Visiting Law Schools

For those of you currently in the application cycle, you probably have either begun to visit schools or will soon start visiting schools. These visits are fun, exciting, and a little scary. Here are some tips and questions I recommend asking when visiting schools.


Before you visit, see if the school offers expense reimbursement: Many schools offer some form of expense reimbursement if you have already been accepted to their school. Schools will offer it in various forms including a stipend, reimbursement, or even paying for your hotel if you stay at one they have a deal with. It never hurts to ask and can save you hundreds of dollars in traveling expenses.

Explore the town: If you have any free time during your visit, try to explore the town. Yes, you will be in the law school a lot, but you will have some free time over the next three years. It is important that you can see yourself living and being happy in the town you call your home for law school. One thing I always tried to do was to go to a popular restaurant in the area- it's a great way to get the flavor and vibe of a town. Ask people you meet during your law school visit for some recommendations.

Dress to impress: Most schools won't have a dress code for visitors but you certainly want to put your best foot forward when visiting. I recommend dressing business casual, especially if you are meeting with a dean or assistant dean. It shows the school, and people you meet, that you respect them and are treating the visit seriously. Depending on the school, jeans might be ok, but I would definitely avoid wearing athleisure clothes.

Questions to Ask: So there are a lot of questions you should ask during a law school visit, and a lot of them are pretty common (questions involving tuition, scholarships, living expenses, the average class size, job placement after graduation, etc.). As a 1L, I discovered some questions that I wish I would've asked on my visits, including:

What is the average class size? Ask this question in both the general sense (size of the total class) and for individual courses. Some total classes will be in upwards of 400 people and others will be as small as 50 something. Make sure you feel comfortable with the number of students you will be with. For example, one school I visited had an average of 250 per class, and this was too big for me, as I wanted more access to professors and resources. Individual course sizes vary too, some may be around 70 for your first year classes while others may be closer to 40 or 100.

How does your school rank students? Ranking in law school is expected, but schools do it in different ways. I know of schools that give you what percentage you are in, schools that give your exact number in the class, and schools that don't give you a ranking, but say the top X% has X.XX GPA. Knowing how your school ranks will give you a better idea of how you will submit your grades and ranking to potential employers. It may also give you comfort knowing the system before your first semester.

What type of students enroll at your school? Every law school will say that smart, motivated students enroll at their school (because it is true). I recommend probing deeper into this question. Find out the general personality of students who enroll. Are they pretty laid back (considering they're law students)? Are they athletic, outdoorsy students? Are most students religious? Although students are diverse, there may be some overarching characteristics. It will help you decide whether or not the school is a good fit for you.

What percentage of 1Ls get summer jobs in the legal field? This is such an important question, but many students, including myself, never think to ask it. Many just ask the percentage of students who have a JD advantage or preferred job at graduation. As a 1L (and 2L), you will not be thinking about jobs post graduation, you will be focused on a finding a summer job in the legal field. Trust me, you will not even think about having a job after graduation for your first year of law school. All the pressure is to get a job for the upcoming summer (which will hopefully lead to your 2L summer job, and that to an offer).

What do you think about your career offices? Ask a current student this question. Your school's career office can help you get a job, but you want to make sure they are fully equipped to aid in your search. Getting a realistic view of the school's career office can save you a lot of grief in the future.

I hope these tips and questions help you enjoy your visits better and get more information out of them! Feel free to leave any tips or question recommendations in the comments. If you are a current law student, what questions do you wish you asked?


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