What year did you graduate from the University of Minnesota, and what was your major and minor?
2018, BA in Political Science, minor in American Studies
What law school do you attend?
University of Minnesota Law School
What year are you?
Did you take time off between undergrad and law school?
If you took time off between undergrad and law school, what did you do during that time?
I spent about 8 months working part time as a research assistant to one of my political science professors from undergrad and working full-time as a server at a restaurant
Share one thing you wish you'd known about law school as an undergrad.
Law school teaches you a lot of things, not just the law. The most important skill law school teaches you (the hard way) is time management. I thought when I started school I wouldn't have time do anything except study. But I soon realized that I would burn out so quickly if I approached it that way. I learned that keeping a detailed calendar was the best tool to get through law school. I can make time for friends, family, workouts, self-care, cooking, class readings, student organizations, clinic work, and other school assignments as long as I ACTUALLY make time for them in my calendar. Some weeks I have to prioritize school and some weeks I have to prioritize self-care, and I've learned to adjust accordingly and recognize that in order to "do it all" I may have to do less of some things depending on the day or the week. Also there is a lot of trial and error to find the right balance and schedule for you--I wish I had known that what works for someone else may not work for me, but that doesn't mean that I'm doing anything wrong.
How did you choose your law school?
I knew I wanted to stay in Minnesota because I absolutely love the Twin Cities. I ultimately chose Minnesota Law for its practical training and its high job placement rates for graduates. Practical training can be even more valuable than knowing every legal doctrine. Minnesota Law makes sure graduates leave the school knowing how to be lawyers, not just people who have memorized a lot of law. Through its curriculum, the school teaches you how to interview clients, take depositions, negotiate, argue in front of judges, and how to research effectively to find the right answers. Minnesota Law also offers real-world practice through its 25 clinics. Before I started law school I didn't really know how important a clinical experience was to legal education (I guess that is another thing I think students should know before choosing a law school). The clinic offerings really sent Minnesota Law apart from other schools because they cater to so many different areas of interest and allow students to help real clients with their very real legal issues.
What advice do you have for students/recent alums as they begin the application process?
- Really take studying for the LSAT seriously, it requires a lot of time and repetitive practice. But a good LSAT score will open up a lot of opportunities and will determine how much financial aid you receive from schools. That being said, you don't have to be able to afford an LSAT prep course in order to do well. I studied on my own from used books and previous LSAT exams that I ordered on Amazon.
- Don't be afraid to reach out to admissions offices and ask to get connected with current students. Current students will be able to tell you about the opportunities and resources their school can offer and can help you decide what is important to consider when choosing a school.
- Ask schools about their practical training and how they prepare students for actually practicing law (clinics, simulated exercises, externships, legal writing etc...)
- Ask for help with your applications and let people read your personal statements! Pre-law advisors are invaluable resources.
- Because law school is intense and is a significant financial investment, make sure you choose the right program for you by taking into account your career goals, your finances, your mental health, and your current responsibilities. If you are just thinking about law school for the heck of it, really consider taking another year to think about other career paths that could achieve your goals--law school is not something to start lightly!