The biggest reason that I chose to go to law school to get my juris doctor degree is because my experiences in the field of social work exposed me to a lot of injustice in the world. For example, before I applied to law school, I worked with a shelter for homeless teenagers and young adults. While we were able to assist certain individuals, we were not able to effectively address the larger societal problem by decreasing the actual number of homeless youth.
I think lawyers have a unique opportunity to make wide-ranging and lasting impact on society through litigation and reform. I know it sounds idealistic, but I think that lawyers can right some wrongs and affect positive change.
The law school admissions process can be stressful for a lot of people, but my experience was positive. As most people know, the LSAT is the law school admission test, and is a significant part of the admissions process. A lot of people are very worried about taking the LSAT, but I actually thought it was both enjoyable and interesting to study for it. I think the fact that I was excited about the test contributed to how well I did and that made the admissions process more smooth.
I would say that if you are interested in law school, you need to maintain a sense of professionalism at all times, including during the application process. That means that you need to be reliable, responsible and punctual from the moment you pick up that application. Make sure you get all of your materials in on time so you make a good impression on the admissions committee.
It typically takes 3 years to complete any law program. There are several different tracks that you can take through Brooklyn Law School, including criminal justice, business law, international law and so on. I myself am primarily interested in the study of civil law.
I learned an immeasurable amount from the internship I just completed at the Brooklyn federal court for Magistrate Judge Bloom. My first task related to a petition for habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is a statutory and constitutional right which allows prisoners in federal custody to petition for release based upon the illegality of their detention, often based on errors made before or during their trial. After a prisoner submits a petition, the court looks over the petition to determine if there were any fundamental errors in the prisoner’s conviction.
The other intern and I were assign research and writing tasks for the petition. These were challenging, especially because it was my first real-world legal experience. But the work was also very exciting. It felt validating to be given that much responsibility and I learned a lot about how to interpret and apply the law. It was a great internship for me because reading case books doesn’t provide the knowledge of legal processes that hands-on experience can. I liked my internship so much that I asked the judge if she would hire me again next semester.
Life as a law student can be exceptionally time-consuming. I often work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week cramming for the exams which makes up the entirety of my grade. In addition to school work, I have to spend time applying to jobs and researching at the library. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to accomplish every day if I don’t make sure to keep things in perspective.
I have found it challenging but definitely manageable to balance my work and my personal life. The best tip I can offer others is to avoid procrastinating. You have to get everything done as soon as you can so that you can find some time at the end of the day to exercise and stay healthy.
I haven’t pinned down my specific career goal yet, but I think I might like to become a federal judge eventually. However, that is a long ways away and I will need to do a lot to make that happen. For now, I am thinking of working at a small firm here in New York that focuses on labor or civil rights law.
I would probably take a job in any sort of legal setting, though. It is fairly common knowledge that the legal job market is oversaturated right now. Even the biggest firms have laid off a lot of employees in the last couple of years, so it is very tough for a young law school graduate to find work.
The biggest thing that a potential law student should know is whether or not they actually want to go through with the program and become a legal professional. If you are passionate about the curriculum, you can handle the massive amount of work. But being a lawyer is not as glamorous as it seems, and it can be extraordinarily frustrating at times. Make sure you put a lot of thought into the reality of law school and a legal career before you apply.