The Order to Applying for Law School

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Plenty of people watch Law & Order and think that they know the grit and grime of catching a bad guy. But the show never backtracks to where these lawyers went to law school or how they even began preparing for their LSAT exam. What was the application process like for ADAs Alex Cabot and Casey Novak?

Lauren Harrison, a recent grad from the University of Maryland, College Park, although currently job searching rather than going to law school in the fall, was encouraged to take the LSAT as an undergrad regardless. She explains, “They told me to do that so that I would still be in study mode and do well on the test.” She took the Kaplan LSAT prep course and “was impressed that they had every question from every released test in their database.” Harrison explains, “By taking the course, I learned how to take the test, and I was able to take a lot of practice tests. I would definitely recommend taking a prep course and not studying on your own. It’s worth the investment.” LSAT scores are typically good for five years, but individual schools might have different preferences.

On the other hand, Kaiya Lyons, a rising junior at George Washington University, started getting involved in Phi Alpha Delta, a law fraternity, because she “wanted to find a community of people who had similar goals and ambitions” as she does. Her involvement in PAD allowed her to start her studies for the LSAT earlier than most because they have the opportunity for free programming tailored to their specific needs, including free introductory LSAT prep courses “taught by the country’s biggest and best LSAT prep companies and one-on-one instruction and advice as [they] approach the law school application process and Spring 2012 test date.”

LSAT scores range from 120-180. The average is a score of 150, but in order to compete for a spot at a leading law school, you’ll need to score higher than 160.

Although it’s definitely one of the most important components to your law school application, the LSAT is not everything. Attorney Lawrence Norton at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC explains, “A very good LSAT score and grades opens the door. It gets you into the room.” The only problem, Norton explains, is that “once you get in the room, you’re there with a whole lot of people, all of whom have good LSAT scores and grades just like you.” Therefore, you need to get involved in on-campus activities and solid internships “that help tell your story, convey what’s unique about you and set you apart” to ultimately lead the school to choose you over the other guy.

So if you don’t just want to be playing a lawyer on TV and would actually like to uphold the law and maintain order for real, make sure you:

  1. Take the LSAT seriously by looking into a prep course
  2. Motivate yourself to study on your own or with a group, and
  3. Develop the rest of your application through strong outside-of-the-classroom endeavors.

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