Minorities and women are vastly underrepresented in the legal field.
Aspiring lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds often face barriers and challenges when entering law school. Gabriel Kuris, the founder of Top Law Coach and a contributor at US News, recently spoke to experts on how aspiring lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds can succeed in law school.
GET STARTED EARLY
Applying to law school as a first-generation law student can be difficult.
Experts say applicants should plan to start their applications over the summer. Ideally, it’s best to have drafts of essays done by September.
“Law school admission officers and others recommend applying no later than Thanksgiving for the best chance of receiving admission with financial aid,” Cindy Lopez, founder of Legal Education Access Pipeline, also known as LEAP, tells US News.
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
Community is a key part of the law school experience.
Lopez says it’s important for law students to “find your people.”
Programs for first-generation law students may be especially helpful for access to resources and advice. Clubs based on similar interests or activities can help you meet like-minded individuals.
And while finding your people is important, Lopez stresses that “your people are not necessarily the people who look like you.”
GET REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE
While the classroom experience is an important part of law school, experts say practical experiences such as a clinic, internship, or job are critical for your law career.
“Whether your internship places you in a courtroom, in front of clients, or has you behind a desk in an office, you’ll see how lawyers conduct themselves,” according to Pieper Bar Review. “Seeing how lawyers treat their clients, support staff, their fellow attorneys, court personnel, and judges will help prepare you for similar interactions when you interview and go on to begin your career.”