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8 Simple Ways to Test If Law School is Right for You

Brooke Law SchoolLaw school in Hawaii?

Sounds like a joke, right? What do they do, skim through text books on the beach sipping from a coconut and take periodic dips in the Pacific Ocean?

Not quite.

Here are eight simple questions to ask when trying to decide if law school is right for you.

1. Why do you want to go to law school?

Brooke sort of always knew she would go to law school. Her father was a practicing lawyer in Hawaii and she had grown up with exposure to the law, attorneys, and the work they did.

She was also interested in getting an advanced degree and knew her math skills were not going to get her anywhere close to med school. She has this in common with a lot of her classmates but, she warns, do not just go because you want the degree.

If you’re not interested in the material, the sheer volume of the work is going to defeat you. You’ll be reading hundreds of pages a night. It’s three years, but it’s an intense three years. Not to mention the fact that law school is not cheap and you don’t want to put yourself into debt just to realize that you don’t want a career in law after all.

2. What is your undergraduate major?

Unlike med school, there’s no specific undergraduate program for those who are looking to go to law school.

Choose a major that will help you on your way by nurturing critical thinking and allowing you to take a closer look at the philosophy behind the way our world works.

3. Are you planning to take time off between college and law school?

Brooke did not go immediately into law school after graduating from BU. Instead, she worked for a web developing company in Boston for a few years.

She appreciated this time off from school because it really allowed her to get some perspective.

Law school is expensive and a big decision. Her time out of school allowed her to see what life would be like if she did not pursue the advanced degree and if she could be satisfied without it.

At the end of the day, she still wanted that law degree but is happy that she weighed her options first and was certain of her choice before she committed. She has classmates who are no longer sure of their decision and she would hate to feel that way.

Author Gretchen Rubin often talks about how she went to law school just because it seemed like the next step rather than what she really wanted to do. Take this quiz to make sure you’re moving toward something you actually want and not just “drifting.”

4. Where do you want to go/what do you want to do after you finish law school?

Pay attention here!

This may be one of the biggest decisions you make when applying for law school. Where you go to school will dictate where and what you practice.

Take the time to get to know your school. Do they specialize in certain areas of the law? What is the class size? How much does it cost?

Law school is expensive and you’re most likely going to be in debt at the end of your three years, so you have to weigh the economic outcomes. Is it possible to get in-state tuition? Will you be able to do what you set out to do when you graduate?

“It’s not just about the prestige of the school. It’s about what it can specifically offer you, ” Brooke informs me.

She thought carefully about her choice of schools and chose to apply to the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Not only does this allow her to pay the in-state tuition and live at home (which saves a LOT of money), but it is also where she wants to work after she graduates and passes the bar.

Brooke also looked into the class size and saw that the school significantly cut down on the number of students per class which allows for a more intimate learning environment.

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