Distinguishing yourself at every turn

LegalJob recently attended an event with prospective law students for a particular top twenty law school.  The dean spoke and highlighted some of the items that made this law school different (and more attractive) from other top twenty-law schools.  During his remarks, it occurred to LegalJob that selecting a law school that prides itself on how it is different from others is important because nowadays success in law is determined in large part by how you distinguish yourself — as a law student, as a law firm associate candidate, and as a law firm associate (or other employee).

Armed with this information, know that it will generally be helpful for you if you can distinguish yourself at every turn.  Below are some ways to distinguish yourself with your law school choice and law school activities:

Law school choice.

  • Obviously ranking is important but also think about:
    • General reputation (i.e., more geared toward policy or practical legal skills)
    • Reputation in certain practice if you have an idea which area you want to pursue (i.e., known for xyz specialty)
    • Cost (including scholarship money available)
    • Special incentives after law school (such as funds for pursuing public interest or government work)
    • Location of school
    • Practical experience available
      • Clinics
      • Mentorship opportunities
      • Professors’ outside activities
      • Accessibility of professors and administration
      • Externships
      • Contacts at school or in the area (including alumni)

Law school activities

  • Grades in required classes
  • Opportunity for special designation in particular area of law
  • Part-time work (including internships and research positions with professors)
  • Clinics
  • Writing and speaking opportunities (moot court, ABA, etc.)


Image courtesy of Master isolated images.