Law School

How to Prepare if You’re Not Taking a Gap Year

When you’re in undergrad and know you want to be a lawyer,  there’s a fork in the road where you have to decide whether you’re going to go straight through or take a gap year.

I have spoken before on why a gap year is helpful and I do encourage folks to take one. But maybe you’re like me and won’t. In those instances, being in your early/mid-twenties and going into law school does require a little extra preparation to ensure you go in steady on your feet.

If I could do it all over again (I’d take a gap year lol) ok but if I was going straight through again this is what I would do differently:

1. I’d read all the posts on here for law school and prelaw students to get a better sense of what law school entails. And don’t just take my word for it, there are lots of folks who share their experience and it’s good to have a sense of what school can be like and more importantly the expectations/customs you may experience.

2. Try to save as much money as you can in as many ways as you can—maybe this means taking on an extra job or cutting back on certain things. This part isn’t about saving money for tuition because lets face it no pt job will get you to where you need to be to pay this expensive af tuition. No, this money is for those incidentals that will come with getting to law school. Like, do you need to move this summer to your new school? Do you need to have a security deposit ready? What about school supplies, especially electronics? This is coming from someone who had only ever had retail/service jobs and struggled with saving money. So I get that this can be difficult but it’s better to prepare now than scramble the week you’re supposed to move to afford a moving truck (not that I’m speaking from experience 😉).

3. Buy an affordable, but nice suit. I didn’t think I’d need a suit until oral arguments in the fall but there was literally a networking event the first week in. Having a nice suit (does not need to be expensive) will make you feel more more in place with your surroundings. If you want a really nice one and can’t afford it then maybe this can be a graduation gift or family can chip in on some of it!

4. Try to intern inas many law -adjacent offices as you can to get a feel for what office life is like so when you have your first legal internship things don’t feel as foreign.

Of course, without or without a gap year (and no matter how much you prepare) law school will have many moments that feel disorienting. Go in accepting this and knowing that there’s a lot you’ll learn and have to adjust to—but not all of it will be bad and eventually you will come out the other side with your degree!