When you are getting ready to move on to an education in law, you want to know that you are choosing the right law school.
With so many different options out there, it can be a daunting task to narrow it down to just one.
This is where a professional attorney can help, offering you the right advice to help you choose the right school for you.
Mr. Goldstein graduated from the New York University School of law and went on to a passionate career as a corporate lawyer, advising his clients on matters pertaining to compensation and corporate governance.
Mr. Goldstein is also passionate about helping young people get started on their path to a legal career and recently offered some sage advice to students on choosing the right law school.
Here are the top points Mr. Goldstein made:
Decide on the Type of Law You Want to Pursue
There are many different types of law you can practice, such as family law, corporate law, criminal law, estate planning, workers compensation law.
These are very different fields and the schools that teach law will vary in their focus.
You want to be sure to choose a school with a focus on the type of law you want to pursue. This means that the school offers courses specific to that type of law, as well as clinics, guest speakers, and internships in that field.
This is how you make connections in your field of law and get the experience you need to move forward.
For example, if you want to be a corporate attorney, the school needs to have a strong presence in the corporate law sector, so you can get the experience and exposure you need to succeed.
The same goes for family law or any other type of law you may want to practice.
Know Where You Want to Practice
Do you want to be a big city lawyer or work in a small town? Do you want to practice law where you grew up or move to another state?
You will want to be sure the curriculum of the school suits the location you want to work once you have graduated. So, consider whether they have a regional or cross-country focus.
And while the common advice is to study at a school that is located where you want to work, it is also important to consider the location in terms of life during your university years.
You may be happier studying close to home or you may be happier studying in a new state, a beach town, or a smaller community.
Ideally, you want to find the best of both worlds. You want to be happy and comfortable during your education, while being prepared for where you want to work in the future.
Know the Type of School You Want to Attend
Universities come in all shapes and sizes. The key is to find what is comfortable for you.
Ask yourself whether you prefer a big school or a small school. What type of culture do you want at your university? Is diversity important to you?
The smaller the school is, the more intimate the relationships can be and the more collaborative the environment can be.
However, in larger schools, you are more likely to experience a greater diversity in the student population and the teaching faculty. You will also be more likely to have a diversity of opportunities at a big school.
In addition, small or large, you will have other factors to consider. Is the school incredibly social? Does it have good on- and off-campus housing options? What types of extracurricular activities are available to you?
Since the atmosphere of the school is such an important factor in choosing the right law school, it is important to visit the school if you have the opportunity.
Take a campus tour, speak with the admissions office, and attend university events. Once you get in there and get a feel for the school, you’ll know whether it is right for you.
Look Beneath School Rankings
Rankings are considered important in the world of law school, and they are, to a degree.
However, no student should choose their school based on rank alone. While school ranking may be a factor, you need to dig deeper.
It is important to look at things like the percentage of students who pass the bar, the specialties offered by the school, the quality of the faculty, and the career resources they have in place.
In other words, the school should be a complete package that offers you the best combination of what you want during your years of education and your opportunities once you graduate.
Read Reviews and Talk to School Alumni
If you have done everything up to this point, chances are you have narrowed down your choices to just a few.
Now, it’s time to find out what others think about the schools you are considering. For this, you need to check school reviews and you need to connect with alumni.
Just jump online to find reviews of the schools you are considering. Chances are there are plenty.
Then check out the alumni of the school and connect with one or two of them (preferably in your field), so you can chat and find out their experience.
What did they like about the school and what didn’t they like? Do they recommend it and why?
Keep in mind that you want a school that has an extensive alumni network. The school’s website should be able to give you relevant alumni statistics and help you connect with recent graduates from your program so you can meet them and ask them the questions you have about life on campus and the program itself.
Be Willing to Invest in a Good School
Law school can be very expensive, but not everything is about money. The bottom line is you want the very best education you can get for your money.
If you get into a high-ranking school you have to pay for and a lower-ranking school that offers you a scholarship, it is worthwhile to weigh the pros and cons of each school.
If they offer similar programs and are a fit in other ways, you should consider accepting the scholarship.
But if the high-ranking school is hands-down the better fit for you, then it’s a good idea to consider going that route, even if you have to find a way to finance it.
Ultimately, the goal is to attend a school that will help you reach your career goals, regardless of the cost.
Every dollar you put into an education that sends you in the right direction is an investment in a career that will be rewarding in every way.
Make Sure You are Qualified to Get in Before You Apply
Finally, when it comes time to apply, you need to be sure that you actually qualify for the schools you have chosen.
Remember that the application process can be expensive, particularly if you apply to many schools, so check out their requirements in terms of GPA, LSAT score, and other factors (such as extra-curricular activities). You will then want to divide your list of applications into three categories.
In the first category will be the schools you know, based on your grades and scores, will be a sure thing.
Next, you will have schools you’ll apply to that you feel you have a good chance of getting into.
Finally, you will want to apply to a handful of schools that are a stretch, the ones that you might get into.
When you match yourself to these schools, you will have the best chance of getting into a school you really want to go to.
Just remember, not everyone gets into their top choice school, even people with an amazing GPA and LSAT score. And you can expect to be turned down by some of the schools you apply to.
However, if you do your research and apply to the ones that offer the best possible fit, you will get into a school that you will enjoy and that will help give you the very best start to your law career.