Should You Take Time Off Before Attending Law School?

Flight for holiday

While it depends based on what you’ll exactly be doing after college, I’d seriously consider taking some time off to work or volunteer before law school. Some law schools have admitted that they actively prefer applicants with work experience. For example, Harvard Law School admitted this preference two years ago.

Speaking from experience, I took one year off before starting law school. I’m happy with my decision and, in retrospect, should have considered taking another year off. I felt like I matured and was able to gain some solid life experience before returning to school.

While I don’t think it would massively hurt you if you went straight to law school, I think that there are clear benefits to working or volunteering before law school. First, you’ll gain some valuable life experience that you’ll leverage in the future. This is especially true if you haven’t yet held a full-time job. By working, you’ll gain some income that you can use to pay off college debt (if applicable). And who knows: you may actually find out that law school isn’t right for you.

Along with this, I’d recommend that you consider working in the legal industry prior to law school. Ideally, you’d work at your dream office, but it’s not the end of the world if you work in some other office in the legal industry. The ultimate goal is to gain a first-person view of what legal practice is actually like. Many law students don’t do this, and I think this lack of practical experience may lead to career dissatisfaction down the road. Expectations about the practice of law don’t match up with the realities.