How To Develop Legal Research Skills Before Law School Information on law admissions

Welcome to the final installment of Law Admissions Questions and Answers, a feature that provides law school admissions advice to readers who send in inquiries.

If you have a question, email us for a chance to feature in an upcoming installment.

In this article, one reader wants to get a head start on legal research skills while another worries about the lack of extracurricular experience. Let’s dive in!

Thank you for your information and for your sincere desire to help us, potential future lawyers. I would like to improve my legal research and drafting skills. What do you suggest I do? – GK

Nothing! The need for lawyers is greater than ever.

Practicing legal research skills can be a great way to show commitment to a career in law. Look for courses that deal with real court cases on topics such as constitutional law, legal ethics, or criminal justice reform. Contact local law professors, legal advocacy groups, or law firms to see if they could use a part-time research assistant. Not only will experience help you decide whether pursuing law is the right course, it could lead to a strong letter of recommendation or a personal statement.

If you’re struggling to find vacancies in your area, consider summer positions in underserved and affordable areas. You don’t have to be in a big city to gain actual legal experience on topics like state politics, civil rights, immigrant rights, Native American rights, law of the United States. energy and land rights.

For example, when I was an undergraduate student I wanted to intern for a national advocacy organization, but the positions on the east coast were in high demand. On a lark, I contacted a small affiliate office in Alaska and received a warm and welcoming response. I found myself in a different position, but I’m sure I would have learned a lot in an unbeatable setting!

If you can’t find legal research opportunities, look to develop your research skills in related fields like the humanities and social sciences. Any experience involving writing clear and nuanced arguments based on careful reading of texts, comparative analysis of multiple sources, and consideration of counter-evidence would prepare you well for legal research and writing.

I am currently in the process of applying to law schools and was hoping to revise my resume slightly. I don’t have a lot of extracurricular activities a high school club and a college club. However, I did have a job, starting in high school and continuing through to college. Should I leave aside the extracurricular roles of high school in order to be able to highlight my professional career? What would law schools prefer? – JS

This one is easy. Law schools care much more about work experience than high school extracurricular activities. Along with top honors, awards, and athletic achievement, quit your high school law school resume. Don’t even mention his name unless asked. Law school is a vocational school – leave your childhood trophies behind.

Your most recent extracurricular activities best reflect your abilities. If these activities were awesome, they will make your high school activities look like CV filling. If they were dull, you don’t want your high school activities to eclipse them. Either way, there’s no point in resting on your high school laurels.

On the other hand, your work history is essential. Even entry-level jobs exhibit qualities that law schools value, such as handling multiple responsibilities, meeting expectations, and providing a professional level of service. If you have room, you can include your full work history, but I would focus on more recent and significant jobs. Over two-fifths of full-time undergraduates and four-fifths of part-time undergraduates are employed, so admissions officers read many heavy resumes.


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Paul N. Strickland

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