By Nadiyah J. Humber
As an alumna and practicing attorney, I often field questions from diverse students on how to apply to law school. I’d like to share some tips on the best way to get started on the journey to law school.
- Sign up for lsac.org. The Law School Admission Council (lsac.org) is where prospective law students can research law schools, sign up for the LSAT, and apply to law schools. Also, check out discoverlaw.org, which is an organization dedicated to promoting diversity in legal education; they even have a scholarships listing page.
- When deciding on which law schools to explore and potentially visit, focus your search on law school programs that will help to propel your career forward. Think about choosing a law school based on your practice interests and look for schools that will provide you with the resources you need to advance in whatever field you choose.
- Joining an affinity group is a great way to cultivate a sense of community amongst your peers. When visiting schools, see if you can meet with student leaders and ask them about their experiences. In addition to affinity groups, think about student groups that may also align with your values and future mission as a practicing lawyer.
- Be smart from Day 1 about finances and modest living. Use the financial aid office as a resource to help you figure out how to balance expenses associated with law school like cost of living, books, transportation (depending on an urban setting versus a more rural or suburban location), etc.
- Try to connect with someone who you feel would be a good mentor. Seeking guidance when needed is a much overlooked, yet vital support system to have when entering into the legal profession. In addition to a mentor, seek out a sponsor. Here’s an interesting article by The New York Times that helps to explain the difference.
- Build positive relationships with professors the first time you step on campus. Research a professor who teaches an area of law in which you think you may have an interest. Email them and try to meet face to face. This will give you a sense of who you may be able to connect with during your law school search. Remember to be prepared with thoughtful questions if given the opportunity to converse with faculty.
Nadiyah J. Humber is a clinical fellow for the Housing Discrimination Testing Program at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. She earned her B.S. from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.