Applicants applying to law school represent a wide spectrum of differing academic and professional backgrounds. A large number of applicants now have one or two years of work experience before they even begin the process of applying to law school. Some law schools even require that candidates work at least a year before applying. Work experience can certainly help an applicant differentiate him or herself from the rest of the competition. According to Jason Wu Trjillo, Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at University of Virginia’s School of Law, “people with work experience bring an extra dimension to their application. It can make them somewhat more competitive in the law school admissions process.”
Work experience is certainly a factor law schools use in evaluating an application. And, if positioned correctly, can be used to highlight personal skills and attributes which may not be readily apparent in the rest of your application. Leadership and management skills, oral and written communication skills, the ability to work within a team and individually, maturity and hands-on experience are all positive traits which may be highlighted in an application of someone with post-undergraduate work experience. In most cases, many of these skills will be more highly developed in the work-experienced applicant.
In addition, post-collegiate work experience is also helpful when you are seeking a legal position as a law student. Many legal employers like to hire law students who have worked full-time prior to attending law school. The prior experience shows employers that the applicant is familiar with the demands and expectations of a full-time career.