You hear the word “advising” a lot in college. You might have an advisor in your major area of study who helps you pick courses each semester. Maybe you have met or are planning to meet with a career advisor to consider options after graduation. If one of those options is law school, you should meet with a pre-law advisor as well, because they have a lot of helpful information to share! Read on for some frequently asked questions about pre-law advising.
What if my pre-law advisor did not attend law school?
This might be true if your pre-law advisor works in a campus career center and advises students about multiple industries, or if there is no law school affiliated with your undergraduate institution. Rest assured that your advisor is still quite knowledgeable about the process of applying to law school and the resources available to you as an applicant. It is not necessary to attend law school to be familiar with the components of a law school application or the types of questions on the LSAT.
However, if you want to learn more about the law school experience, then you should seek out people who have lived it! Your campus career center might host events for pre-law students that feature panels of alumni who went to law school, or Q&A sessions with law school admissions officers. Make time to go to these events, take notes, and ask questions!
What if my pre-law advisor and I have conflicting personalities or schedules?
Not every advisor/advisee match is made in heaven, and that’s ok! If you have been paired with someone whose personality does not mesh with yours or who always seems to be busy when you want to set up a meeting, see if you can switch advisors. This likely will be easier to do at a larger undergraduate institution where more advisors are available. If you are unable to switch advisors, remember that being flexible and working productively with challenging individuals are skills that will be very helpful when you are an attorney!
What if I have not been paired with a pre-law advisor who can work with me one-on-one?
Some undergraduate institutions are able to offer one-on-one advising to pre-law students, but many are not. If you have not been paired with an advisor, or if there simply is no advisor dedicated to pre-law advising at your school, then you will need to take the initiative!
An excellent place to start is LSAC.org, where you will need to set up an account to register for the LSAT and use the Credential Assembly Service. Even before you set up an account, you can explore the website to learn more about the process of applying to law school, read about financial aid options, find LSAT testing dates and locations, and also look up the locations and dates of law school fairs around the country.
What if I want to explore other resources beyond talking with my pre-law advisor?
Sit in on a law school class (with the professor’s permission, of course!) if you are able to do so. No number of conversations about the law school experience can substitute for the real thing. The format of many law school classes will be very different from what you are used to in college, especially the level of interaction between the professor and students. Few—if any—of your law school classes will rely on a lecture format. The focus of class also may be very different, because you will be expected to have completed the assigned reading in advance to be able to discuss it during class.
Also, if you know any attorneys or other law-trained individuals who are working in an area that interests you, ask them whether they are available for an informational interview or if you might shadow them at work. Getting multiple perspectives on the law school experience, and on life after law school, can be very valuable as you contemplate making this substantial commitment!