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Find The Right Law School Match

When applying to law school, it’s important to be sure you have a few “target” schools on your list.

But how exactly do you determine which target schools to apply to?

Gabriel Kuris, a contributor at US News and founder of Top Law Coach, recently discussed how applicants can identify midrange law schools to target.

NARROW BY LOCATION

To narrow down your search, Kuris recommends that applicants always consider location as a factor in applying to law schools.

“There’s no point in applying to law school in a place you wouldn’t want to spend three years of your life,” Kuris writes. “Beyond personal preference, midrange schools serve different legal markets. Places like Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area have many law schools and steep competition for jobs, while the legal markets of Phoenix and Seattle are robust but underserved. Consider mid-ranked law schools that might give you a leg up in an overlooked legal market.”

Experts also suggest that looking at local law schools can benefit you if you intend to kickstart your law career in the area.

“…employers want to make sure that the applicant isn’t applying for a job in a new city just to test the waters, only to bolt after a couple of years,” Daniel Waldman, a contributor for US News, writes. “While graduating from a local law school would certainly help with that, growing up in the region, having family in that city or even going to college in the area are all indications that you’re there for the long haul.”

CONSIDER SPECIALIZATION

While many applicants may stick to rankings to put together their list of schools, Kuris says, it’s wise to actually focus on specialization.

“Are there professors whose research interests and backgrounds might make them good mentors? Is the school highly ranked in a legal specialty, like environmental law at Vermont Law School or maritime law at the University of Miami School of Law in Florida? Are there special programs or clinics that would give you a head start on your career path?”, Kuris writes.

CULTURE

Campus culture is something that experts say is very important when it comes to fit. However, experts also agree that one can only assess a law school culture best by visiting.

Kuris says if you’re unable to visit in-person, you can still find some helpful information online.

“Beyond the school website, search online for news stories or other outside views of the school’s culture and reputation, bearing in mind those sources’ credibility and biases,” Kuris writes.

Sources: US News, US News

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