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Applicants Should Include Career Goals in Their School Selection

Senior admissions consultant and former University of Chicago Law School assistant dean Heike Spahn warns that too many law school applicants give too little thought to where their career goals fit into their school selection.

"Do you know what you plan to do with your law degree?" she asks. "While many applicants know why they want to attend law school, many do not have a realistic idea of what they can or will do when they graduate. That's why I strongly encourage you to consider career services statistics when you research law schools."

Career services data for recent classes is readily available on most schools' websites. Look for a link to "career services" or "career facts." Many schools post information about which firms and other employers have recruited on campus, as well as statistics on summer internship placement and graduates' job search outcomes.

"This data will provide information regarding employment rates," Heike explains. "That means what percentage of the school's graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation, what types of employers – firms, government bodies, judicial clerkships, etcetera – hire the school's graduates, where the school's past graduates are working, and what graduates' bar passage rates are. In many cases, the results you see may surprise you."

Heike adds that a good information resource for applicants who want to learn more about legal career options in general is the website of the Association for Legal Career Professionals (nalp.org).

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