Preparing for and applying to law school requires an investment of time, energy, and finances. Hopefully, you will start the process of applying to law school after you have explored the legal profession and have come to the reasonable conclusion that it will provide a fulfilling career path for you.
Questions to help you evaluate your interests in the legal field:
- Have you validated and confirmed your interest in a legal career?
- Have you talked to practicing lawyers about the rewarding and challenging aspects of their careers? (Use the Berkeley Career Network or the LinkedIn Alumni Feature to identify lawyers who are willing to grant you informational interviews.)
- Have you had an internship or job at a law firm or law related organization? (Use Handshake to identify opportunities such as legal assistants.)
- Have you attended law related information panels? (check Handshake for upcoming events; explore events hosted by your law schools of interest.)
- Have you observed or shadowed a lawyer on the job? (Use the Berkeley Career Network to identify lawyers who may let you observe them at work. Attend court hearings and trials.)
- Why Do You Want to Go To Law School?
- Are you applying to law school because you feel like you have no career options? (Have you explored alternatives? Speak with a Career Counselor about career possibilities.)
- Are you delaying entry into the work world? (Have you conducted career research?)
- Do you know what your short and long term goals are and how a law degree can help you achieve them?
Out of Classroom Experience
While prior legal experience is not required for law school admissions, acquiring some law-related experience, be it in a law firm or law related nonprofit organization, is a good idea because it will help you gain clarity about your decision to attend law school. In addition, you will develop the following skills that are essential to success in law school and beyond:
- Verbal and written communication
- Critical and analytical thinking
- Organization and time management
When you are exploring opportunities, select ones that engage you rather than ones you think will impress law school admissions committees. Here are some ideas:
Campus Affiliated Opportunities:
- ASUC Legal Clinic
- ASUC Renters’ Assistance Program
- Student Policy Institute at Berkeley
- Public Service Center Internships
- UCDC Program
Experience can be developed during your time at UC Berkeley and after you graduate as it is not uncommon for students to take 1-3+ years to gain professional experience before pursuing law school. In many cases, this can strengthen your overall application.
- Law Student Stories
- Law School Transparency Podcast
- LinkedIn Alumni Feature: explore opportunities UC Berkeley alum have pursued and uncover potential jobs/internships
- Honest & Practical Insights about the Legal Professional from Practicing Attorneys