Law School - application - advice needed

I’m finishing up my sophomore year in college. (Tufts) I plan to study for the LSAT in junior year and hope to take the LSAT during the summer before senior year.

I know there is a lot of advice on the importance of taking time off between college and applying to LS - in order to gain work experience.

I have been working part time as a paralegal aide since freshman year - for a “Big Law” firm.

By the time I apply I will be on my 4th year with the same company.

Will this experience suffice? Will top law schools be impressed with a 20 hr/week workload at a top firm while in college?

I also am the president of two clubs in college, member of the band and practice martial arts. GPA 3.95.

Applying T14

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There are still plenty of K-JD in the T14. Your plan is fine. You don’t need to take time off to work.



It’s not so much that you need work experience to get into a good law school. Your grades and LSAT scores will do most of the heavy lifting there. It’s that the work experience and extra years of life experience will help you when you’re interviewing for jobs once you’re already in law school. If you want to work for a big law firm, those interviews (for summer associate positions) will occur a mere 9-11 months after you start law school (during the summer in between your first and second year). Given how soon that whole process starts, it can be super helpful for your interview success to have taken some time and done something in between college and law school. Something interesting. I’d, in fact, argue that taking some time to do something non-legal would be of even more benefit than working in a role at a law firm or other legal employer.

I’m not saying that it couldn’t work out, even if you don’t take the time off between college and law school, especially if you’re already a naturally a comfortable interviewer, and fairly mature as compared with your classmates. But, assume that lots of your classmates at T14 law schools will have taken some time off in between and done Peace Corps, or Teach for America, or worked in a completely different professional career for a couple of years. You’ll be completing with them in those interviews for summer associate positions, and you want to make sure that you are on an equal playing field. You might very well do just fine, but, for many, that additional time doing something else after college is really helpful in that interview process.


Thank you so much for your unique perspective. You gave me some really valuable food for thought.

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Illinoisparent12 is right. But:

I went to a top-5 law school and the dean comes to alumni events and says “it’s so important to take at least a year off between college and law school” and indicates that having at least a year off is a factor in admissions.

So whether it’s just good for interviewing or good for law school admissions, take a year off.


is that for work experience? I’m working as a paralegal for BL while in college. I’m starting junior year. When I graduate I will have 4 yrs experience. Is my case an exception to the year off?

Right now this is a parlor game, and from your responses you have an answer that you want- and you don’t really want any other answers. Nobody is going to have a magic answer for you that will be the for-certain right one. So, take the LSAT next summer and see how you do. Put your score with your GPA and see how it stacks up relative to the law schools that you want to apply to. You will still have plenty of time to make this decision.

Not sure about having or needing a magic answer. Just looking for different points of view and advice. Thanks

My law school’s dean says to take at least a year off and work during that year.

Your situation might be somewhat different in that you are working during college.

I don’t think that you “have” to take a year off to work. But it’s still a good idea. Why not take a year off and work for the same law firm as a paralegal?


I can realistically take off and work for the same firm full time. I work full time over the summer. I’m trying to figure out if there is a difference between 4 years part time or 5 years total (one full time).

My main reason is …why put off LS if I don’t need to. I can if it would make a difference in admissions for T14.

I’m lightly prepping now for LSAT - getting mid 160’s - aiming for 170+ …so I will prep this semester and cram over winter break. Maybe take late LSAT late winter/early spring.

If you are above both 75th percentiles for all law schools not in New Haven or Palo Alto, your odds of acceptance are extremely high, no work experience needed.

If you are a splitter, i.e., above the 50th percent for one number (GPA or LSAT), but below the median for the other, other factors can come into play, including work experience.


Thanks…3.95 GPA …waiting on LSAT - hoping above 170

Most law students at T14s (and lower ranked schools as well) will have done internships and work experiences during college and also have 1-2 years of work experience after law school as well. So yes, there’s a difference between just working during college and taking the time after college to gain work experience and life experience. I’m sure you’re already a mature and autonomous college student, but you will gain more even maturity, autonomy, professionalism, transferable skills, etc by taking some time off.

Do you have any data to support your opinion?

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Thank you!

My sister and brother in law have both told me this is the trend now.

They are partners in Big Law NYC. They have interviewed hundreds of associates.

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I think there’s an older thread on here about T3 law school admissions where at Yale only 8% of the class is straight from college, Harvard might be at 18%, if I read the numbers right.

Frankly for the reason everyone sets forth above I tried very hard to get my D18 to take a year or two of working after she graduated from college in 3 years. So not only didn’t she have work experience she was only 21 when applying law school. I thought that was a mistake.

She did not listen to me. However so far it seems she had done well. Got full tuition scholarships to 3 schools ranked in 20-30 range. Got waitlisted at all the T20 applied to.

Had a great first year….4th in her class and got multiple big law job offers in branch offices in Pittsburgh and Miami.

So more than one way to skin a cat.

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As a lawyer who has had some fairly substantial experience hiring lawyers for decades, I will tell you this: if I had a chance to hire a newly minted lawyer who had done paralegal work, I would do everything I could to make sure we hired that person. However, let me be clear: that person would need to have very good grades and great LoRs.

I also need to state that your question relates to law school admission, rather than being hired after graduating law school and passing the bar. I really don’t know much these days about law school admissions.

I went straight through from undergrad to law school, but that was many years ago. I will have to say that not having real-world experience didn’t help me at all as a 1L. However, the first summers of clerking, I was thrown into a major litigation case that eventually made its way to SCOTUS. I remember reading Wright & Miller (a classic reporter on civil procedure) and immediately began to understand how a class like Civil Procedure related to what I was doing during my clerkship. I actually spent a few nights sleeping at my law firm…not because the work mandated it, but because I simply became fascinated with the law and wanted to read up as much as I could on the subjects I was interested in.

I am sure, based on the advice here and your own research, you will find what is best for you in getting work experience before going to law school. But, depending on the specifics of your paralegal experience, I think that could only help.

Best of luck.

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