Applying To Law School As A Veteran? Read This
Looking for versatility, leadership, and commitment? These are just a few traits that veterans can bring to law school.
But what specific aspects should veteran applicants highlight? And how can they demonstrate their value to admissions officers? Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently offered a few tips on how veteran applicants should approach applying to law school.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR EXPERIENCE
Veterans hold unique experience with their service to the country. Kuris says applicants with military service should highlight how their experiences have prepared them for law school, with a focus on the specific skills that they can bring to a law school environment.
“Without self-aggrandizement, emphasize how you are equipped to handle the rigors of a legal education and pursue long-term goals in your legal career,” Kuris writes. “Show how you plan to continue to serve others with your law degree, even if you do not plan to work in the public interest. Lawyers protect their clients’ interests, assess risks, and navigate uncertainty –roles familiar to most veterans.”
When discussing your experiences, Kuris says, it’s best to convey them in language that’s easily accessible and clear.
“Applicants with significant work experience often fall into the trap of assuming that the specialized language and knowledge used within their workplace are widely shared,” Kuris writes. “This is particularly true for the military. From job titles to responsibilities to success metrics, the national security world has its own dialect and communication style. Those who gain the fluency needed to establish credibility can start sounding like Martians to civilians.”
LOOK FOR SCHOOLS WITH VETERANS
Experts recommend military service applicants to keep an eye out for law programs where veterans are actively supported—from the moment they step onto campus to the day they graduate.
“Many law schools have student organizations for veterans for socializing, support, information-sharing, professional networking, and continued service,” Kuris writes. “Some also have strong programs, clinics, and clubs in military or national security law. Some even have dedicated faculty or staff to advise veterans in transitioning to campus life and preparing for a legal career.”
Several students with prior military service find the transition to law school to be a smooth one. For Matthew Jodrey, a Marine Corps veteran Sergeant and law student at New England Law in Boston, transitioning to law school after working in the Marines and police force was a cakewalk in comparison.
“Dealing with the stress of finals and doing the readings is stressful, but not like what I was dealing with. It’s just a different type of stress. It’s easier to manage,” he says. “People think I’m insane when I say that coming to law school was de-stressing from my old job, but it really was.”
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