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Pre-Law Checklist

First-Years

  1. Take courses that interest you, fulfill the general education requirements at F&M, and challenge your ability to write clearly and concisely.
  2. Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester to discuss progress in your courses and make course selections for the following semester.
  3. Meet with the pre-law advisor to get to know each other and to begin a four year dialogue with one another about your interest in law and potential for attending law school in the future.
  4. Maintain a strong GPA.

Sophomores

  1. Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester to discuss progress in your courses and make course selections for the following semester.
  2. Meet with the pre-law advisor to continue discussing your interest in law and potential for attending law school in the future.
  3. Select your major field of concentration (“the major”) according to your personal interest.  (Unlike medical schools, law schools do not prescribe a set of courses for admission.)
  4. Maintain a strong GPA.
  5. Begin to explore legal professions through various resources: readings, informational interviews with attorneys, externships (shadowing), and internships in a legal environment.  The Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development has information and advisors to assist you.

Juniors

  1. Maintain a strong GPA.  Meet with your major advisor to ensure that you will satisfy all academic requirements for graduation.
  2. Begin identifying professors who may provide letters of recommendation for your law school application.  Meet with these professors to talk about your interest in law and to identify alumni who may be willing to discuss their experiences in law school and in the legal profession.
  3. Continue your involvement on campus and in the community, possibly through leadership opportunities within your organizations of interest.  These experiences may be useful in developing your personal statement (see below).
  4. Schedule a meeting with the pre-law advisor now that you have an established academic track record to begin talking about your GPA and ways to continue to enhance your undergraduate experiences to prepare for law school.
  5. Register for the LSAT.  To do so, you must first create an on-line account with the Law School Admissions Council  (www.LSAC.org).  LSAC administers the LSAT and reports LSAT scores directly to the law schools you apply to.  If you plan to apply for admission to law school in the fall of 2013, you must take the LSAT in June, October or December 2012. The pre-law advisor can assist you in deciding when to take the exam.
  6. Begin to prepare for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). While there are numerous ways to prepare for the LSAT, the key is to prepare. A good way to begin evaluating how much preparation you need is by taking a practice LSAT, preferably a full-length/timed test so that you can get a baseline score and become more familiar with the LSAT to determine your preparation strategy.  The pre-law advisor can help you identify various resources and then you can decide which preparation strategy is best for you.
  7. Research and visit law schools.   The Law School Admission Council website (www.lsac.org) has a list of American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law schools.  You can also search for law schools based on your GPA and LSAT score on this website.

Summer Before Senior Year

  1. Continue to study for the LSAT, and take at least one practice exam under test-taking conditions.   The pre-law advisor can assist you in deciding when to take the exam.
  2. Register and pay for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (located on the LSAC website, www.lsac.org) at least four to six weeks before you plan to submit your first law school application.
  3. Begin to write your law school admission (personal) statement. Remember, you need to format each statement according to the individual school's specifications so review each school's website to determine what that law school wants to see in the personal statement.  Talk with the pre-law advisor about the purpose of an addendum if there is something about your academic record that you would like to explain.
  4. Even though it is your personal statement, have several others read your statement and give you feedback.
  5. Prepare your resume for law schools.   Make an appointment with the pre-law advisor if you need assistance.
  6. Research financial aid options for law schools. The LSAC' website (www.lsac.org) has a section on “Financing Law School” that is a good place to start. While there are some scholarships available for highly competitive applicants, most law students utilize student loans or personal resources to finance law school so it is important to look at cost factors when researching individual law schools.


 In the opinion of many law school deans, the ability to write clearly and concisely is one of the most important criteria for admission to law school. 

 See the American Bar Association’s position with regard to course selection and requirements at:http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/pre_law.html.

 It’s a good idea to register well before the official registration deadline since test site centers may fill up quickly.