Going to Law School

Many factors will impact your ultimate decision to attend law school … or not. Here are some guidelines and tips to help you determine whether you should indeed pursue law school and, if so, how you can choose a school that’s a good fit for you.

Should you really go to law school?

This is a difficult question to answer. Some people say they've always wanted to go to law school or to be a lawyer. But most people struggle with the law school decision right until they attend. Even after law school ends, some graduates are still unsure whether they want to be a lawyer or to instead enter another profession related to law.

So how can you answer the “should you really go?” question honestly and knowledgeably? 

Start by going through the Pre-Law 101 module and/or taking the two-credit Law School Exploration course offered through Pre-Law Services.

Then see how many times you respond “yes” to the questions that follow:

  • Do I enjoy working closely with people regarding significant events or issues affecting their lives?
  • Can I empathize with a client's situation, yet have the ability to objectively analyze the issues and their consequences in light of the existing law?
  • Do I enjoy educating people on subjects they may be ignorant about, or that they may have significant misconceptions about?
  • Am I able to articulate, clearly and concisely, my analysis of a problem, whether it’s verbally or in writing?
  • Do I enjoy being an advocate? Can I argue both sides of a question with enthusiasm?
  • Do I like detail work? Do I enjoy searching for the facts of a situation?
  • Do I like to read and study?

If You Do Go, Which Law School(s) Should You Apply to?

You’ll need to consider a number of factors when determining which law school(s) to apply to, but start by looking beyond what you hear are the “best” schools. You need to figure out which school is best for you.


Start first and foremost by thinking about where you want to live after law school is over. The vast majority of law schools are regional in terms of where their graduates end up working; often that geographic area is concentrated in the region or state where the law school is. 

Next, think about the type of law you want to practice. If you’re interested in working at a large law firm, for example, finding a law school that tends to have graduates employed in such a role will be valuable. All law schools are required to disclose where their alumni work, and that information can be crucial to making decisions of where to apply and attend.

Once you’ve narrowed the range of choices down a bit, especially by geography, you can begin looking at various schools’ ranges of GPAs and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. 

Keep in mind that many law schools do take a holistic view of applicants—so they will read your letters of recommendation, your résumé, and your personal statement. But realistically, if you are below a school’s 25th percentile on both your GPA and your LSAT score, you’ll struggle to be admitted (though it is not at all out of the question).

So especially if an application fee is involved, think critically about applying to a particular school. Do not focus only on the median LSAT and GPA scores; every law school accepts a range, so focusing more on the 25th to 75th percentile range will give you a more realistic picture of your chances.

Law School Numbers has great information on admissions data, as well as self-reported information on scholarship amounts received by applicants, all of which can be helpful in giving you a better sense of what to expect. 

Law School Transparency, meanwhile, has detailed reports on career outcomes and bar passage rates, as well as a school comparison tool.

Visiting Schools

Visiting law schools can be helpful at many stages of your decision-making process. Consider visiting one or more law schools if:

  • You're not sure whether law school is a good fit for you.
  • You're choosing which law school(s) to apply to.
  • You've been accepted to a law school but you haven't seen the campus.

While you’re visiting, build on the extensive research you've already done. Ask questions that can only be answered in person. 

The schools you visit will generally provide a formal tour. Some will also allow you to sit in on a law class and will connect you with current students. Most schools offer some version of a tour and information session virtually, and are happy to connect you to a current student even if you do not attend in-person.

Contact the admissions office of each school to set up your visit. Attending Law School Fairs or LSAC Forums is a great way to learn about many schools at one event.