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How to Apply to Law School

Do you want to be a lawyer?

Most books about law school admissions first ask something like "is law school right for you?" I read a good portion of a book on this very topic and it never once told me what I really wanted to know: what the hell do lawyers do? (In a typical day for example.) Everyone will tell you what they don't do: "It's not like what you see on TV you know," but books and advisors don't tend to elaborate.

So what do lawyers do? Here are some verbs: research, write, draft, negotiate, advise. Litigation / criminal lawyers probably do a little more on the research and writing side while transactional / corporate lawyers do a little more on the drafting and negotiating side. There is a lot of variance within the profession, but generally speaking, it's a job where you sit at a desk, read, think, and write.

What about law school for a non-legal job? I've seen this option presented in a lot of books too. It's true that you don't have to become a lawyer just because you have a law degree, but personally I wouldn't spend $100k+ on a legal education if I didn't have a pretty serious interest in becoming a lawyer. It's okay not to practice law when you graduate law school, and it's okay to practice for a few years and then do something else, but these options should be for people who changed their minds, not people who weren't sure in the first place (unless you're rich and you like academic torture).

Next: What is Law School Like?

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