popular activities you can join during your years in high school and college and those are student government, United Nations Model, or the debate team.
- Student Government (SG): if you are a part of the SG you'll develop your leadership and people skills, both of which you'll need as a law student. There is no class as getting hands-on experience by working and gaining experience. Don't forget that showing all your contributions and changes while you were in office will not only impress Law school's admissions office but you'll stand out.
- Model of United Nations: the UN Model is popular in every campus of every educational institution because it teaches students an international perspective and it helps them develop skills in diplomacy, negotiation, and mediation. Students prepare with months of anticipation for these sorts of competitions, aside from keeping track of their academic calendar and education.
- Debate Team: as a member of a debate team you'll learn not only from a professor but from your peers. These groups are highly competitive and motivating, which are characteristics of good lawyers. In a debate team, you'll have the opportunity to practice your argument-building and communication skills. Law schools will also notice a debater's skill to take complex facts, turn them into understandable arguments, and present them in front of an audience.
Many other activities could help you prepare for Law school and to know what else you could do, you should be in contact with a Law school admissions office or your school's guidance counselor.
The platform that connects tutors and students