Where Do I Find a Law School Mentor?
The truth is, navigating law school from admissions to the bar exam is difficult without some assistance. Some law students have parents who are lawyers and have gone through the process. Others have other family members or friends who can give them advice. That said, plenty of other students don’t know any lawyers, and many are the first in their families to go to college. Irrespective of your connections to the legal field already, everyone can benefit from a law school mentor. Keep reading to learn how to find one for yourself!
Where Do I Find a Law School Mentor?
1. Undergraduate Alumni Associations
You should try to find a law school mentor before you even apply to law school. The law school admissions process is labor-intensive, and it helps if you know things like how to best prepare for the LSAT or what makes an application stand out. Perhaps you’ll also want to know what type of information you should consider when choosing a law school? This is where someone who has been through the process already comes in handy!
People apply to law school at all different stages in their lives. If you are applying to law school while still in undergrad or if you’ve been out of school for a while, utilize your school’s alumni network to find a law school mentor.
Maybe you know of someone who was in school when you were who is now in law school. Look up their information in an alumni directory, and reach out! You can do the same with someone you don’t know. Maybe they went to a law school you want to attend or practice a type of law you are interested in. Send a professional email introducing yourself and your questions. You could also ask if they’d like to get coffee. Just be sure to be professional and respectful of the person’s time! Don’t be afraid to make connections. Odds are, the people you reach out to will be happy to give you advice.
2. Formal Mentorship Programs
Once you are actually in law school, it will be easier to find a law school mentor who has useful information about the school you actually attend. Many law schools have formal mentorship programs to match up incoming students with current students. Take advantage of this opportunity! You might think that you’d prefer to make a connection with someone naturally or that you feel comfortable moving into law school without a set mentor. It’s fine to feel that way, but it can’t hurt to have one more person willing to help you out!
If you decide to find a law school mentor through a formal program, you’ll have access to someone who has gone out of their way to sign up to give you advice! For some people, formal mentorship programs can seem awkward or unnecessary. But you’ll have someone rooting for your law school success from day one. You might start to lean on the friends you make in law school for advice eventually, but even having someone to talk to about what to expect at orientation can provide valuable comfort and insight!
The good thing about formal mentorship programs, too, is that you can set the tone for the type of mentor/mentee relationship you want to have. Maybe you will talk to your mentor every day. Maybe you’ll just ask a few questions every once in a while. The point is, you have someone who has been through what you’ve been through and is always willing to help.
3. Extracurricular Activities
Being involved with extracurricular activities at your law school adds value to your legal education. It also helps you foster lifelong professional and personal relationships. In addition, extracurricular activities are a great way to find a law school mentor by naturally forming a relationship with a classmate.
Chances are you may join an extracurricular activity based on your personal interests, your identity, or your politics. This means you will likely be able to find a law school mentor who has similar life experiences and similar goals as you. A mentor like this will be able to provide advice and guidance regarding many aspects of your life in law school. For more information about popular law school extracurricular activities, check out our blog post!
Finally, during your 1L year, you’ll likely form friendships with many of your 1L classmates because you’ll have all of your classes together. These friends can be a great source of support throughout law school. However, when it comes to navigating final exams for the first time, when to start applying to summer internships, or how to plan your 2L schedule, they won’t know anything more than you will! Extracurricular activities are some of the only places where 1Ls will be in contact with more advanced students. That makes extracurricular activities the perfect place to find a law school mentor who has a bit more experience you’re your 1L friends.
4. A Mentor At An Internship
Different types of people will be helpful at different stages in your law school journey. Some students have multiple people that provide them with advice and support throughout law school and their careers. You may find that someone you work with can be a great mentor to you in your career or in law school.
It is easy to find a law school mentor or career mentor when you work closely with someone for a period of time like an internship or externship. Chances are, if you are interested in the field you are working in, co-workers will be happy to give you further advice about how to advance your career. A mentor in an internship role may also be able to provide you with information about what classes to take, what other internships to seek out, or what extracurricular activities to get involved with based on your shared interests.
You can find a law school mentor in a number of places if you are willing to network and make meaningful connections with people. There’s no need to struggle through law school alone. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help you out!
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