By Cherina Wright
If you are embarking on a profession in the legal field, applying to law school is the first step and it’s important to maintain a level of professionalism from day one. This means showing you are competent, efficient and considerate—skills valued in the legal field. From your interactions with law school faculty, admission officers and staff to your application and everything in between, you should use a great deal of professionalism to demonstrate you are a good candidate for admission. Below I have outlined some important ways to be professional while applying to law school. But remember, this list is not exhaustive!
- Do your research.
When you are applying to law school, admission offices expect and encourage you to ask a lot of questions – we want to give you as much information as possible! However, you should not call admission offices every day with simple questions that are found right on the web. Do your research, and only call with educated questions. Detailed questions regarding a program offered, or specific questions regarding your application or circumstances should still be directed to the admission office. This will show the admission office that you are capable of finding basic information and also are interested in the school.
- Be Professional in Your Communications.
When communicating with anyone in the law school application process, you should always be professional in your communications. Applying to law school is the first part of your professional career and you don’t want to start it with the wrong impression. This means being respectful on telephone calls, using proper capitalization and grammar in emails and letters, addressing people by their titles (i.e. Professor Smith, not John; Dean Johnson, not Mike; etc.), and avoiding profanity and slang. In addition to considering you for admission to law school, admission officers are looking to see if you will be a good representative of the school should you be admitted. Always put your best foot forward.
- Letters of Recommendations Should be from Faculty or Employers.
Who you choose to write you letters of recommendation to accompany your law school application will tell a lot about your professionalism and sense of judgment. Family members and friends are not the appropriate parties to be recommending you to a professional school. Only ask people that know you in an academic or professional setting.
- Proof Your Resume.
If you do not already have a resume and are drafting it for the first time for your law school application, you need to make an appointment with your undergraduate career office for review and proofing. Resumes should be carefully thought out and formatted properly. If you would not submit your resume for a job, you should not submit it with a law school application.
- Use Addenda Appropriately.
When submitting addenda to your application, carefully consider what you are writing and whether or not it is truly necessary to your application. While many times an addendum aids an application and helps depict a truer picture of an applicant, there are certain times where it might hinder an applicant’s chances of admission. If a school specifically requires an addendum then you must include one; however, if you are including it on your own volition be sure to ask yourself whether it really adds value to your application.
Cherina Clark JD/MBA’17 is the Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion at Suffolk Law. Cherina graduated from Hampton University (an HBCU) and earned a dual JD/MBA from Suffolk Law and Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School. At Suffolk, she was the President of the Black Law Students Association for two years in a row.