As a minority law student, child of immigrants, and woman, I don’t think I had enough information about law school prior to attending. This lack of information is one of the main reasons why I started this blog. Remember that this post is filled with hindsight, so there is a lot of information that may seem negative and regretful, but I just created this post to help others look out for some things I didn’t see prior to law school. Here is a list of things I wish I knew before I made the decision to pursue a law degree.
1. You should know what to expect. I thought law school was like undergrad where you are just expected to go, figure it out on the way, and then things work out. However, law school takes a lot more planning. I wish I knew what exactly it was going to be like. DOWN TO THE DETAILS. Nobody really told me. They just told me general information, said it was going to be difficult, but no one ever told me to have a regimented study routine, how important 1L year will be, etc. I really wish someone told me more about the ugly and real parts of law school in detail.
2. School CAN matter. I say “can” because it really depends on your legal path. I wish someone told me that if you want to consider working at a firm or big law, take the time to have a good LSAT score and get into a good school without rushing the process. It starts before you even attend law school.
3. 1L year may define your future. Everyone always told me that 1L year was important, but nobody ever said that it DEFINES a lot of your legal career. It doesn’t necessarily absolutely define everything, but it is extremely important. More so than I realized. Think of 1L year this way: it defines a lot of your career because it is when you get your first legal positions. From there, you build your way up. You want to give yourself the highest starting point from the beginning so that you can continue to climb to achieve your goals. If your 1L wasn’t fab, don’t fret. Neither was mine. You can always hustle, just don’t be uninformed like I was.
4. Don’t rely on working during law school. I won’t go into much detail for this because I already wrote a post about this topic here. However, I thought that I would be fine working during law school, but I wish I would have relied less on working.
5. There are certain expectations for certain paths. Although I hate the fact that lawyers on certain legal paths are forced to fit a mold, I wish I would have just known the path for the hustle from the get go. I knew that if you wanted to practice big law, you had to be at the top. However, I always thought that those expectations applied to everyone. So if big law isn’t your goal, feel free to ignore certain expectations.
6. You can take more gap years. More than one gap year is actually very common. One of my biggest concerns over the years was whether I rushed my pursuit for a law degree. I was so scared of waiting too long to go back to school that I rushed it all. I wouldn’t say that rushing the process was a huge detriment to my future, I just wish I would have waited maybe one more year to try the LSAT again, attempt to get into higher ranked schools, get more scholarships, save money, and obtain more information about school.
7. There are resources out there to help with the application process. As a child of immigrants, it is difficult to navigate our country’s educational system without firm and expert guidance. I didn’t even know resources for the law school application process itself existed! Like a law school application coach? I wish I had that! I only found out after starting my blog and finding the resources through social media.
Please remember that this post includes a lot of advice based on my personal hindsight. I am grateful and blessed for the opportunities that were placed in front of me. I just hope that this post will help you obtain some information on things I wasn’t able to. Good luck on your law school application process!