In addition to test scores and transcripts, applicants to law school or a pre-law program must demonstrate leadership and teamwork, interest in their community, commitment to creating an impact, and dedication to their passions outside of school. Students learn more about potential fields of study, connect with new people, and become more competitive applicants through extracurricular activities.
Law schools, in particular, are very selective, and students need impressive extracurriculars to be competitive. In addition to general extracurriculars like Student Council, applicants should illustrate their commitment to law by participating in or leading law clubs, organizations, research, or other related activities. Students emphasize essential qualities for lawyers such as public speaking, leadership, organization, and communication through these activities.
If you are unsure of how you can demonstrate your passion and leadership, look below for law extracurriculars or related ideas that illustrate a student’s dedication, responsibility, communication, and people skills.
Clubs and Organizations
Model United Nations (MUN)
In MUN, students simulate the United Nations and solve real-world issues through the politics and perspectives of their assigned country. For example, a student could be the assigned delegate of France and try to solve climate change by using France’s politics. This activity increases skills such as public speaking, diplomacy, and persuasion.
In Debate, students persuade the judges to their position through extensive research using argumentation and communication skills. Students improve their confidence and public speaking skills in this activity while learning essential skills in the legal field, such as persuasion and critical thinking.
Mock Trial is a competition in which students simulate trials by preparing for each side of a case and delivering an argument for their assigned side. Through Mock Trial, students learn effective public speaking and cohesive argumentation.
Future Lawyers Club
Through this club, students meet with like-minded peers to learn more about careers in the legal field. Common activities are seminars with current lawyers and group volunteer opportunities at a courthouse.
By finding opportunities for a hands-on experience, students are able to watch and learn some legal procedures, interact with lawyers or even clients, and understand more about the legal field. These are incredibly valuable opportunities, and students seeking a career in the legal field should try to find a hands-on experience.
There are a variety of ways to do so. You can seek out local programs or initiatives, volunteer at law firms or courthouses, perform political activism, participate in legal research, or work at a representative’s office. To be more creative, students can contact the legal staff at a particular company or restaurant and inquire about possible opportunities.
To get this experience, students need to contact either the person of contact or the legal staff wherever they wish to volunteer or intern. They will probably not receive a response, so sending up one follow-up email is appropriate. To maximize their chances, they should email multiple places they are interested in. After getting a response, they may have to send a resume or interview. If they succeed, then the student has acquired an amazing experience to learn about the legal field while networking with those who are already successful.
Internships are a type of hands-on experience and are highly coveted as they are a great learning experience. These are opportunities for students to gain real-life experience on issues.
This is a paid opportunity in which students intern with the U.S. Department of Interior. Students learn about public and environmental policies, and can even be offered a job if the requirements are met.
Through an in-person internship in San Diego, students will work with criminal law for 15-35 hours a week.
For students interested in politics, this paid internship allows interns to attend hearings and briefs, research and draft materials, and answer calls from constituents. Although this is currently a remote opportunity, this internship normally occurs in Washington D.C.
While not an internship, this free program allows students to learn more about the legal field through free classes on topics such as constitutional law, workshops that advise students on college, and a mock trial.
This is another introductory program. Through this opportunity, students observe proceedings and participate in a mock trial in a courthouse.
Research positions are very competitive and provide insight into the legal field while improving analysis and comprehension skills. Students can do this by cold emailing ten college professors to help with research about ethics or law; ensure that the email is individualized to the professor and their research. If they do not get a response after a week, they can follow up. In the case that they still do not get a response, they can move on to other professors.
Another option is to create an independent research project. In this case, students will need to email professors in the hope of getting a mentor to help them with their research. Once the project is complete, students can publish their findings and/or present them at a conference.
Extracurricular activities are an eye-opening way to learn more about the legal field while demonstrating interest in law. Students learn about skills used daily in law, such as communication, persuasion, and public speaking and are able to network with like-minded peers through these extracurriculars.
“How Extracurricular Activities Affect Law School Admissions | Law Admissions Lowdown | Us News.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/articles/how-extracurricular-activities-affect-law-school-admissions.
“4 Extracurricular Activities That Boost Your Law School Application.” InGenius Prep, 2 Mar. 2020, ingeniusprep.com/blog/4-extracurricular-activities-that-boost-your-law-school- application/.
“10 Law Internships for High School Students.” Blog, 15 Mar. 2021, blog.collegevine.com/law-internships-for-high-school-students/.