So, You Want to Go to Law School? The Inside Story

AuthorAllan C. Hutchinson
So, you think you want to go to law school? There are many reasons
you might have for this conclusion — some conscious and reason-
able, others less so. You might wish to go to law school because you
want to change the world; you cannot bear the thought of starting
work; you want to be rich and powerful; you do not know what else to
do; you were rejected by medical school; you want to fulfil your child-
hood dream; or your parents expect you to become a lawyer. But there
are some facts and observations you should know about law school
before you settle on any final decision. After all, it is a big commit-
ment to embark on the road to law school and a legal career, one that
is likely to have a profound effect not only on your future career but
also on the way you look at and connect with the world. Accordingly,
it is better to begin with your eyes wide open than to proceed on the
basis of optimistic supposition and downright misinformation. Law
school is not for everybody. Although you cannot really know whether
it is for you without going there, you can at least become better
acquainted with what to expect.
so, you want to go to law school?
the inside story
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This opening chapter offers a glimpse at law school — its structure,
courses, and mind-set. After debunking some of the major myths
that have grown up around law school, there is a description of the
basic set-up of the law school curriculum and courses; the intent here
is to reassure potential applicants that law school, for better and for
worse, is not all that it is claimed to be. There follows an overview of
the admissions procedures that are employed at Canadian law
schools, including information and ideas on the Law School
Admission Test (LSAT), choice of pre-law programs, discretionary
admission policies, and how to choose a particular school. Next, there
is a blunt assessment of the costs of going to law school and the
thorny issue of working your way through law school. Throughout
the chapter, the emphasis is on providing a realistic account of the
possibilities and prospects for getting into law school.
exploding the myths
What are some of the main myths that have developed about law
school? No doubt many misapprehensions are fuelled by law students
and lawyers in order to intimidate the potential or fledgling law stu-
dent. Here are a few of the most notorious.
Law school is difficult. While law school is not easy, it is by no means
as difficult as myth would have it. Everyone who is admitted to law
school — and many more besides — is fully capable not only of get-
ting through law school but of doing well. The difficult part is getting
in, not staying there. A law degree has much more to do with com-
mitment and application than with innate genius. Students who are
prepared to take their studies seriously and give them their best shot
are assured of success. If you know what you are doing (and this book
intends to tell you what you need to know), law school is not much
more difficult than any other area of university study.
A law degree is a meal ticket for life. If this myth ever was true, it is
no longer a valid reason for going to law school. The market for law
jobs and for legal services is competitive; good articling positions are
in tight supply and, while it is better than it was a few years ago, the
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