See previous – Mistake #9: "The History of the World, Part I"
You know that vapid, dull, emotionless look Kristen Stewart always seems to land some huge acting role with? Law school admissions officers, it turns out, hate it. In particular, they hate it when they ask, “Why do you want to go to law school?” and that is the response they get. Let me quote a law admissions colleague circa 4 days ago: “I am continually approached by people asking about the law school experience and applying to law school. The very first question I ask them is, 'Why do you want to go to law school?' The answer is usually banal (i.e. I want to help people) or out of sync with the realities of practicing law (I want to be an international lawyer). To this point, I think one of the biggest mistakes that law school applicants make is not knowing why they actually want to go to law school."
This is a two fold problem. Firstly, an applicant who does not have a clear and substantive answer to this question is not going to have as strong an application as one who does, and secondly, not knowing the answer to this question does a disservice to the applicant in their future as an attorney and as a person. Why spend the money, time and effort just to be indebted and disappointed? We don’t need anymore lawyers saying how much they hate being lawyers. It breaks my heart every time I overhear someone say something like “I don’t know what I want to do so I’m applying to law school."
Said colleague has done us both a huge favor. For me, he articulated an increasingly problematic trend I have seen (and has written half of my blog article about). For you, he has warned of one of the most de-elevating things you can do in the admissions process. So please, please have an answer for the question, “Why law?” Indeed, have an answer to the follow-up or other permutation of the question, “Why Princeton Law? (many applicants seem to have this one more down, incidentally).
That is it. I am not here to tell you that you should or should not go to law school… or that you should or should not want to go to law school. That is a hot topic with a simple Google search away’s worth of information. But if you are visiting a school, or interviewing with an alumnus from that law school (also, please don’t call them an “alumni” unless two or more people are interviewing you), through Skype, etc. you should be ready for this question. Moreover, if there is a good reason you want to go to law school, there is also a great deal of reason to believe it will help with your law school performance.
You likely will be asked this question. Having a good answer is just part of good preparation!
Up next – Mistake #7: Texts, Typos, and Timezones