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how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:41 pm
by anpaking
Is it a mark against an applicant to a top law school to hold a relatively unprestigious job for a year or two before law school?

I'm thinking about being a wilderness therapy field mentor, which involves guiding and managing clients in an extended backpacking trip in the wilderness and playing the role of mentor to some extent for people in the 14-22 age range who are struggling psychologically or behaviorally. The actual therapeutic work would not be done by me, of course, but by therapists who drive out to the field every week and hold therapy sessions with the clients.

It's interesting, unique work, but the hiring standards aren't super high.

Are t-14 schools expecting something more prestigious?

Re: how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:25 am
by totesTheGoat
I'm pretty sure they're not gonna hold that job against you. In fact, it sounds like the makings for a damned good PS.

Prestige is very much overrated in law school admissions (it's also overrated in legal hiring). Worry less about prestige and more about doing what you want with your life.

Re: how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:58 am
by albanach
My understanding is that there's a strong desire to create a class with diverse experiences. Many adcomms could easily fill a class with a mixture of K-JDs and folk with a couple of year's experience on the hill. But the entire class would lose out as a result because the Socratic method benefits from differing opinions.

So, as totes says, you could turn this to your advantage. The entry qualifications aren't what's important, rather it's how you portray what you did, how you contributed and what you gained from the experience.

Re: how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:13 am
by da.goat
Some of the most successful law students at my T13 were bartenders/group exercise teachers/retail workers for a few years between undergrad and law school. As your career services office will eventually tell you, never undervalue a job that lets you work directly with (sometimes difficult) people, since it'll make you much more well rounded socially. Employers know that top law school students are generally all smart, but they also want to know you're not a social weirdo, and work history like this is a good sign in your favor.

Re: how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:10 pm
by BarelyConcealedRage
albanach wrote:My understanding is that there's a strong desire to create a class with diverse experiences. Many adcomms could easily fill a class with a mixture of K-JDs and folk with a couple of year's experience on the hill. But the entire class would lose out as a result because the Socratic method benefits from differing opinions.

So, as totes says, you could turn this to your advantage. The entry qualifications aren't what's important, rather it's how you portray what you did, how you contributed and what you gained from the experience.

Is there any evidence that is actually true? As far as I can tell the push for "diversity" is pretty much transparently racial. Stuff like OPs "life experiences" only matter as an edge case.

It definitly wont be a negative though.

Re: how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:30 pm
by QContinuum
BarelyConcealedRage wrote:
albanach wrote:My understanding is that there's a strong desire to create a class with diverse experiences. Many adcomms could easily fill a class with a mixture of K-JDs and folk with a couple of year's experience on the hill. But the entire class would lose out as a result because the Socratic method benefits from differing opinions.

So, as totes says, you could turn this to your advantage. The entry qualifications aren't what's important, rather it's how you portray what you did, how you contributed and what you gained from the experience.

Is there any evidence that is actually true? As far as I can tell the push for "diversity" is pretty much transparently racial. Stuff like OPs "life experiences" only matter as an edge case.

It definitly wont be a negative though.


My impression is that law school administrators love touting students who've done unusual things, whether it's living in a yurt in the Himalayas or being a professional ballet dancer or operating a tourist hotspot in Ecuador. (These are obviously all made-up examples, but you get the drift.) Wilderness therapy, IMO, would likely be unique enough to fit in this realm.

(Bartenders/retail workers wouldn't, but those jobs wouldn't hurt either - they just probably wouldn't give the applicant any discernible boost, standing alone (unless the applicant's able to spin their bartending/retail experience into a compelling Why Law).)

Re: how important is the prestige of your work experience after undergrad to law school admissions?

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:01 am
by abl
My sense is that interesting almost always trumps prestigious. This sounds pretty interesting, so I wouldn't worry.