Law School FAQs
1. Where can I attend law school in Kentucky?
2. When does the law school application process begin?
3. When should I take the LSAT?
4. What university major will best prepare me for law school?
5. Should I take time off before going to law school?
6. What makes a competitive law school application?
7. What kind of dual degrees exist with a J.D.?
8. How long is law school?
9. What funding is available for law school?
10. What are my options if I do not get accepted the first time I apply?
There are three law schools in the Commonwealth of Kentucky: Chase College of Law (Northern Kentucky University), University of Kentucky College of Law, and Brandeis School of Law (University of Louisville).
The Law School Admission Council maintains an application checklist, which might be helpful to you: http://www.lsac.org/jd/apply/lsat-cas-checklist.asp. Generally, you should plan to begin the application process more than one year before you want to attend law school. It is a good idea to begin your preparation during your Junior year, studying for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and reviewing application requirements. While deadlines vary, most law school deadlines begin in the fall (slightly less than one year prior to beginning law school).
The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is offered only four times per year. Most law schools require that you take the LSAT no later than December the year before you plan to attend; however, you should plan to take the LSAT early in case you want to retake the exam. Preparation is important, so plan ahead. You can find more information about the LSAT on the Law School Admission Council website: http://www.lsac.org/JD/LSAT/about-the-LSAT.asp.
There is no universal answer to this question. Numerous majors can prepare individuals for the rigors of law school. Therefore, it is important to reflect on your own abilities and interests. You need to be challenged and engaged. Most importantly, you need to develop/hone the core skills that are required for success in law school and in a law career. The American Bar Association has outlined these skills in its Statement on Prelaw Preparation. You can read more here: http://www.lsac.org/JD/Think/prelaw-preparation.asp.
In general, it is not necessary to take time off before beginning law school. However, if you are unsure about your decision, taking a year or more off to study abroad, gain real world experience, work for a non-profit organization, or teach can help to clarify your goals and can set your application apart. Going to law school is a major time and financial commitment, so it is important to be sure about your decision.
The two largest components to your law school application are your GPA and LSAT scores. Other components include a personal statement and letters of recommendation. Both GPA and LSAT scores are used to help determine if students are adequately prepared for law school; they are often the first criteria viewed by admissions. However, students are well served to show well-rounded applications with both academic and community experience.
Some law schools offer dual degrees pairing law programs with other majors. These programs allow students to specialize in practicing law in specific fields. General examples include dual degrees in Business and Law, Law and Public Affairs, Law and Journalism, Law and Public Health, or Law and Social Work. If you have specific questions, check with the schools you are interested in to see their offerings. These programs would afford students a J.D. along with a PhD, MD, or MBA, or MA.
Law school generally takes 3 years to complete. However, if you wish to complete a joint program, this can add 1 to 2 years to your program.
Generally, most pay for law school with student loans. However, a few scholarships do exist. Law School Admission Council maintains helpful information about funding a legal education: http://www.lsac.org/jd/finance/financial-aid-overview.asp. Additionally, many national honor societies, like Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi, offer scholarships that can be applied to professional school.
You can always try again. Apply to the same schools. Apply to different schools. Take more courses. Improve your grades. Gain more relevant experience. Mature.
Planning for alternatives in advance, however, can give you more options and flexibility. For example, you can apply for competitive internships, study abroad opportunities, and non-profit experience along with law school. If you receive multiple acceptances, you have choices. If you do not get accepted into law school, you have an alternative in place that will make you more competitive should you decide to apply again.