Welcome to Fall 2019!

Welcome back or welcome for the first time to UMass Amherst! Regardless of where you are on your pre-law journey, we’ve got advice and support to offer. See below for more details by class year. (And alums, remember: we serve you on the same basis as current students—don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.) And don’t hesitate to reach out whenever you have questions—by email if it’s something simple or by scheduling an appointment if you’d like a more in-depth conversation.

Seniors, applying to law school this fall:

You are our first priority during the peak application season. You should be aiming to submit your applications by mid-November (mid-December if you’re planning to take the November LSAT) in order to have the best chances of admission. The pre-law advising office is available to assist you with figuring out the application process, trimming your list of schools, and developing your personal statement. If you’d like some feedback on your personal statement, resume, or other essays, feel free to schedule an appointment or to simply email your drafts. There will also be several opportunities to meet admissions reps in the local area and on campus (see below). Check the Events calendar for details. We strongly recommend meeting with admissions reps whenever you can.

Juniors (and seniors not applying this year):

Your priority this year should start with recommenders: have you developed the kinds of professional relationships with professors and employers (or internship supervisors or volunteer coordinators) that will yield enthusiastic recommendations? Time is running out to earn strong academic recommendations, and those are the letters that will be most relied upon by admissions officials. Especially as your schedule fills up with 300 and 400-level courses (and/or possibly a thesis), it’s critical to keep your grades up as well.

You’ll also want to start thinking about Summer 2020 internships and/or post-grad jobs. These are great opportunities to further explore the legal career path and start to make connections in the profession. Buff up your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles, and meet with the career and professional development advisors in your college to ensure you’re positioning yourself as well as possible for your job search.

Finally, if you’re planning to apply in Fall 2020 (to start law school in Fall 2021), you’ll need to start thinking about the LSAT—when you’ll take it and how you’ll prepare. For a Fall 2020 application, you’ll ideally have taken the LSAT by September or October 2020.

If you’re planning to study abroad or on domestic exchange in Spring 2020 (or if you’re graduating after this semester), make sure to schedule an appointment with the pre-law advising office sometime in the fall to make sure you’re on track.

First-years and Sophomores:

The most important things you can do right now is to continue exploring legal careers and other alternatives, in order to figure out for sure whether law school is right for you. Internships and networking with lawyer-alums are the key ways to pursue this exploration.

For sophomores, you’ll also want to make sure you’re in the right major for you, and that you’re beginning to build strong professional relationships with your professors. These are helpful goals in and of themselves, but they’ll also help you in your pursuit of a third goal: achieving strong grades

And last but not least, first-years: Welcome again to UMass! We’re really happy to have you here, and we want to make sure you have a successful experience all four years. So please don’t worry about law school right now—there is literally nothing you can do this year that will dramatically affect your eventual law school chances. The adjustment to college, on the other hand, can be tough. So honor this transition by giving it your full attention, secure in the knowledge that back-burnering your law school aspirations for the time being will not in any way put you behind on some imagined schedule. Learn how to be a college student—as lawyer-alum Joshua Grammel says below, the study habits you develop now will serve you well in law school.