Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
cupcakess
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:33 pm

Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby cupcakess » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:26 pm

Hi all, first time poster here!

I'm a sophomore currently majoring in Mass Communications at a state school, but I'd like to apply for LS in the Fall of 2011. I've been fairly successful in my current major (won national awards, interned at a major news network, won scholarships, etc.), but I'm afraid that most law schools will not look favorably on my undergraduate major and will auto-reject me. I only decided that I wanted to go to LS fairly recently, so I haven't yet had time to build up some good softs that will show them that I'm serious about the field, but I do plan on interning at a law firm this summer. What do the fine people of TLS think about this? Is my fear unfounded or will I have to bust twice as much ass to be equally competitive with someone who has wanted to go to LS since birth and planned accordingly?

And for those who want to know, I've scheduled my first LSAT for October and plan on spending the summer training myself for it using the Powerscore books and many, many practice tests. My GPA is currently a 3.5 (damn advanced Spanish ruined my 3.9), but I do expect it to go back up after this semester.

I plan on mainly applying to schools around the Va. and DC area since I'm a Va. resident and don't want to move too far from home ($$$, honey), but I'm open to suggestions of any other decent LSs that I have a chance of getting into (especially ones that will give me $$$ to help me avoid going into triple-digit debt). I know that it's impossible to chance me without an LSAT score, but if my SAT score is any indication of my test-taking ability, I anticipate getting a score in the mid 160s to low 170s after some moderate studying. If I went all out, I might be able to get a score in the mid 170s. Right now, W&M is definitely my first choice.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:34 pm

Law schools do not care about your major at all, only whether or not you were successful in it. Actually, that's not entirely true, but the exception works to your advantage. Being a communications major will make you a bit unique because they like to increase diversity in all areas, including diversity of major, and you might be more popular that way.

Your awards and work experience will make you stand out in a good way. Stick with what you're doing. Those are your softs, so try to get as many of them as possible and they'll help you.

User avatar
cupcakess
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:33 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby cupcakess » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:38 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Law schools do not care about your major at all, only whether or not you were successful in it. Actually, that's not entirely true, but the exception works to your advantage. Being a communications major will make you a bit unique because they like to increase diversity in all areas, including diversity of major, and you might be more popular that way.

Your awards and work experience will make you stand out in a good way. Stick with what you're doing. Those are your softs, so try to get as many of them as possible and they'll help you.



So, say if I had the option between working a 30hr PT job for a local news station this summer v. an internship at a small local law firm, which would you say I should take? The law internship seems like the obvious choice, but if what you say is correct, then I should be able to take the job and still be okay competitively.

getmetolawschool
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:38 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby getmetolawschool » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:45 pm

I'm a sophomore currently majoring in Mass Communications at a state school, but I'd like to apply for LS in the Fall of 2011. I've been fairly successful in my current major (won national awards, interned at a major news network, won scholarships, etc.), but I'm afraid that most law schools will not look favorably on my undergraduate major and will auto-reject me. I only decided that I wanted to go to LS fairly recently, so I haven't yet had time to build up some good softs that will show them that I'm serious about the field, but I do plan on interning at a law firm this summer. What do the fine people of TLS think about this? Is my fear unfounded or will I have to bust twice as much ass to be equally competitive with someone who has wanted to go to LS since birth and planned accordingly?


You'll be fine! I'm also a journalist - I graduated in 2007 and have been working in publishing since. I decided just this May to pursue a law degree and have been very happy with how my cycle turned out - despite the fact that I have NO law related softs whatsoever. Your experiences, if anything, help you to stand out in a sea of pre-law kids and make you unique. Good luck!!!!!

User avatar
pearl_earrings
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:25 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby pearl_earrings » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:46 pm

.
Last edited by pearl_earrings on Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:49 pm

cupcakess wrote:So, say if I had the option between working a 30hr PT job for a local news station this summer v. an internship at a small local law firm, which would you say I should take? The law internship seems like the obvious choice, but if what you say is correct, then I should be able to take the job and still be okay competitively.

I'd take the local news station job, for two reasons:

1) Law schools expect your legal education to start when you walk in the door with them, not before. I got into a T14 without any legal experience whatosever, and many others do the same. They don't expect you to know the law when you come in, and they don't need proof you're interested in the law because they assume that from the fact that you want to go to law school and from what you tell them in your personal statement.

2) You may change your mind again after learning more about law schools and your options, and in that case you'll want to have done the most you could to get a job with your bachelor's degree. In that case the internship with the local news station will benefit your future more strongly. A job with a law firm sure isn't going to help you find employment in the field of TV journalism when you graduate.

User avatar
FunkyJD
Posts: 1039
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:38 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:19 pm

vanwinkle wrote:A job with a law firm sure isn't going to help you find employment in the field of TV journalism when you graduate.

... unless you want to be a legal commentator on television, which is something I've thought doing about myself at some point. Megan Kelly, Lester Munson, etc ...

IowaGirl
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:28 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby IowaGirl » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:51 pm

As someone that spent three years working in journalism (Metro Desk at a large newspaper) I just wanted to echo what others had said. You can definitely made a jump from journalism to law school. Working in news gives you a lot you can talk about in a PS or in an interview. And a lot of people in the legal world know that the skills you pick up in journalism (the ability to work under tight deadlines, the ability to write clearly/concisely, etc.) are extremely valuable in the legal world.

You can use your PS to talk about why your experience in journalism prompted you to go to law school. And with a strong LSAT score, you should be in good shape.

Good luck! And if you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:13 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:A job with a law firm sure isn't going to help you find employment in the field of TV journalism when you graduate.

... unless you want to be a legal commentator on television, which is something I've thought doing about myself at some point. Megan Kelly, Lester Munson, etc ...

If you want that kind of job, what will help you there the most is a law degree, something those people you named have. Yes, they also have legal experience--experience they accrued as lawyers, after getting their JD.

Working at a law firm before you start law school is not the kind of work that will help you get a legal commentary job.

User avatar
FunkyJD
Posts: 1039
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:38 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:14 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:A job with a law firm sure isn't going to help you find employment in the field of TV journalism when you graduate.

... unless you want to be a legal commentator on television, which is something I've thought doing about myself at some point. Megan Kelly, Lester Munson, etc ...

If you want that kind of job, what will help you there the most is a law degree, something those people you named have. Yes, they also have legal experience--experience they accrued as lawyers, after getting their JD.

Working at a law firm before you start law school is not the kind of work that will help you get a legal commentary job.

Fair enough.

User avatar
cupcakess
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:33 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby cupcakess » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:31 pm

Thanks guys, you've all been really helpful.

As for what I want to do with my degree, I'm not so sure yet. My original intent was to get it so that I have a better chance of getting a Cap. Hill reporting job after I graduate, but I find the idea of a secure job and comfortable salary very appealing, so I haven't ruled out actually practicing law as one of my post-graduation options. I'd probably have to go that route immediately after graduating anyways to pay back any LS debt that I'll probably accumulate. Ah, money rules the world. Such is life.

motiontodismiss
Posts: 870
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:36 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:46 pm

Prelaw is a useless major. Major in whatever you like.

User avatar
FunkyJD
Posts: 1039
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:38 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:28 pm

cupcakess wrote:Thanks guys, you've all been really helpful.

As for what I want to do with my degree, I'm not so sure yet. My original intent was to get it so that I have a better chance of getting a Cap. Hill reporting job after I graduate, but I find the idea of a secure job and comfortable salary very appealing, so I haven't ruled out actually practicing law as one of my post-graduation options. I'd probably have to go that route immediately after graduating anyways to pay back any LS debt that I'll probably accumulate. Ah, money rules the world. Such is life.

You're a Mass Comm major ... what are you minoring in? May I strongly recommend economics?

Mass comm major ... economics minor ... you could get a job reporting in Washington just with that. Are you sure you want to be a lawyer?

User avatar
cupcakess
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:33 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby cupcakess » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:20 am

FunkyJD wrote:You're a Mass Comm major ... what are you minoring in? May I strongly recommend economics?

Mass comm major ... economics minor ... you could get a job reporting in Washington just with that. Are you sure you want to be a lawyer?


Well, I was minoring in Spanish until an advanced grammar course killed my GPA last semester (I really need to study abroad to become more fluent :? ) and was planning on picking up a Poli Sci minor since I only need to take 1 extra class for one. I wouldn't mind getting an Econ minor, too, but I might need to pack in some extra summer courses for that (and maybe even an extra semester).

Like I said in my earlier post, I'm not sure yet what I want to do. I didn't even entertain the idea of going to a law school until recently, but I'm fairly certain that I could get into a good one as long as I sufficiently prep for the LSAT.

I enjoy journalism and have a great resume that will probably land me some sort of job when I graduate, but the fact that the industry is dying and even national news outlets are laying off some of their most senior employees has me really concerned with job security.

I also can't shake the nagging feeling that my skills are probably more suited for a field that appreciates my OCD and crazy-awesome research skills. Broadcast journalism is moving away from investigative reports and print outlets simply can't afford to have someone dig into an investigative project. Maybe if the industry moves away from the short-form, headline crap, I'll try to break back in, but I don't think I could bear writing feature stories about babies and puppies for the rest of my life.

If I were to become a lawyer, I'd specialize in either real estate law or any concentration that will land me some sort of government job. I have modest aspirations (no BIGLAW for me, probably) and I just want to be comfortable and happy in this life. :)

User avatar
FunkyJD
Posts: 1039
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:38 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby FunkyJD » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:24 am

I hear you. Or, you could even specialize in communications law and still have your hooks into journalism/media/media business.

User avatar
cupcakess
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:33 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby cupcakess » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:57 am

FunkyJD wrote:I hear you. Or, you could even specialize in communications law and still have your hooks into journalism/media/media business.


Ah, yes, I've thought of that, too. I'll definitely consider it, but if I leave journalism because it's dying, perhaps becoming a lawyer whose client pool are companies in that industry will hurt me regardless.

Economy, hurry up and recover within the next 2 years, okay?! :lol:

User avatar
ozarkhack
Posts: 380
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:48 pm

Re: Journo to Pre-law-- can it be done?

Postby ozarkhack » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:25 pm

cupcakess wrote:I enjoy journalism and have a great resume that will probably land me some sort of job when I graduate, but the fact that the industry is dying and even national news outlets are laying off some of their most senior employees has me really concerned with job security.


If you can land a job after graduation, I say try it for a few years. Whether the industry is dying or not, it can be a really fantastic opportunity. (I always knew that my newspaper career would be a 5-10 year thing and that I'd pursue either lawyering or teaching after that. I certainly do not regret not jumping immediately to law school.)

If you do not immediately pursue your journalism career after graduation/internships, it will become infinitely more difficult to try it later. Law school, however, always awaits. And if you go for LS after a few years working in journalism, you'll have a nice bit of experience that most your peers will not (still: LSAT, LSAT, LSAT).

That said, it can be very hard to get a reporting job, even if you think you're on the right path now. And it's way harder to land a decent-paying Capitol Hill job straight out of school. There are several factors that can help you here, of course (UG/j-school prestige, connections, experience, etc.). But attending law school is probably not one of them.

So .... Don't go to law school expecting it to help your journalism career. At least not at this stage of it. The only time I would think a JD would boost your journalism career is when it's a mid-career thing. And even then it's probably not gonna give you enough boost to justify the cost of admission + lost years of experience/pay.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: alora, Google [Bot], junegabriel92 and 4 guests