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Preparing for Law School

Preparing for Law School

There is no one undergraduate major or pre-law school job choice that best prepares a potential student for law school study. Law students come from all walks of life, whether straight from an undergraduate institution studying economics, political science or history or having spent several years in the work force in any number of professions. Law school students come from law enforcement jobs, from the military, and from other professional backgrounds.

Instead of devising a path to law school that will mean success—because it’s different for just about everyone—it is important to develop a core set of skills that can help law students survive and excel, during their studies, exams, and beyond.

These core skills can be broken down into several categories, and worked on through undergraduate study, professional work, or study on one’s own time. The essential core skills for law school success are as follows.

  • Analytical Skills and Problem Solving – Students interested in attending law school should seek out courses and other experiences to engage critical thinking skills. Legal education demands structuring arguments for and against propositions that can be reasonably debated; already having some of these skills in place will help legal learners do well in classes and beyond.
  • Critical Reading – Close reading and critical analysis of texts is essential to law school success. Much of what you will do as a student and as a lawyer involves reading and interpretation, from judicial opinions to statutes and other documents.
  • Written Communication – Language is the most important tool of the lawyer, and written communication is a large part of that. While law school will train you how to write for a legal audience, already having good writing skills in place will be of a great help when law school begins.
  • Oral Communication – As with written communication, language is the most important tool of the lawyer. Being able to speak clearly and persuasively and engage in reasoned debate is a transformative skill for aspiring attorneys.
  • Research Skills – Much of a lawyer’s time is spent in law libraries and offices doing research. While law school prepares attorneys how to do this in the most specifically useful ways for lawyers, already having research experience is key to transitioning that success quickly.
  • Task Management – Being able to multitask and properly prioritize tasks is essential to success in many undergraduate fields of study and professions. These skills will definitely come into play during law school and beyond.
  • General Knowledge – Having a broad knowledge base from education and experience is always helpful to law students. Aspiring law students should be well versed in:
    • History, particularly in the social, political, economic and cultural factors that have influenced society and government in the United States
    • Grounding in the understanding of political thought and the United States political system
    • Mathematical and financial skills
    • Study of human behavior and social interaction
    • Knowledge of diversity among cultures and peoples within the United States

An undergraduate education often provides many of these skills and subject areas, as do a number of jobs in the professional world. Take these areas of expertise and study into account when considering law school as a next step; it is important to be prepared when you begin.

For more information on the law school program at Abraham Lincoln University, visit www.alu.edu or call the Admissions department at 866.558.0999.

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