In your first year, meet with one of Stetson's Pre-Law Advisors to discuss:
- why do you want to be an attorney and what other careers and degrees you are considering?
- gaining exposure to the variety of legal opportunities available such as talking to or working for an attorney or being present during a legal proceeding.
- becoming a member of Phi Alpha Delta, Pre-Law Student Society.
- consider joining the Mock Trial Team.
- researching the current state of the job market for attorneys.
- working after receiving your bachelor's degree or immediately attending law school.
- geographically locating to where you might want to go to law school or where you might want to practice law.
- investigating the 3+3 or 4+3 Distinguished Fast Track Program agreements with the Stetson College of Law.
In your first or sophomore year, research law schools by answering the following:
- Is the geographic location of law school important to you?
- What are the academic reputations of the schools in which you are interested?
- Are you considering a joint degree program (pursuing an additional advanced degree while you are in law school to complement your J.D.)?
- Have you determined your criteria for selecting which law schools you will apply to?
In your sophomore or junior year, answer the following:
- How many law schools do you plan to apply to?
- Do you plan on attending Stetson's Law School Fair in the fall semester?
- Do you plan to go to one of the Law School Forums?
- Do you know the amount of the application fee for the law schools you wish to apply to?
- Did you research the:
♦ Pass rates on the bar exam for the schools that interest you?
♦ Average salaries of graduates from the law schools you are pursuing?
♦ List of specific employers that recruited on campus in the past 1-2 years for internships and full-time opportunities?
♦ List of job titles/organizations for internships/jobs accepted by the school's students in the past 1-2 years?
♦ Quality of the faculty? alumni? curriculum? school accreditation?
- Have you made any site visits to prospective law schools?
- Do you fully understand the application process to get into law school?
- When do you plan to take the LSAT? Are you knowledgeable about the test format and question types?
- Do you plan to take an LSAT review course?
- Are you aware of the cost and time involved in review courses? Have you considered less expensive alternatives?
- Have you started thinking about your personal statement?
- Are you confident your references know how to write a quality reference letter that speaks directly to your skills, qualifications and academic performance?
- Do you have a list of individuals who are willing to give you a stellar reference for law school admission? Have you spoken to them about this?
- Do you feel confident that you will be admitted to law school if you apply? Why or why not? How confident? You can search law schools by average LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs.
- Are you aware of the criteria that might be used by a law school to determine admission?
- Are you confident that you will get a high score on the LSAT when you take it? Why or why not?
- Do you plan to take the LSAT more than once? Are you aware that LSAC reports all LSAT scores to schools to which you may apply? Are you aware that schools can either to average the multiple scores or just take the highest score?
In your junior year, answer the following:
- Have you found out if an interview is required (or optional if it might help your candidacy) as part of the admissions process? Do you know about admissions interviews? Have you practiced for admissions interviews?
- Is a resume required as part of your application materials? Is your resume up-to-date and contoured for law school admissions (instead of employment)?
- Do you know the cost of tuition?
- Do you plan to secure student loans? If so, how do you plan to repay them?
- How do you intend to pay for law school?
- Are your family and friends supportive of this choice?
- How much direction and support do you think you will need from me or this office to be successful in this goal?
- What challenges do you think may serve as barriers to you completing this goal?
- What resources are available to you as you pursue your goal to complete law school and become an attorney?
- You should begin preparing for LSAT early in your junior year and take the test in spring or summer to have scores to use with applications with fall deadlines. This allows you to retake the test in the fall if the initial test does not go well. If you do take the test more than once, are you aware that LSAC reports all LSAT scores to schools to which you may apply? Are you aware that schools can either average the multiple scores or just take the highest score?
- Complete law school application forms and scholarship/financial aid forms. Keep a record of all communication you receive from each law school. Pay close attention to application deadlines.
- Begin asking for letters of recommendation from faculty and other individuals who are very familiar with your work and academic potential. To ensure quality letters, make your request at least four to six weeks before they're due. Provide your recommenders with the following information in package form:
♦ LSAT scores, if available
♦ Most recent copy of your academic transcript and ACT/SAT scores
♦ Typed resume that summarizes your academic and work experience. Make sure to include all academic honors, community service, special projects, and clubs and organizations of which you are a member
♦ Signed recommendation form provided by either LSAC/LSDAS or law school with a stamped and addressed envelope
♦ List of law schools to which you are applying
- Make sure you're registered to take the LSAT no later than September or October. If you're not happy with your score, you still have time to retake the test in December. Retaking the test in February is useful for those candidates who are on a law school waiting list and wish to improve their chances of admission or those who apply to a law school with rolling admission.
- Write your personal statement/essay. Pay close attention to each law school's directions for how the essay should be prepared and the information they request. The personal statement isn't always a "one size fits all" essay. Consult with your pre-law advisor and the Office of Career and Professional Development when constructing your essay. Pay close attention to grammar and writing style.
- Have your college transcripts to LSDAS. Remember to include transcripts from all colleges or universities where you have taken a class.
- Gently follow up with writers of your letters of recommendation, if they have not yet submitted them.
- All application and financial aid materials should be sent by early January (or sooner if there are earlier deadlines for rolling admission).
- Call each law school after about two weeks to see if they've received your materials and if your admission file is complete.
- Thank your letter writers.
- You should start receiving word from law schools if you're accepted in February and March. Decide by April 1 which school you'll attend. Reserve a seat by sending a tuition deposit.
- Be courteous and notify other schools that you have declined their offer. Inform your pre-law advisor of your results and your decision.
- After graduating, send your final academic transcript to the law school of your choice.
- Send an email to Stetson's Career and Professional Development informing them of your choice of law school. The university is proud of you and we like to keep records of our distinguished graduates.
- Finally, some people benefit from taking a few years off before returning to law school – as long as there is a strategy for meaningful work or experience, for taking the LSAT and for arranging for references (which you should do before leaving Stetson).