Question #1: When Should I Start Law School?

The commonly-held view of many college juniors and seniors is that one should begin law school immediately after college. If you graduate in May, begin the following September.

As your prelaw advisor and advocate in the law school admission process, I strongly dispute this view. Many brand-new college graduates should not go immediately to law school. Let me tell you why.

First, prelaw students must understand that they need to develop a strategy not only for law school admission, but one that prepares them for:

  • success in law school, particularly during the challenging first year;
  • success at the right law school, one located in a setting appropriate for the student's future plans, a law school with a track record and an alumni network that will meet the student's future objectives;
  • success in professional job hunting, which is greatly affected by prior law-related work experience, choice of law school, and performance in law school (especially first-year performance);
  • success in your future professional career, which ideally is founded on an outstanding performance in the law school best suited to the student's objectives.
A student strategy that focuses on immediate admission alone creates significant risks for the student's future professional plans.

Remember, only about one third of American law students now go to law school directly out of college, and I believe that this number will continue to fall. It is now quite common for college graduates to have two to five years of work experience before starting law school.

Go to Question #2: Should I "Take Time Off"...?