Here is my second Writer-in-Residence post from the Ms. JD website. The original can be found here. I have lots of other blog post ideas, so I just need to find the time to sit down and write them out. Hopefully I'll be posting a couple more times in the next week or so!
I’ve been doing my homework over here in the frigid Minnesota winter. And I keep reading one thing over and over again: The ranking of your law school is sometimes the most important factor in whether or not you’ll be hired as a lawyer later. They don’t teach you that in Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods had no trouble getting into Harvard Law (what, like it’s hard?).
Well, it is hard. And it’s something that is constantly on my mind when I think about the possibility of law school.
Looking back at my time in college, it’s all a blur. And that’s not because I was the hard-partying type—no, no, I was just the busy type. My senior year, I took a full load of credits, worked three part time jobs, and was applying and interviewing for PhD programs. I never sat still. But that also means that I was stretched a little thin. My grades could have been better, but who has time to cram for tests when she’s jet-setting across the country interviewing for PhD programs? Well. This is why I’m concerned, now.
I hold a chemistry degree with an English minor from a small liberal arts school in Michigan. My GPA is above average, but it isn’t great (it’s a 3.2, if I remember correctly). I have very fond memories of my time in college, but I could have done better. Even if I get a stellar score on the LSAT, will I get into a top tier law school? And if I don’t get into a top tier law school, is it even worth it?
I’ve done quite a bit of (internet) research on this topic. And it does still sound like pedigree matters a great deal when it comes to getting hired out of law school. So what does that mean for people like me? I didn’t get into any trouble in college. I worked hard, and I was in a tough major. I had a life, but I also studied a lot. I’m in that middle area, that section of graduates who did just above average, but not stellar. Will that get me into a good law school?
Another factor to consider is that I’m in the top of my class in a Master’s degree program in technical and scientific communication. In all of the reading I’ve done, I’ve learned that law schools care very little about Master’s degrees earned before applying. So that won’t help me at all? It’s been improving my communication skills, my ability to stand up in front of people and speak, and my confidence in my abilities as an employee and team member. It’s only been helpful to me, but yet it may still not help my applications to law school. What’s up with that?
Based on everything I’ve read, you’d think I’d be discouraged. I’m not. I’m a nontraditional applicant, coming from a nontraditional field to enter law. Everything about me is different from what law schools will probably be expecting. Yet I’m determined. It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure. But it’s one that I’m excited about. Challenges are supposed to be fun and exciting, right?
They are for me.
Have you been in this position before? Do you have some insight? I’d love to hear from you. You can comment below, or you can shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.