Pre-Law Guide

Introduction

As the Associate Director, Director of Inclusive Career Exploration for Williams students and alumni, I welcome the opportunity to meet with you. If you plan to enroll in law school immediately after graduating from Williams, or plan to attend law school in several years, I look forward to exploring these options with you.

During the fall semester, a number of law schools schedule information sessions at the ’68 Center. You can meet with the law school admissions officers, learn more about the qualities of each law school, and present them with any questions or concerns that you may have. If you want to receive e-mail messages about upcoming events related to law, please update your “Career Interests” via Handshake. You can do this by clicking on your name in the upper-right corner, then click on “Career Interests”. Select (or de-select) the checkboxes as desired in each section. Don’t forget to hit save!

In order to help you with your research, ’68 Center for Career Exploration has resources available to you in the library and listed here on our website below. You can search for summer internships or full-time jobs in law-related fields on Handshake or under Law & Advocacy.

  • Unlike medical school, law schools do not require a set of “pre-law” prerequisites. If you are considering law school, we encourage you to take a variety of courses to sharpen relevant skills:

    • Critical thinking
    • Reading and writing
    • Oral communication and performance
    • Analytic problem-solving
    • Research

    Join a student-centered organization (e.g., Williams Law Society, Moot Court, Mock Trial, the Debate Team) or a career-centered club for extracurricular activities, secure an internship, and if unfunded, apply to the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program for funding (ASIP), conduct an informational interview (Informational Interview Guide) with an alum on EphLink or access EphLink Job Shadow to arrange and complete a pre-law job shadow experience. 

    In addition to joining the student-centered organizations, the ’68 Center has developed career communities on EphLink.  There is a career community with a focus on Law & Social Justice that you should join.

    Is Law School for You?

    Before you decide to go to law school, it’s a good idea to know what law school entails to determine if it appeals to you. Now is an excellent time to think seriously about whether you want to practice law and, if so, what you might do with your law degree. 

    Some Things to Consider

    • What kind of law do you want to practice, and do you have the type of personality that does well in that field?
    • Are you ready for another three years in a demanding academic program?
    • Do you have a plan for covering the cost of law school?
    • Does your interest in law school come from genuine interest, or are you doing it for your parents or friends?

    Would you get more out of law school if you took a year or two to know yourself better?

    • Law School Timeline

      First-Year/Sophomore:

      Learn, Explore, Study, Participate, & Earn Good Grades!

      • Attend seminars and informational meetings sponsored by law schools and the ‘68 Center. Note that law schools do not look for any particular major or minor.  It’s most important to study in a subject area that interests you and one in which you will do well academically.
      • Make every effort to adjust successfully to college’s academic rigors so that you can begin building a record of solid, positive academic achievement.  A GPA of 3.0 or higher is your goal.  The higher your GPA, the better.  Stay focused on why you are in college and where you want to go.
      • Participate in at least one positive, enriching co-curricular activity on campus, especially one in which you demonstrate your leadership abilities (e.g., Williams Law Society or the Debate Team).
      • Expand your vocabulary.  In addition to maintaining good grades, read a good, current law-related novel every semester, read the  New York Times every weekday, do a crossword puzzle (the Tuesday  New York Times is a worthy goal).  Sign up for the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Word of the Day (www.m-w.com).  Don’t watch excessive TV; studying and general reading are far more productive and more like what you will be doing in law school.
      • Pursue internships and other opportunities to gain information and experience about careers in the legal profession.
      • Bookmark and review the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) site

      Junior

      Obtain Recommendations, Research, Study, & Prepare to Apply!

      • Think about your decision to go to law school, and if you are unsure, research other career options.  Most law school students take time off between college and law school.
      • Pursue internships and other opportunities to gain information and experience about careers in the legal profession.
      • Discuss legal careers with friends and acquaintances who are attorneys.  Conduct informational interviews with attorneys to learn about their experiences and careers.
      • Set up a half-hour appointment to speak with the pre-law advisor to review your academic progress and goals, as well as the details related to applying to law school.
      • Register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) at LSAC.org.  Most law schools want two letters of recommendation, typically from faculty or employers.  Begin having those writing recommendations submit letters on your behalf.
      • Begin serious investigation of law schools.  Review law school websites.  Look at each school’s profile in the Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools available for free online at  LSAC.org and the Academic & Pre-Professional Advising Center.
      • Research law schools by exploring websites and law school catalogs.  Visit law schools whenever you can.
      • Attend LSAC Law School Forum, particularly the New York City Forum in September or the Boston Law School Forum at the Copley Plaza in late October.  These are comprehensive events with many admissions deans/counselors present to answer your questions. Because of COVID-19, all forums are virtual until further notice.
      • The LSAT exam is offered nine times a year:  January, March, April, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Due to COVID-19, LSAC has created an LSAT Flex exam that students can take at home.
      • Visit the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) site to get information on ordering practice exams. Investigate LSAT review courses and prepare thoroughly for the LSAT.  Practice!  Practice!  Practice! If you need additional help and practice, LSAC has created Khan Academy, which is a free online program! There are plenty of online LSAT prep courses that you can purchase.
      • Begin writing your personal statement.  Revise, revise, revise!

      Senior

      Research, Take the LSAT, & Apply!

      • Continue to visit law schools, especially those close to where you live.
      • Attend law recruitment days and other opportunities to meet with law school admissions officers.  Revisit the NYC Law School Forum in September, or go to the Boston Law School Fair, Copley Plaza, in late October.
      • Register with the LSAC for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). CAS simplifies your law school application process. With CAS, your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other documents required for each of your law school applications only need to be sent one time to LSAC. All ABA-approved law school applications are available electronically through your CAS account as well, saving you time and effort. LSAC combines your documents with your LSAT or GRE scores and forwards a full report to all the schools you apply to.
      • Select at least five law schools to apply to and discuss your choices with your pre-law advisor.
      • Take the LSAT if you have not yet already. The LSAT exam is offered nine times a year:  January, March, April, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Due to COVID-19, LSAC has created an LSAT Flex exam that students can take at home.
      • Complete your application files with LSAC and the law schools by mid-November.  Make sure you disclose everything required.  Failure to do so can result in the automatic rejection of your application(s).
      • File your taxes early and submit your FAFSA in January. The FAFSA is available online beginning January 1.
      • Submit an updated transcript with your fall grades to LSAC and the law schools.
      • Expect to hear from law schools beginning in December through the spring.  If you have been waitlisted at a school, consider forwarding NEW information to the law schools (i.e., fall semester grades, completion of a thesis, awards, additional recommendations).
      • Visit the schools where you have been admitted to or waitlisted.
      • Inform your pre-law advisor and those writing letters of recommendation of the results of your law school applications.
      • Once admitted, send a deposit to reserve your space in the entering class.  If you are no longer interested in the school, let them know early so they can offer your seat to someone else.
      • Before leaving school in the spring, have the Registrar’s Office send a final transcript to the law school you plan to attend with your complete academic record and graduation notice.
    • The ‘68 Center encourages you to explore various career interests during your summer internships. If you do have an interest in law, you should secure at least one pre-law related internship to test the waters.

      Deciding to attend law school after graduation is a personal decision. However, most Williams Alumni tend to take a gap year or two before attending law school. You do not necessarily have to work in the legal field, but working for a law firm or a public interest nonprofit may help you determine if going to law school is the right decision for you.

      Law-Related Job Sites

Please feel free to call '68 Center for Career Exploration to schedule an appointment with me.

Contact Your Pre-Law Advisor:

Anthony Pernell-McGee, JD, GCDF
Associate Director, Director of Inclusive Career Exploration
Email Anthony
(413) 597-3356

About Anthony:

Anthony earned his BA in Political Science at Stony Brook University and his Juris Doctor from the City University of New York School of Law with a concentration in administrative law. He practiced law for over twenty years in Atlanta, Georgia, as a lobbyist, public defender, and prosecutor. He founded Anthony McGee Law Group, where he practiced civil and criminal law.  This firm represented Medicaid clients who received inferior standard of care and represented clients of color who were racially profiled and wrongfully arrested.  He taught constitutional law and national government at Morehouse College and served as the pre-law program’s interim director.