If you are in middle school and planning already to be a lawyer, that’s awesome.
As a law school graduate and lawyer myself, I often wish that I had started preparing for law school and my career much earlier.
Here are my thoughts for a young person ready to get started preparing for law school.
How To Prepare For Law School In Middle School (Tips and Advice)
Law Schools Look For Well-Rounded People
There’s no question that law schools only accept students with great grades.
No matter what, you’ll have to do well in high school and college to be accepted into law school.
But what you might not know is that law schools look for well-rounded students, meaning they want students who are interested and good at many things, in addition to school.
In fact, a person who has a lower GPA but has done many awesome things could be accepted to law school over someone with the best grades.
This is also true out in the world when applying for lawyer jobs.
If all you are is your grades (meaning the only thing you do is study law), you might not get into the law school of your choice.
What Does Well-Rounded Look Like?
Well-rounded can be many things, and there isn’t one formula.
They just want to see someone with a wide variety of interests and skills.
These interests could include: traveling, volunteering or public service, work experience, leadership roles in clubs or organizations, sports or other physical activities, competitions of all kinds (robotics, cooking, Battle of the Books), etc.
As a person who wants to get a start on becoming well-rounded, not only do you want to do the activities, you want to find a way to do the best you can in the activity, and find your way into leadership positions in the activity.
If you are involved in lots of activities at a high level, you’ll have ample experiences for your college applications essays, and for law school as well.
And you’ll probably be a more interesting person.
Valuable Work Experience Matters
As a middle school student, you won’t have many opportunities to get a job.
But as you get a bit older, your work experience can matter a great deal, especially as you plan for law school.
If you can find a way to get an internship with a law firm, or any company for that matter, you’ll greatly benefit from the experience.
If you can earn money in your neighborhood doing mowing lawns, pulling weeds, or washing cars (for example), you’ll be able to use that experience to boost you into your next job.
You can even try and gain work experience online, using common software and apps to help businesses as a virtual assistant (using Canva to make Youtube thumbnails, for example).
While very little of these ‘jobs’ are about law or legal matters, having work experience in your foundation will do a lot for you in high school, as well as in college.
Most law students study hard straight through high school, and college.
When they come out of school in their mid-20s, most of them don’t know how to do anything.
This is annoying to their employers, and makes them less attractive candidates.
Get work experience of any kind that your parents will allow you to do or assist you with, and you’ll stand out amongst your peers.
Public Speaking Skills
Seek out opportunities to speak in front of other people, in big groups and small groups.
This could be through taking on leadership roles in schools, clubs, or activities.
Or this could be seeking extra opportunities with your teachers or at church to prepare for and make presentations.
Thinking on your feet is a really critical skill.
Being able to answer questions on the fly is really hard to do when you aren’t used to it.
The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get, and the less stressful the experience will become.
One way I personally get better at speaking was actually through a podcast I was working on.
In editing the podcast, I became aware of the things that I said that needed to be cleaned up, such as ‘um’ or ‘ah.”
A lot of people also don’t realize that they make clicking noises with their tongues or smacking noises with their lips when they are speaking.
These little quirks that can only be ironed out after speaking a lot in public, and it is hard to work on them if you don’t even realize that you are doing them.
A podcast (or even youtube videos where you have to speak) help you get comfortable with speaking words you had pre-planned, but don’t want to necessarily read right off the page.
It takes a lot of practice and skill to write and deliver a pre-written speech without sounding like you are reading it word for work.
Doing your thing in front of crowds is another element you have to get used to.
You can get used to performing by speaking in front of them, or with other activities, such as sports, drama, choir/band/music, and more.
Should a Middle Schooler Study Law?
If you are interested in law, and you enjoy studying the law, then it doesn’t matter what age you are, you should feel free to do it.
You can do this in several ways.
You can follow current cases that are high profile in the news, watch the trials, read articles about them, and listen to commentary about them from lawyers.
You can dig into law school subjects, such as civil procedure, criminal procedure, property, torts, and constitutional law. This can be done by obtaining old law school text books, reading through law school study guides, taking online law school prep courses, or just reading what you can find online.
Read law focused books that are either fiction or non-fiction. Check with your parents, but there are a ton of true crime books that will tell you a story along with explain a lot about the justice system. Some authors to check out are:
- Truman Capote
- Vincent Bugliosi
- Ann Rule
- Jon Krakauer
There are also many awesome true crime podcasts.
Visit the courthouses in your area and around the state, and observe actual trials in progress.
Remember, the ‘study’ of law doesn’t always mean that you have to sit at a desk with a book.
Think back to the beginning of this article, where we talked about becoming well-rounded.
The more ‘interesting’ and ‘unusual’ things you can do, the more likely you will stand apart and above your future law school compatriots.
You’ll be more likely to get into law school, be successful in law school, and to get a good job in your chosen field once you graduate.
Thinking about law school?
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