Advice for Students on Starting a Career in Law
Law is among the most sought-after careers all over the world. Lawyers belong to an elite professional circle. As a result, the career carries a stamp of prestige. It is little wonder why graduates can work inside and outside the legal sector. Despite its impressive appearance, becoming a lawyer is a daunting task. After graduating from law school and passing the bar, a law degree is not cheap. Law undergraduates pay one of the highest tuition in the world. Moreover, the qualification requires a student to read for long hours. It takes three to four years to complete an LLB degree. However, those who study BA or BCom first take three years and another two to complete their LLB. If you want to pursue this career path, consider the following.
Read Smarter, Not Harder
Experts will tell you that developing strong academic skills is the best way to prepare for a law degree. They include taking courses like philosophy, political science, and history as they develop critical thinking. The emphasis is often on building strong writing and research skills. While the advice is harmless, it doesn’t hint at students’ struggles. Law degrees contain immense reading. As a result, undergraduates need to know how to work smarter, not harder. For example, an assignment with looming deadlines and class activities will distort whatever schedule you make. One way to stay on top of activities at the university is to request help from an academic website like AssignmentBro to free up time for other tasks. Subject-matter experts offer 24/7 online assistance and produce plagiarism-free papers before the deadline. Undergraduates use this to manage academic, personal, and extracurricular demands easily. Some strategies to read smarter are:
- Ask questions, highlight vital points, and take notes to summarize information.
- Divide lengthy lessons into manageable sections and set goals for each session.
- Familiarize yourself with legal terminologies via dictionaries and study guides
- Identify the main arguments and key points in legal texts.
- Participate in class discussions and discuss concepts.
- Analyze and review arguments in legal readings.
- Join study groups, practice writing, and keep materials organized.
Maintain a High GPA
Colleges have various admission requirements, such as essays, extracurriculars, etc. More often than not, universities don’t pay too much attention to SAT and similar test scores. However, the situation is different for law schools. The institutions consider GPA a crucial factor in the admission process. The committee uses it to judge applicants’ ability to handle rigorous coursework and academic aptitude. Since the school is competitive, a high GPA sets you apart and increases your career edge. High-achieving students qualify for scholarships and fellowships and fit many graduate school options.
Involve Yourself in Extracurricular Activities
Extracurriculars present the best avenue to develop soft and hard skills, build a strong network, and enhance a resume. Some abilities students develop in the process include:
- Time management.
Lawyers work in a collaborative environment. Hence, professionals need these skills to engage clients, colleagues, and their workload. Apart from personal development, volunteering services connect individuals with mentors and peers in their field. It shows employees a commitment to personal growth and a well-rounded skill set. Extracurricular activities like pro bono work or legal clinics provide practical experiences that help students understand the system. In the meantime, you can explore different law areas to discover your interests and passions.
Invest in a Social and Professional Network
Networking is valuable in any profession, including law. A social circle often opens the doors to internships, partnerships, and clerkships. Many positions are not advertised publicly. Hence, an advantage is having someone in the corner who provides access to the hidden job market. We recommend you build connections with the teacher, classmates, experienced attorneys, and professors for mentorship and guidance. To achieve this, attend seminars, networking events, and conferences. Talk to professionals to expose yourself to different experiences that broaden your perspectives.
Research and Apply to Law Schools
Law schools don’t have the same lesson methods and specialties. Hence, research each institution’s strengths and weaknesses to identify the ones that align with your interests and career goals. One of the criteria you can use is the school’s reputation. High-ranking schools have more resources and provide access to internships. Factors to consider include the bar exam pass rate, scholarships, and geographic location. Prioritize schools with a strong track record and financial aid opportunities to reduce the education burden. Pay attention to the following to filter schools:
- Diversity and inclusion.
- Specialization and electives offered.
- Facilities and resources.
- Clerkships and internships.
- Student support services.
The legal profession is highly stressful and can cause mental health issues. Besides, chronic stress impairs cognitive function and affects professional performance. Develop strategies to cope with work demands and maintain good health. Some tips to explore include:
- Regular physical activities.
- Time management.
- Support from mentors.
Keep Up with the Changing Legal Landscape
The law profession and legislation are constantly evolving. Although this makes the career an exciting one to work in, it also means practitioners have to remain creative and on their toes. Join peer discussions, attend seminars, and prioritize ongoing legal education to stay relevant.
A law degree makes the world your oyster. The reason is that individuals can work in any sector that values legal skills. The median annual wage was $135,740 in May 2022, and employment is projected to grow 8% from 2022 to 2023. The rate is faster than the average for all occupations. This figure represents 39,100 openings for lawyers each year, on average. As expected, the road is not without bumps. Read smarter in school, maintain a high GPA, and commit to different extracurricular activities. In the meantime, build valuable networks, research schools, and formulate strategies to manage stress. Seek opportunities at every turn, and you will get the most from your career.