Common Law School Myths Debunked

“I don’t like political science, politics, or government, so I can’t become a lawyer.”

Contrary to popular belief, a passion for political science isn’t a prerequisite for law school. Successful law school graduates come from diverse academic backgrounds. Numerous areas of law, such as family law, elder law, and personal injury law, focus on different aspects and may cater to varied interests. Here is an article that we previously wrote that further discusses choosing what major you want to pursue in undergraduate and how it may help you on your path to law school, especially if political science, politics, or government doesn’t immediately peak your interest.

“My high school grades aren’t good enough to ‘make it’ as a lawyer.”

Law school admissions officers value growth and personal development. While high school grades are important, they’re not the sole determinant of success in law school admissions. Take it as an opportunity to apply yourself and work hard in the college that you end up enrolling in. Demonstrating academic excellence, professional growth, and a strong performance in college can significantly enhance your application and give yourself a better chance of getting admitted into law schools.

“I can’t get into a good law school if I start at a community college.”

Starting at a community college because of GPA or financially situation doesn’t diminish your chances of attending a prestigious law school. Success at community college and a seamless transfer to a reputable four-year institution can positively impact your law school application. Your unique journey and achievements can also enrich your diversity essay, showcasing your resilience and determination. Linked below are two of our articles further explaining how transition from community college to law school.

“I have to know what kind of law I want to practice before I can apply to law school.”

The legal field encompasses a vast array of specialties, and law school admissions don’t expect applicants to have definitive career plans. Instead, they seek candidates who can articulate a genuine interest in pursuing legal education and contribute diverse perspectives to the legal profession. Much like how students change their intended major in college, many students change their mind about what kind of law they want to practice. Even practicing lawyers may change fields at some point. Admissions are looking for how you convey your compelling reason for why you want to go to law school.

“I don’t come from money, so I can’t become a lawyer.”

Law schools value diversity, including socioeconomic backgrounds. Many successful lawyers come from modest backgrounds, and programs like the SEO Law Fellowship provide invaluable support to students from underrepresented communities. As a first-generation, low-income student at Harvard Law School, I can tell you that there were many other students of similar backgrounds at Harvard, and you will likely find first-generational, low-income students at every law school in this country. Below is the link to not only fellowship programs, but to scholarships and pipeline programs that BIPOC can apply for. Financial support is always available, we just have to know where to look.

“I have to study ‘pre-law’ if I want to go to a good law school.”

Contrary to common belief, there’s no specific pre-law curriculum required for law school admissions. You can major in any field while demonstrating essential skills like critical thinking, strong reading, writing and communication skills. However, pre-law societies and resources can offer valuable support and guidance throughout the application process.

“I’m interested in the sciences or STEM fields, so I can’t be a lawyer.”

Law schools actively recruit students from STEM backgrounds, recognizing the value of diverse perspectives in the legal profession. As technology continues to grow and evolve, there becomes a growing need for lawyers who understand the technical intricacies of these products and services. STEM degrees can be assets in specialized areas like patent and intellectual property law. Through this route, the Patent Bar is required to be registered as a patent attorney. More details and further breakdown of the Patent Bar Exam Requirements can be found here.

“I want to go to medical school (or any other professional school), so I can’t be a lawyer.”

Dual degree programs, such as a JD/MBA, JD/PhD, or most valuably a JD/MD, offer unique opportunities for students interested in combining law and medicine. These programs enable students to explore interdisciplinary fields and pursue careers at the intersection of law, medicine, healthcare and public policy.

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