The Decision.

In approximately one month I will begin 2 days of orientation and basic training, before embarking on a new journey I never anticipated. Nervous, nah. Anxious, absolutely. My decision to attend law school was completely unorthodox, random and bordering between sheer luck and cosmic intervention.

I graduated from college in the 2012, with a degree in psychology. My original intention was to continue towards my master’s degree in forensic psychology, while working for a state department in my field of study. I know I can’t possibly be the only person who had my “life timeline” planned out. I mean completely planned out, down to when I would get married, potentially have children and begin making 6 figures. The naivety. During my time working for a state department, mostly dealing with child abuse investigations, I started seeing a pattern amongst my cases, child custody battles and a lack of child advocacy lawyers. There was a system in place for these civil court cases; lawyers who represented the state, lawyers who represented the parents who could afford it, but who was going to represent the children, who had no voice? On a whim, I began researching the steps needed to get into law school and decided to sign up for the LSAT. (stay tuned for my blog about this test and the law school admissions process).

I received my LSAT scores, meh, did above average and continued to be completely engulfed in my career without blinking, and within no time, 3 years had passed. November 8, 2016. I remember the day vividly. It is a day that will be forever engraved in the minds of American’s living during this time. It was election night. I was sitting on my couch, completely in a daze (I’m not sure if this was due to the 3 glasses of Sangria I had already guzzled, or the mental confusion I was experiencing), nevertheless, I had an epiphany and a feeling as if time had stopped. I saw my mother’s face, I envisioned my future children, the pictures of the lifeless bodies of unarmed citizen killed by police, I felt the sweat of my ancestor’s and their tears of pain. I immediately felt ashamed. I realized that I was one of those people, the one who sits idly by as chaos erupts around them, without offering assistance to those in need. I decided in that moment that I would continue the mission I had set 3 years prior, I would become a lawyer in order to be that advocate for victims who need a voice.  

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Within a matter of 3 months, I gathered together all my essentials needed to apply (stay tuned for my blog post on this topic), sent some positive vibes into the universe and through the LSAC website, hit the submit button to apply. On May 11, 2017, my first choice law school changed my life with an acceptance letter. Since this moment, there have been a whirlwind of emotions, lots of research and reading and prayers. I started to notice a trend amongst blog sites for prospective law students. Proud Blonde here, Brazen Brunette there, which is wonderful for them and I truly enjoyed reading and browsing their websites, however, their characteristics and life experiences were very different from mine.

Thus came the idea to document my journey, while embracing what makes me unique.  I was startled to learn (according to the American Bar Association) only 5% of lawyers are African American, and only 36% of all lawyers are women. This led me to the conclusion that there is a need of influential figures who look like me, to pave the way for future generations. In no way is this blog a members only club for black prospective/current lawyers, it is simply a tool to inspire and educate those who may struggle with the lack of confidence and fear that I too have felt. As I write this, I’m currently counting down the days until orientation week and the first day of class. Stay tuned!

 

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Vacation before my Social Life becomes non existent…

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Mexico was everything people described it to be, magical, steaming hot and rich in Mexican Culture. I have heard over and over again, take a vacation and enjoy the summer before you start law school. I’ve heeded the advice, and have made it my mission to enjoy each and every moment of my summer. I spent 6 days at an all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen, with a group of college and high school friends. I conquered my fear of the ocean and Jet Skied/Snorkeled, drank way too many margaritas, relaxed and got at least 5 shades darker! What a blessing it was to be able to experience this vacation, I’m so grateful.

10 Year High School Reunion

 

As I get older, I find myself more and more in denial about how much older I’m actually getting. Reality hit this weekend, when I attended my 10 year high school reunion. I had the fortune of attending a high school in a very diverse city, where most people had a military or government background,  so my experiences were somewhat different than most. One thing I’m grateful for, is growing up accepting and tolerant of all races, religions and self identifiers. For the past couple of weeks leading up to my reunion, my excitement was growing and most people would look at me like I was crazy when they found out I actually looked forward to seeing my old classmates. Well, the night was amazing. We all met up at a swanky little hotel on the north side of town, one of my classmates clearly has connections in high places because we were able to rent the space and utilize the bar for free! #Winning.

The best part of the night was when I realized we were all genuinely doing well in life. Some were married, had children, in their careers and several are business owners. I had a genuine interest in talking with each and every person in attendance, which definitely wouldn’t have been my maturity level 10 years ago. The highlight of my night was us all gathered around, fireball shots in hand and yelling “07” at the top of our lungs. I’m blessed to be in such an amazing space in life, alive to live these moments and looking forward to the 20 year reunion.

 

The 6 Requirements for Applying to Law School

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to apply to law school. For some, this may have been a dream of theirs from as far back as they can remember, and for other’s, like me, this may have been a gradual or last minute decision. Either way, it is imperative to understand that the process of preparing, applying and hopefully getting accepted into law school can be tough.

 

The 6 basic requirements needed to apply for an ABA certified law program:

  1. Undergraduate Degree from an Accredited College or University.
  2. GPA
  3. LSAT (Law School Admissions Test)
  4. Letter’s of Recommendation
  5. Personal Statement
  6. Registering with LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) and CAS (The Credential Assembly Service)

 

Nearly all graduate or professional programs require applicants to obtain a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university. Without this degree, applicants are not eligible to apply and won’t be admitted into an accredited law program. Once you have obtained your undergraduate degree, prospective applicants will need to provide official transcripts to the law program you will be applying for, or to the LSAC/CAS system if your program specifies. (Read Below about registering for LSAC/CAS).

Your undergrad GPA, like the 5 other basic requirements is crucial to not only getting an acceptance letter, but potentially qualifying for scholarships and grants. Current students who may be struggling to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA should buckle down and develop a game plan to improve it before graduation. Stay focused during finals, schedule time with your academic counselors and ask your professors for extra credit opportunities to help boost a lagging GPA. There is no shame in asking for help from your professors, the worst that can happen is a “no”.

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LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is a half day, standardized test, taken only 4 times per year at designated testing centers throughout the world. The LSAT is generally a one-time $180 fee, but additional fees may apply if registering late or changing your testing center. LSAT consists of five 35-minute multiple choice sections and one 35-minute writing sample section. The LSAT is designed to measure the skills needed to excel in a law school setting. Besides all the effort put into obtaining a degree and maintaining a solid GPA, the LSAT is the most essential requirement needed for law school admissions. This test can make or break any chance you have to moving forward in your quest to becoming a Board-Certified Attorney. There are many tools available to prepare, including practice tests and writing samples with explanations. Check out the LSAC website, become familiar with the testing dates and prepare.

 

One of my many goals during my undergraduate years, was to come away from college with more knowledge, skills to take into my career, lifelong friendship and professional contacts. When applying for acceptance in a law program, most, if not all programs will require a minimum of 2 letters of recommendations, and these professional contacts you cultivate during your undergraduate college years, will make this process super easy. As a courtesy for your contacts, try to give several weeks, if not months’ notice prior to you applying to law school. This will alleviate stress on you and frankly, will prevent your contact from becoming annoyed or thinking you are unprofessional for such procrastination. LOR’s should be structured to highlight your skills and strength that will directly correlate with the skills and strength’s needed to be successful while in school. On the LSAC website, you will need to list the contact information for your LOR’s writer, and an email link will be sent to them. They will need to follow the instructions of how to submit their letter (preferably PDF file) to LSAC, and there is also an option to submit their letter via mail. When LOR’s are sent via mail, and specific LOR’s form will need to be attached to it. This form can be found on your account in the LSAC system.

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If your anything like me, your personal statement will be the bane of your existence, at least for the time being. This essay, usually 3-4 pages or no less than 500 words, is your opportunity to show your personality and stand out amongst the crowd. Law School Admissions committees are probably combing through hundreds and hundreds of applications at a time, so a phenomenally written statement can be the difference between the “No” and “Accepted” pile. When writing my personal statement, the hardest part was finding a topic that I felt could showcase my writing ability and intrigue the reader enough so they would remember me, even after reading hundreds of other essays. When settling on a topic to write about, I decided to focus on my work experience in the state department and many of the court cases I was a part of. I used examples and gave emotional testimony about how my work inspired me to become a lawyer. I truly feel like my personal statement was the strongest aspect of my entire law school application, and was a major reason for my acceptance. If you feel like your GPA may be lower than average or you didn’t score at least a 155 or more on the LSAT, DO NOT LOSE HOPE! Yes, law schools are looking for someone who took academics seriously in college, which will undoubtedly show in your GPA, however, a well-rounded and experienced prospect with an amazing writing ability is better than a plain jane with a 4.0. So take your time, think about what makes you unique and win over the admissions committee with your story!

Once you have gathered and completed the steps to applying for law school, prospective applicants should already be registered with LSAC.org, which is necessary to applying to take the LSAT. When this is completed, and law school hopefuls are ready to apply, they must register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). CAS is essentially a database that sends your transcripts, LOR’s and other credentials to law schools for you, removing the burden of you having to mail/submit all of these requirements multiple times. This service is a one time $185 fee.

Although there are many steps that must be completed prior to submitting an application for law school, it is less stressful and easy if DONE IN ADVANCE! Prospective students need to familiarize themselves with their choice programs admissions timelines and submit their applications as soon as possible. Some programs admit on a “rolling” basis, meaning they accept applications, review and offer admissions continuously until the deadline date. I don’t think its necessary to remind you of the famous saying, “The early bird gets the worm.”