Mountains, Dartmouth, Simon Ellis
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What is Pre-Law like and what if I want to go to Law School?

A: Simon headshot

A recently accepted 23(!!!!!!!) recently emailed me and thanked me for a tour I had given him a couple of years ago. At the end of his email, he told me that he was interested in pursuing pre-law at Dartmouth, and knew that I was following that path and wanted some advice/direction in that area. I thought that it would be helpful to lay out some of the decisions I have made to get ready for applying to Law School, and what being "pre-law" at Dartmouth is like!

While the pre-med course at Dartmouth is much more structured and contains specific classes and end with a minor, pre-law at Dartmouth is much less structured and focused more on a very holistic image of what it takes to prepare a student for law-school. The first thing pre-law advisors can do is recommend classes to begin exploring the broad sub-fields found in the law. "Environmental Law", "Constitutional Law", and "Federal Indian Law" are all classes I have taken as a result of recommendations from pre-law advisors. I always recommend students interested in pursuing law school take a few of these classes just to get exposure to different legal fields and jargon in general before they take the next step: pursuing an internship. 

There are so many different internships you could pursue in the legal field. Clerkships, Big-Firm internships, or Non-Profit work are just a few of the common paths that pre-law advisors and the Center for Professional Development can help arrange for you if you are interested in pursuing law! Personally, after taking several classes in my freshman year and sophomore fall, I decided to do a 12-week internship with the Legal Aid Society of Hawai'i (see the blog about that!). I worked in Non-Profit Family Law and got tons of professional development experience. For me, the internship process, if you choose to do it, is critical in figuring out if its something you really want to do after undergrad. After my internship, I knew that law school was going to be the path for me. This led me to another internship, this time in private family law and criminal defense, during my Junior Winter. 

The last step I have on my path to law school is simply studying for the LSAT and applying! Pre-law advisors can help you find schools that are right for you, proctor practice exams, and help you organize the final steps towards law school. Currently, I have been studying with some practice books and taking tons of practice tests, and when I go back to campus I'll be working closely with pre-law advisors to find schools that are right for me.  Hopefully hearing my experience may help some of you who are curious about the pathway from Dartmouth to law-school, and I can't wait to talk to you guys next time!

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