Pre-Law Advising is a service that provides individual counseling to students and alumni/ae regarding law school as an advanced degree choice, the law school application process, and the legal field as a career path. Pre-Law Advising also sponsors programs and distributes information to students, staff, and alumni/ae who are considering applying to law school. Anyone interested in law school or law as a career is invited to join our listserv and utilize the resources found on this site.

What is Pre-law?

Pre-law is an unofficial self-designation that can be claimed by any student or alumni/ae interested in a career in law.   There is no “pre-law major” or required undergraduate coursework. If you are considering legal pathways, Career Design is here to provide you with resources and individual counseling that can help you navigate this process.  

Students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline and the guidance provided by the American Bar Association is to make sure you pursue an area of study that interests and challenges you.  Law schools value diverse educational backgrounds and there are many different pathways that will prepare you for a legal education.

Pre-Law Listserv

Would you like to receive emails about pre-law relevant programming and opportunities? Please contact [email protected] to be added to the listserv.  

Pre-law Drop-in

Once you have read through the Pre-law information on this page, if you still have questions, we encourage you to attend the Pre-law Drop-in hour which takes place virtually every Tuesday from 3-4pm. RSVP on NUworks.  

Our Signature Pre-law Programs:

  • Pre-law Welcome: start of semester event for all pre-law students, staff and groups to connect and learn about supports available.
  • Pre-law Pathways and Practice: Preparing for Law School featuring NUSL Admissions and Mock Trial Team
  • Pre-law Pathways and Practice: What do Lawyers Do? featuring practicing lawyers in the field.

Pre-Law Organizations

With over 650 law, pre-law, and alumni chapters, Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) is the largest co-ed legal fraternity in the United States. Focused on promoting a deeper understanding of the law and the legal profession, PAD supports students of all disciplines in their academic and professional pursuits related to law.

PAD offers several resources to members, including LSAT seminars, guest speakers from the legal field, college and career fairs, discounts on prep materials, and law-related volunteer opportunities. In addition to being a professional fraternity, PAD also coordinates social events for members – both within the fraternity and with other student groups on campus. All Northeastern students are welcome to join, regardless of major or professional goals.

Sign up for our mailing list here, and follow us on Instagram @nuphialphadelta for more updates!

The Mock Trial team consists of 3 competitive teams that travel and compete in simulated trials against other collegiate mock trial teams, both informally and in the American Mock Trial Association’s ranked tournaments. Their attorneys gain hands-on legal experience and develop critical thinking and public speaking skills. In addition to these skills, witnesses develop acting and improvisation skills. Mock trial is also a great way to make friends and have fun!  For more information, feel free to contact them at [email protected], visit their website at, or follow them on Instagram @neumocktrial!

The Northeastern University Political Review (NUPR) provides a platform for students to submit essays and articles on current domestic and international politics, as well as analyses of political literature, films, and events.  It is an independent publication for students of all backgrounds and ideologies.  The print edition of the Political Review is published once a semester, while the web edition is updated on a rolling basis.  NUPR holds meetings once a week while the University is in session.  All students are welcome to attend and become involved.

To get involved or if you would like more information, send an email to [email protected].   If you would like to submit a piece to the review, please visit the Submissions page for more information or email [email protected].

Established in 2023, the Undergraduate Law Review (NUULR/ULR) is Northeastern’s esteemed undergraduate legal publication, dedicated to promoting intellectual discourse and scholarly engagement. We publish insightful legal scholarship authored by diverse undergraduate students, fostering discussions on legal, societal, and ethical issues. NUULR/ULR serves as a leading forum for undergraduate legal discourse, emphasizing the importance of thoughtful scholarship and supporting students interested in legal careers.

To get involved or if you would like more information, send an email to [email protected].  You can also sign up for the listserv here.

Exploring Pre-law

What You Can Do Now

Making a decision about whether or not to attend law school is a very important one that involves commitment as well as substantial time and financial investment.  In order to be confident about your decision, we recommend taking the time to evaluate the reasons why you are pursuing such a degree before taking the steps to get there. 

That said, what we recommend:

  • Develop a course of study that’s interesting and challenging for you
  • Take opportunities to explore interests, values, and passions, then decide on how you can engage these professionally
  • Learn about the legal field through classes, pre-law events, networking and internships
  • Concentrate on building yourself, not just a resume

If you decide on law, we encourage you to clarify your reasons.  Instead of asking yourself, “Do I want to go to law school?” Ask: “Do I want to be a lawyer?  If so, why?” To investigate this question further, consider taking the following steps: 

  • Do the inner work:
    • Before pursuing any career path, it’s important to Know your “I” and Why.  Take some time to evaluate your VIPS: values, interests, personality and skills.  Does a legal career allow you to honor these aspects of yourself?
    • If you need help with this, visit the Career Studio where you can meet with a Career Advisor who can help you navigate your career exploration.
  • Identify your career goals/consider your timeline
    • What are your career goals?
    • Do you want to go straight into law school or do you want to take some time off to gain experience?  Whether you take some time off or not has no bearing on the likelihood of you being admitted.  In fact, about two thirds of admitted law students do take time off after obtaining their bachelor degree.  However, it is important to make sure that you are spending your time off doing things that can enhance your application.  
  • Do your research 
    • Talk to lawyers and conduct some informational interviews.  What could be more helpful in gaining insight into the legal profession than speaking to a lawyer?   Check out the alumni tab of the Northeastern LinkedIn page, which is a great tool to start building your network.  
    • Look into the various programs and schools that interest you.  You may want to start by looking at LSAC’s Official Guide to ABA-approved Law Schools.  Some of the factors you may want to consider: location, size, length of program, faculty, cost, etc.  
  • Informational Interviewing-networking conversations with lawyers
  • Job Shadowing-short-term observation at a law office or agency
  • Volunteering-informal service commitment, typically to non-profit; does not need to be law-specific.
  • Co-op/Internships-longer-term, formal placement in law firm, government agency or non-profit; paid or unpaid

1st and 2nd Years: Explore

  • Take interesting and meaningful classes, and explore interests, law-related and otherwise
  • Get involved, on-or off-campus
  • Connect with the pre-law advisor and attend events
  • Start talking to lawyers and being building relationships with professors and other mentors
  • Look into the PlusJD program and follow timeline/steps  to apply if interested. Any questions can be directed to [email protected].  

3rd and 4th Years: Clarify and Prepare

  • Investigate interesting legal career paths and specializations 
  • Network with attorneys and seek hands-on experience
  • Attend a law school fair or forum, and begin researching different programs
  • Begin preparing for LSAT or GRE

5th Year and/or Beyond: Apply

  • Take the LSAT or GRE- late enough to allow for adequate preparation; early enough to allow for a retake (if needed)
  • Aim to submit applications by October/November

Law School Application Process

Once you have solidified your plan to go to graduate school, then comes the preparation part.  This can be a daunting undertaking as there are several different components of the application.  We recommend starting the process early, which will allow plenty of time to complete all components of the application as well as submit your applications as early as possible.  

The law school application process should ideally begin about a year and a half to 2 years before you intend to start law school.  The first hurdle of the process is the LSAT; determining when to take it and how to prepare.  At this point, you will also want to consider who you might ask for letters of recommendation and where you might apply.  Considering these aspects of the application from the beginning will help ensure you’re well positioned to submit your applications in time. Other elements of your application include transcript(s), personal statement, additional essay(s) and addenda, resume and the application forms themselves (all completed online through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service).  

Check out LSAC’s Law Admission Checklist if you would like to view a sample timeline for navigating the application process.

All applications are submitted through LSAC and below is the general application timing and cycle:

Applications typically open beginning in September and remain open in the spring with deadlines varying depending on the school.

  • Most schools review and extend offers on a rolling basis, as soon as applications are received.
  • It’s wise to apply earlier in the cycle, but also make sure it’s not rushed and you’re submitting a strong application.
  • Some schools will have a cut-off LSAT administration

Decisions and offers anytime from September through August

  • Typical decisions: admission (with or without funding), waitlist, denial
  • Most admissions officers are busy with recruitment until after Thanksgiving
  • Bulk of decisions are typically in winter/spring, prior to first deposit deadlines (April-May)

If you apply by:

October- you’re early

December- you’re on time

Anything after – you’re late

LSAT Preparation

The LSAT is designed to measure the skills necessary for law school success. These skills include reading comprehension, reasoning, and writing, and are the same skills required for success in the legal profession. When you prepare for the LSAT, you are also preparing for your future career in law — strengthening the core skills you will need as you move forward in your journey, from test day to law school and beyond.

For test preparation, please note that Northeastern does not endorse one test prep company over another. Select prep based on your needs and make sure test prep company is on LSAC’s list of official LSAT Content Licensees.  We have provided links to free LSAT prep in the resources section of this site.

There is no one right way to prepare for the LSAT, and you have various options to consider. 

  • If you learn well through self-study, taking practice tests on LSAC LawHub is a great option. 
  • If you believe you’d do better with guided study, there are good commercial preparation courses available. There’s also an excellent option for guided study that’s 100% free: Official LSAT Prep by Khan Academy.  

*Research shows that taking more full practice tests is the most effective way to prepare for the LSAT.

  • Because every test taker is different, there is no single timeline that will be appropriate for everyone. In a lot of ways, the more pertinent issue isn’t the “timeline” but rather the “workload.” 

Test preparation involves looking at a lot of LSAT questions to develop familiarity with the test and to hone one’s reasoning and reading skills. If you have a schedule that allows you to take on a large test-prep “workload,” you might be able to dramatically improve your score in as little as a month. But others may need significantly longer. 4-6 months is often recommended for those taking the LSAT for the first time, but you should look closely at your own circumstances when deciding when to begin studying for the LSAT.

The LSAT is a test of skills — specifically critical thinking skills as applied in the areas of reading and reasoning. The LSAT is designed to measure these skills precisely because they are skills that are essential for success in law school, and preparing for the LSAT helps to strengthen those very skills. So the good news is that preparing for the LSAT will benefit you not only on test day, but also in law school and beyond.

Guidance and Resources on Application Materials

  • Send to LSAC in the summer before applying.
  • Students can request official Northeastern transcripts online through Parchment.  Instructions listed here.  
  • LSAC will process the transcript and produce a GPA that will be used in the application process.  Note that sometimes the LSAC GPA differs from the school’s GPA due to the conversion process.  You can read more about this in the Transcript Summarization section on the LSAC website. 
  • Can be two pages (unless law school requests otherwise)
  • Should focus on experience gained during college
  • Descriptions should focus on skill sets gained. Focus on skills especially valued in the legal profession (writing, analytical reasoning, communication, problem-solving, etc.)
  • Legal experience is not required
  •  Generally speaking, your personal statement should provide insight on who you are and why you are choosing a career in law, which helps schools understand your motivation for applying.  You should also always check with the schools to see if there is a particular essay prompt. 
  • The personal statement also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your writing ability.  Don’t expect to write your essay in one sitting.  It can take many drafts, so be patient with the natural writing process and give yourself time to write a thoughtful essay.  The most important thing to remember is to be authentic (and please don’t read other people’s essays as this will make it harder!)
  • Ideas:
    • Describe something interesting about you that isn’t demonstrated in other aspects of your application.
    • Describe a personal challenge or hardship you’ve had to overcome and how it shaped you.  
    • Describe the moment or circumstance that made you decide to pursue a career in law (it’s not necessarily a moment in time for everyone, so don’t stress about this). 
  • This essay gives you the opportunity to talk about elements of your identity that can add value.
    • Diversity of thought, geography, faith, ethnicity, background, etc.
  • It should be different than your personal statement
  • Additional essays where you answer a specific prompt.  If you have something meaningful to add, this is a great opportunity to enhance your application.
  • This allows you to explain any weaknesses in your application such as low grades, multiple LSAT scores, leave(s) of absence from school.  
  • Be clear and concise.  Explain what happened, only giving the facts. 
  • This portion of the application requires the applicant to reveal negative past behavior (may include criminal record, academic misconduct, disciplinary actions, or civil proceedings/lawsuits). 
  • When in doubt, disclose!
  • Be honest and provide important details.  
  • Take responsibility for your actions; don’t make excuses. 
  • Law schools are not looking for people who have never made a mistake; they are looking for people who can understand why and how they made the mistake.
  • Most law school applications require 2-3 letters of recommendation.  In order to ensure that your recommenders are able to write strong letters with thoughtful detail, it’s important to start building these relationships with your professors as soon as possible.  Make sure you are participating in class discussions, attend office hours (come prepared with questions!), find ways to engage with your professors one on one through opportunities such as a research project or independent study, etc.   
  • It is not necessary for your recommenders to have any background in law. The strongest letters of recommendation come from individuals who know you well and can speak to your strengths.
  • Give your professors at least 2 months to write the letter.  

Resource: How to Request a Grad School Recommendation Letter | 5 Easy Steps (

FAQ's on the Law School Application

An outstanding record of achievement and involvement:

  • Course of study that is rigorous, meaningful, and that helps to develop essential skills: critical reading, writing, and research.
  • Strong academic performance and test scores. 
  • Involvement in extracurricular activities that are interesting and impactful:
    • Opportunities to gain leadership experience
    • Not necessarily law-related; quality over quantity
  • Great recommendations from professor and professional mentors.

No… law schools do not require that applicants have previous legal experience.

….but it can be helpful to:

  • Network in a field where you might work
  • Experience the actual work of a law firm, government agency, or non profit
  • Decide, before attending law school, whether law is the right path
  • Yes, and you wouldn’t be alone. Roughly two-thirds of law school applicants take at least one year between graduation and law school.
  • But, make sure you have a plan:
    • Secure letters of recommendation before leaving school
    • Take the LSAT before or soon after graduation, when still thinking like a student
    • Structure your time in a meaningful way. 

The PlusJD is a program run by the Northeastern School of Law (NUSL), which allows for qualified Northeastern University students to begin their first-year law school courses during their last year of undergraduate study.  If you are interested in this program, please make sure you follow the timeline and steps outlined on the NUSL webpage.

Any specific questions regarding the PlusJD program can be directed to NUSL Admissions at [email protected].


If you have any pre-law questions, we encourage you to come to the Pre-law Drop-in hour, which takes place virtually on Tuesdays from 3-4pm.  Sign up on Nuworks to receive the zoom link.