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Applying To Law School As A Second-Career Applicant

Law schools across the country have announced plans to begin accepting the GRE. According to Kaplan, nearly 25% of law schools say accepting the GRE is an admission policy they plan on implementing. The decision is a strategy to lure more law school applicants from different fields.
For many, applying to law school as a second-career applicant can be tough. Julie Ketover , a contributor at U.S. News, recently discussed considerations for second-career applicants applying to law school.
The application
As a second-career applicant, you may be hesitant about discussing your career switch, in fear that it may disqualify or hurt your application. But Ketover says applicants should be honest and confident in their decision. .
When explaining your decision process of switching careers, Ketover advises applicants to “use positive language when differentiating prior work experience from your anticipated satisfaction in a legal career. Instead of highlighting your lack of fulfillment in prior roles, focus on what specifically draws you to law, how you will derive meaning in legal work and how you came to decide that law school is your obvious next step.”
The key to effectively conveying your decision process, she says, is to use clear examples. This is where your professional skills and experiences come in.
“Think about the skills you have acquired that speak directly to your ability to succeed in law school and beyond,” Ketover says. “Share those insights proudly in your applications, through your personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation and short responses.”
While second-career applicants will have less law experience, they shouldn’t discount their hobbies or interests. Rather, find ways to incorporate them into your application. Ketover says applicants should be able to show their “ability to balance competing demands.”
“Because of where you are in your life, you may have to juggle more responsibilities than your younger peers to succeed in law school,” she says. “Through your personal statement or supplemental essays, convince the admissions committee that you are up to the task and that you have support systems in place to help you.”
The interview
Once you are able to positively convey your career switch in a written application, it’s time to prove yourself in person.
Follow these steps, according to Ketover, when prepping for an interview:

  • “Practice the oral rendition of this narrative, so that your choice to pursue law comes across as both persuasive and genuine.”
  • “Practice answering in a way that shows you learned valuable skills and were able to succeed”
  • “Demonstrates your conviction that law is a better fit for you, without disparaging prior jobs; and exhibits your passion for law and how you discovered this passion.”
  • “Convince the interviewer that your commitment to this new path is strong, real and well-reasoned.”

The most important piece of advice, Ketover notes, is to be confident in your decision. Law schools, more than ever, are seeking applicants from different fields and being able to convey your experience confidently can put you ahead of the pack.
Sources: U.S. News, Kaplan