Many people switch their careers to law later in life for a wide variety of reasons. Others realize they want to apply to law school while they’re still early in life—but already working. In either situation, applying for law school while working full-time can be challenging, as such applicants are already quite busy and may have been disengaged from academics for an extended period.
As a working professional, the first step to starting a law career is applying for law schools. If you are clueless about where to begin, the following tips will help simplify the process to some extent.
Strike a Balance
For working professionals, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is always a struggle. Still, it’s an important thing to work on—especially if you’re hoping to apply to law school while working. If your work environment permits it, communicate your plans with your bosses and managers. That way, they will be aware of the pressure you’re facing. You may even find them to be supportive.
You should let as many people know about your endeavor as possible so that you can build up your support from family and friends. You should also take steps to connect with other like-minded non-traditional law school applicants to help you with the entire process.
About the LSAT
The Law School Admissions Test is the sole entry point for admissions into every American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school in the United States. It is one of the most competitive exams globally, with the top 25 U.S. law schools consistently requiring scores above 160 (in the 75th percentile or higher) during their application screening processes.
The test involves reading comprehension, reasoning, and writing sections and is conducted online at designated examination centers. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Schools Admissions Council (LSAC) introduced the LSAT-Flex. This online, remote-proctored exam will be available through June 2022. The exam only has three question sections, compared to five in the traditional test.
The LSAT is a highly competitive exam and, as a working professional, you will need a strategic approach towards your preparation to succeed. It can be a somewhat tricky process, and the first step is to strike a healthy work-life balance.
There are plenty of resources available online, including many of the best LSAT prep courses. You can also join online tutoring classes that tend to be flexible and fit nicely into a hectic and changing schedule. Although not recommended, you can also find used prep materials online if you are on a tight budget.
Understanding the Application Process
The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) introduced the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to simplify the law school application process for all ABA-accredited law schools in the United States. The service, for a fee, will assemble your undergraduate and professional transcripts, your LSAT scores, and your letters of recommendation. Most law schools in the country require CAS, and you will have to register for it while applying for the LSAT.
Once you’ve passed the LSAT, you can work on the rest of your application. Ensure that your personal statement is strong and that you remain consistent with your points throughout any future interviews. Harnessing your narrative as a non-traditional student can help you stand out from the crowded applicant pool.
Find Resources For Non-Traditional Students
If you aren’t currently enrolled in an undergraduate program as you undertake the law school application process, you are considered a non-traditional student. Such applicants can face unique challenges owing to their hectic schedules, family responsibilities, and lack of guidance resources.
When deciding whether law school is truly for you, you should keep in mind that it will require you to suspend your income for three years only to restart your career in a fresher field. Once you have affirmed your drive, you can engage with resources designed to assist non-traditional students:
- Some law programs offer scholarships to non-traditional students to provide them with a financial incentive to pursue their passion. Look into your goal programs to see what resources they offer in this area.
- Find study groups made up of other non-traditional students. This will give you a group of understanding people with whom to share information about the application process and hunt for resources.
- If you find the entire process too convoluted and overwhelming to handle alone, you can also meet with study counselors to obtain professional assistance.
Difficult But Certainly Not Impossible
Most careers in law are driven by passion. Some realize that drive during high school or college, and others do so later in life. For many, law school may not seem like a reality earlier in life for various reasons.
Fortunately, your dedication to pursuing law school applications while working full-time already proves that you have the grit it takes to be a lawyer. It might be challenging to navigate the process, but it certainly isn’t impossible with proper guidance and intelligent work.