Question for Law school students, or lawyers!!!!?

I know I want to be an attorney. I have worked with international human rights organization and became fascinated by the work that attorneys did there.

I've already applied to some schools. But in reading about classes and the bar exam, It scared me! Suddenly I'm feeling insecure and I just don't know if I am cut out for it. It sounds very challenging and frankly, a bit dry.

The LSAT was very difficult and I did not do well. I did however perform very well in college...high GPA. This is mostly because I have a good memory, and excellent writing skills. I like subjects in the social sciences.

I am afraid that if law school (and/or the bar exam and legal profession) is anything like the LSAT, I will fail miserably. Any advice?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    I came from a similar background of international human rights work, then switched to domestic civil rights legal work and am now a 1L in law school. I've found that law schools look for a number of things -- the analytical skills, the close reading skills, and the puzzle solving skills that the LSAT tests for are absolutely helpful for studying and for the (often quite) competitive environment of law school and 1L year.

    However, there's much more to the practice of law than that. Empathy, the ability to listen and tell a clients' story, investigation, as well as the initiative, broad perspective and unique cultural skills inherent in human rights work are completely important and in line with the legal profession. You'll find some parts of law -- perhaps the clinics with heavy client contact, perhaps finding jobs, perhaps using your law degree -- much easier than your classmates. Don't get scared off by the test. The profession needs compassionate, worldly people.

    I'd recommend the following things:

    1. Look for law schools with a lot of practical elements and which have a good, collegial atmosphere. (Yale has this, believe it or not, but so do a lot of schools out there.) Really talk to current students and see if there's a "rat race" atmosphere to it.

    2. Talk to the lawyers from your organizations and ask them where they went, what mattered to them.

    3. Consider deferring a year and re-applying if you don't end up in a school you like.

    4. Consider public service scholarship programs (Root-Tilden at NYU is amazing) that give you support and a focus that is not purely must-get-to-corporate-law academic.

    Frankly, even at a good human-rights focused school there definitely still are a good proportion of fellow students who are driven by success in a way that might make you uncomfortable. That may be because it's a success in a moneyed, competitive sort of way, rather than a driven-to-good kind of way. But stick with it. I truly believe that there is a good place in the law for people like you and me.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You probably shouldn't be scared, though my opinion is that law school finals should be against the Geneva Convention. As far as admissions go, find schools that weight the GPA more than the LSAT. Now to your question: law school will use skills that are useful on the LSAT, but not in the same way. Law school is different from any other school. You'll read cases from which you'll gather rules. Teachers use questions and hypotheticals in which you apply those rules to teach you how to think. That's what law school's for; it's not to learn the law itself. You can do poorly on the LSAT and still do fine in law school because the skills are applied differently. It takes hard work, long hours, and a lot of reading/preparation, but law school can be an enjoyable experience. Besides, as long as you don't flunk out, you can get a job. It may not be a great one, but after that, employers don't care about your grades--only your job performance. If you do well in your job, you'll get better jobs. Law school is a great experience, and even if you're in the bottom of your class, you're getting a great education.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Being scared and insecure will cause you to score less, on any exam. Do not give up on something that you want to do.

    If you had a high GPA in college, you will in law school too. One exam is no different then another, just different words on the page.

    Go for it.

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