Santa Clara University


Checklist Before Meeting with Pre-Law Advisors

Because the Pre-law committee strongly believes that the law school process is a detailed one and the eventual decision to attend law school is so serious, we ask that you investigate certain things before you talk to us.Our goal is simple: To make sure you understand fully how comprehensive, detailed, and significant the decision to attend law school is.

Please therefore do the following before meeting with a pre-law advisor:

  • Read Carefully the "Six Elements of Pursuing Law School and Law" handout
  • Research the LSAT: Do you know why the LSAT is so important?How do you plan to maximize your LSAT score and thereby (a) open your law school applicant pool, (b) increase your future employment potential, and (c) decrease your overall debt burden?

  • Become familiar with the rigors of law school: Do you fully comprehend the difficulty of law school material, the amount of time it takes to study, and the rigor of the examination process?
  • Do you understand law school grading—in particular, the curves used? Peruse this Wikipedia site and understand that often ¼ (or more) of students MUST earn C's.

  • Do you understand that law school students are often those who have never received a grade lower than a B? And yet, HALF of these students will be in the bottom half of the class, and (as noted above) often 25% of them (or more) must receive a C or lower.
  • Understand the loan rates for law school, the interest payments you will have to make, and the overall cost.(Remember that you may not like the practice of law or find being an attorney depressing or otherwise demoralizing.If so, a career change would remain possible, but would always be seriously difficult unless debts are kept to a minimum. Depression and alcohol abuse are serious problems in the legal profession, so do everything possible to maintain your future ability to be flexible in your career. ) A couple places to look at law school loans include:

  • Investigate what lawyers do: Have you spoken with an attorney about law school, about what the day to day life of an attorney looks like, about how attorneys bill clients, about the stress of the profession, about the amount of time spent writing or doing research, etc.?

  • Explore alternatives to law school: These include Masters in Public Administration, Masters in Urban Planning, Masters in Public Health, Masters in Public Policy, Masters in Legal Studies and Business Ethics (Penn), PhD in law (UWashington)

  • Be able to articulate why you want to go now and not later

  • Research how much money lawyers make and the ways that average income data are often skewed upward. For information on this, look at:

  • Understand the difficulty obtaining employment after law school. For example, consider this piece: