Ok, so I’m starting my goals for 2011 tonight (that, because I’m just avoiding another round of edits on the next book, which I definitely will crank on tomorrow, but just not right now…)
Now, I take my written down annual goals very seriously. I also keep them to one page, and carry them with me wherever I go. I don’t always make all of them, either – gotta have a few stretch goals on there. I do believe in the power of writing them down. So, tonight, I thought I’d post about how to create your very own law school goals, if you’re entering, or considering entering law school–and how those goals can fit into your own plan for 2011, or beyond.
If you’re thinking about going to law school: make your goal to talk to at least 10 different lawyers BEFORE you apply, or take LSATs. If they don’t talk you out of it, you then have permission from me to take the LSATs – but NOT until then. Secondly, you really need to get clear on WHY you want to go to law school. ”Because I can’t find a job, and I can’t pick anything else” really isn’t a good excuse to go 6 figures in debt and kill some time, either. If you can talk to others in the profession and get clear on why YOU want to go and how it will complement YOUR work, those are two very worthy pre-law school goals.
If you’re applying to law school: Couple of thoughts here. 1. If you didn’t get a perfect score on the LSATs, consider taking them again. 2. GO VISIT the schools you are applying to and TOUR them. A face with a name helps the admissions process. 3. If you really bombed the LSAT, take a prep course. They’re pricey, but they can get your score up. You might even try to apply to the school of your dreams too, if you can, along with your safe choices. I didn’t do this, because it really wasn’t an option for me and didn’t fit the reasons why I went to law school…but if you’re young, unencumbered, and used to being broke anyway, why not try to see if you can take a stab at the school of your dreams?
If you’re heading in as a 1L: highly unlikely until the middle of the year–but the #1 thing you want to focus on your 1L year is doing the very best job you can academically. That isn’t sexy, I know, but it is a hell of a lot easier to do well your first 2 semesters and then slide later if you need/want to vs. bombing straight away and trying to pull your GPA back up again. As I’ve posted here, grades aren’t everything, but they help–especially if you want a job as a lawyer in a firm after school. That, and 2. I might suggest joining some clubs you actually care about at your school. Student bar, a frat (with awesome outlines), etc…just jump in to a few causes you care about and start connecting to your colleagues…because, they’re going to be your law colleagues for life, dig it or not. For me, I love 98% of my colleagues, and the other 2%…well…I’ll leave that alone…
If you’re 2L: If you can, study abroad during the summer. It is AWESOME. Also, try on moot court, fellowships, and yes, even law review. If you’re not top 10% for law review but qualify if you try and write on, WRITE ON. It’s a ton of work (I won’t lie) but law review is worth the extra headache. Well, at least the writing part is. The editing part…? I’ll save it for now….(other than to tell you that I hate the Blue Book). Also, during the summer, consider a boss, radical, off-the-hook internship–even if you have to work for free – and this goes DOUBLE if you went to law school right out of undergrad. Experience counts in the real world, period. Also, be a leader in those orgs you joined your 1L year, if you can.
If you’re 2L-4L: I’m a 3L in the evening program. That puts me somewhere in 2.5L day status. Here? Not sure what to offer you – other than maybe clinics, client counseling competitions, and/or any other cool work you can jam in on top of your classes. This is where I am now, and I’m still trying to figure out what awesome looks like in this space…if you have thoughts, hit me with them. I’m tossing around the goal of editorial on law review, but I’m not fully committed to that just yet. We shall see.
That, my friends, is how I roll with recs for law school. The other domains–work, companies, writing, philanthropy, financial and health/wellness, are yet to be completed. But I’m working on them…