Steps to Take in College to Become a Lawyer
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Alexander Oddo in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- How to Pick a Major
- College Courses to Take to Become a Lawyer
- Skills You Should Gain in Undergrad
- Law-Related Extracurriculars
- Law-Related Internships and Exams
How to Pick a Major
When you first get accepted to college, you’ll want to think about possible majors. You don’t have to major in anything specific to become a lawyer, so you can choose whatever path you want, such as engineering or another STEM area.
Even if your major isn’t directly related to law, it could still help you later if you want to enter a legal niche connected to your study area. For example, lawyers involved with petroleum companies must have a solid knowledge of chemistry and how oil fields work.
College Courses to Take to Become a Lawyer
The most important thing to focus on throughout your college career is your GPA. Your grades matter significantly in law school—more than your major or the classes that you took. That said, you should still choose a major that you’re genuinely interested in because that will maximize your chances of academic success. It is much easier to study for a class when you are interested in the subject.
Strategically plan your classes to ensure that you can study and succeed in each one. While choosing a class that you are interested in is essential, you also want to make sure you can get a good grade. Find a balance between picking classes that you are interested in and classes that you know that you can academically succeed in.
Skills You Should Gain in Undergrad
To become a lawyer, you want to focus on your grades during your undergraduate degree and ensure that you are gaining valuable skills. Your time in undergrad is perfect for honing your critical reading and writing skills through classes about literature and philosophy. It is also a good idea to take courses related to the type of law that you want to practice. Take classes about criminal justice, political science, sociology, or any other subject related to your future career path.
Take advantage of the extracurriculars that your college offers that are focused on law, and make strong long-term contributions to them. These could be the debate club on campus or student government. Many colleges have model UN or specific law clubs. Participating in these may actually be more important than just law-focused classes because while those will teach you valuable skills for becoming a lawyer, extracurriculars are crucial for gaining law-related knowledge during your time in undergrad, and this is an area that you’ll want to focus on.
Law-Related Internships and Exams
You should choose internships related to law. Get an internship or shadow at a local law firm with practice areas that match your interests. This is a great way to immerse yourself in what lawyers do on a daily basis.
The final area to focus on is testing. Your LSAT and GRE are big exams, and their scores will determine which law school you get into. Make a study plan as soon as possible to maximize your chances of scoring high. While each law school has different requirements and policies, your LSAT will be a large portion of your application.