Pre-Law Advising: Prepare

Consider this 4-year plan as you prepare for law school. Connect with Pre-Law Advisor Sherry Mason for assistance as you work toward your goals. Consult this blog post for additional law-related resources, including career research websites, books, blogs, podcasts, and more.

  • First Year
    • Be an active student who faculty members know as interested and engaged. Visit during office hours; attend lectures and ask questions.
    • Take courses that require critical thinking and writing skills.
    • Develop outstanding time management skills and sound academic habits. The StAAR Center offers help with time managements and other study skills.
    • Sign up for the pre-law newsletter.
  • Sophomore Year
    • Stay engaged in your academic life. Look for opportunities to do research in areas that interest you. Search for smaller seminar courses where you can have more interaction with faculty and peers.
    • Learn more about the legal profession by shadowing professionals, volunteering or getting an internship.
    • Talk to people working in areas that interest you. The Tufts University Career Network on LinkedIn and The Herd can help you find them.
    • Join the Pre-Law Society or Tufts Mock Trial.
    • Attend Tufts Law Day on the Hill in the spring. These events bring lawyers, current law school students, and law schools admissions officers to campus for a variety of networking opportunities.
  • Junior Year

    Fall Semester

    • Discuss your plans with your pre-law advisor who will help you review your interest in law school and readiness to attend.
    • Spend time going through law school catalogs and online directories to get familiar with the schools you might apply to . The ABA/LSAC Official Guide to ABA Approved U.S. Law Schools is updated yearly and contains reliable data.
    • Continue to take classes that pique your intellectual curiosity.

    Spring Semester

    • Begin studying for the LSAT in a manner that best matches your learning style. Also, be sure to check the LSAC website to stay informed of your test date options and registration deadlines.
    • If you feel you will be ready for the exam, register for the June LSAT. Otherwise, wait until you are prepared.
    • If you are thinking about attending law school right after you complete college, you will want to try to prepare to take the June, July or August LSAT.
    • Take a free LSAT diagnostic exam.
    • Create a list of faculty to approach for recommendation letters.
    • Set up an additional appointment with your pre-law advisor for the end of the semester.
    • Attend events for pre-law students, particularly those related to the application process by checking the “Events” section of Handshake as well as signing up to receive the Pre-Law Newsletter here.

    Summer (if attending the following year)

      • Meet with a Career Advisor in the Career Center to polish your resume.
      • Take the LSAT exam.
      •  Connect with the Pre-Law Advisor in the Tufts Career Center
      • Begin working on your personal statement with a Tufts graduate writing consultant.
      • Create a list of law schools that you plan on applying to.
      • Register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through the LSAC website.
      • Have all of your undergraduate transcripts sent to CAS.
      • Visit law schools. Or you might wait until you have been accepted.
      • If necessary, register and prepare for a future LSAT. Also, students should check law school websites to see the latest LSAT exam that will be accepted for the current year’s application process.
  • Senior Year

    Fall Semester

    • Attend events for pre-law students, particularly those related to the application process by checking the “Events” section of Handshake as well as signing up to receive the Pre-Law Newsletter here.
    • Continue to prepare for the LSAT if needed. Test yourself with official LSAT practice exams available on the LSAC website here.
    • Spend time going through law school catalogs and online directories to get familiar with the schools you might apply to. The ABA/LSAC Official Guide to ABA Approved U.S. Law Schools is updated yearly and contains reliable data.
    • Discuss your plans with your pre-law advisor.

    Spring Semester

    If you do not plan on applying this season, schedule a pre-alumni meeting with the pre-law advisor. Contact Sherry Mason, Pre-Law Advisor, in the Tufts Career Center for advising appointments.

Academic Preparation

Build a Strong Academic Record

Law schools are interested in your ability to do well in courses that develop analytical skills, writing skills, research skills, critical reading skills and oral communication skills. If you have done well in a class, consider taking more courses with that professor. The professor may get to know your work and be able to write a better recommendation. If you need help with a class, talk with your professor, TA or advisor earlier rather than later.

Choosing a Major/Minor

Identifying yourself as a pre-law student means that throughout your undergraduate education you are developing the necessary skills to become a successful law student and a productive member of the legal community. Law schools do not have a prescribed set of required courses and Tufts, like virtually every other university in the country, does not offer a pre-law major or minor. Here are a few things to consider as you select your major:

  • Your strengths: You will be more likely to succeed academically if you select an area of study that suits your strengths.
  • Challenge: Law schools like to see that you have taken challenging courses that get progressively more difficult throughout your undergraduate years.
  • Chance of success: If you are struggling with the courses in your current major, perhaps you should re-evaluate. Your undergraduate GPA is a significant factor for getting into law school.

Experiential Preparation

Looking for a job before you apply to law school? Working for law firm may help you determine if going to law school is the right decision for you. Work experience, law-related or not, that requires entrepreneurial ability or involves situations where you have had real responsibility in a company’s operations may give an admission committee reason to look at you more seriously.

Get Involved and Develop Leadership Skills

Law schools like to see candidates who are involved in their campus communities. Significant achievement matters more than the precise form that achievement takes so get involved in activities that you truly enjoy. The more important a club’s mission is to you, the more likely you will want to leave your mark, become a leader and produce worthwhile projects. When looking for a club, think about the opportunities they afford to cultivate leadership and complete meaningful projects. Also look for commitments you can make to a club for a period of time, rather than simply chalking up a long list of various extracurricular activities.

Gain Experience Through Internships and Volunteering

Although law-related work experience or internship is not required for law school admission, relevant field experience does offer an invaluable opportunity to test your interest in law. You may find a position that involves real responsibility in a legal environment: gathering facts, doing legal research, or writing memoranda. But even mundane tasks can give you opportunities to experience the law in a work setting and might lead to greater responsibility later in the internship. Visit the Government, Law & International Affairs Career Community for links to law-related career research, internships, summer courses, and fellowships.

Networking

Networking is the best way to find out if a career is right for you by talking to people who are already in the profession. This can lead to new opportunities with an internship or job within the legal field. Early on in your career, requesting a career conversation, also called an informational interview, is a natural way to network and learn about the legal profession at the same time. Start by reaching out to lawyers you have some sort of connection with. They might be Tufts alumni (try The Herd and the Tufts Lawyers Association or the Tufts University Career Network on LinkedIn!), family friends, family members, or other contacts. Come to the interview prepared with questions. Below are some questions you can tailor to the person you are interviewing and the type of law they practice.

  • What do lawyers do in a typical work day?
  • What are some personal attributes needed to be successful in a legal career?
  • How much time do lawyers typically have for their personal lives?
  • What was your most satisfying moment as a lawyer, and how did that moment come about?
  • What was your biggest disappointment as a lawyer, and what did you learn from it?
  • If you have your career to do over again, what would you do differently?
  • Would you encourage a close relative or friend to become a lawyer? Why or why not?

Law-Related Job Sites

Graduate & Professional School