How I Got Into A Top Law School


– One of the questions I get all the time is how do you get into law school. Everyone has a different route, but today I thought I’d tell the story of how I got into one of the best law school’s in the country. (bright music) Hey legal eagles, D. James Stone here, teaching you how to think like a lawyer so you can crush law school. Now before you can crush law school, you have to get into law school. Now I have been a practicing litigator for over 10 years now, but before that I had to go to law school just like everybody else. And so here is my story. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a lawyer. There was a brief period of time when I thought I wanted to be a policeman, but when I learned that police officers are not allowed to carry machine guns, I didn’t really want to become a policeman after all. There was a short period of time when I wanted to be an architect, but that didn’t last too long, mainly because I started
to see lawyers on TV. I was really into the
TV show, Law and Order. Now this is back in the day with the original Law and Order series, not the SVU or any of the off-shoots, when they would split up the episode into half that was for police and then half for lawyers. And I always thought the latter half of the episode, that focused only on the lawyers, was always the best part, and I knew I wanted to be a lawyer like I saw on TV. There was only one problem. My parents put a hard limit on how much TV I could watch. I think I was only able
to watch 30 minutes of recreational TV, but I was able to watch
an unlimited amount of educational TV. So in one of my first acts of pure legal argument,
I convinced my parents that because I wanted to be a lawyer, really Law and Order was educational TV and I should be allowed to watch as much Law and Order as I wanted. For some reason, this
argument carried the day, and my parents agreed. And this is back in the
day when TBS or TNT, one of those cable channels, would just show Law and Order, basically non-stop. I mean, these were almost
during the daytime, the Law and Order channel. And so I had a chance to watch quite a bit of Law and Order and that provided the goal for what I wanted to do with my career. I think my parents assumed two things based on my arguments. Number one, I think they assumed that if I was willing to make these kind of arguments that I was really interested in the law, and so what harm could it do? And number two, that they figured I was pretty good at arguing. So that led into high school, where I did mock trial in high school. I was really mad because my freshmen year, they would not let freshmen compete on the mock trial team. So I had to wait until my sophomore year. I graduated from high
school, went to college. And I chose the college that I went to because they had one
of the best collegiate mock trial teams in the entire country. And ,in fact, while I
was on the college team, we won the national
championship twice in a row. In college, I majored in poli-sci mainly because I was interested, but it really seemed like so many lawyers had also majored in political science. So I figured if other lawyers majored in poli-sci, it
probably couldn’t hurt. A lot of people ask what majors they should take in college. They see the same thing, that lots of lawyers take poli-sci. I would say that the poli-sci degree was really interesting for me. Because it was interesting, I put a lot of effort into it, and so I got good grades. But it definitely didn’t really help in terms of preparing
for law school itself. Just because you know about government doesn’t mean that you
know what the laws are, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re able to think like a lawyer just because you know some of the history of governance and maybe even some political theory. So while I really enjoyed
my poli-sci degree, I don’t really think it
helped me all that much in law school. But frankly, no major really helps you that much in law school. Really what you should
do is just the major that you are most interested in, so that you can get good grades because law schools look at your grades, and that helps decide what law school you can go to. Now that being said, I did take a number of electives that did end up being
helpful for law school, one of which was a business class that was taught by my mock trial coach. My mock trial coach was
not only a professor at the undergraduate level, but he was also a professor at the business school. And he happened to teach
business law classes. These were mainly for business students, but undergrads could take it. And while it wasn’t a great survey of all the different
types of subsets of law that are out there that
you learn in law school, it did provide a framework for what we call civil
procedure in law school. In law school, you have six core classes, one of which is called Civ-Pro, and that’s the process of filing a lawsuit and how to file motions and basically everything that leads up to going to trial in a lawsuit. And so that gave me a framework for that specific class
in Civil Procedure. So I’m really happy that I took that Business Law class. I did pretty well, in
general, in undergrad. I graduated Summa Cum
Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. And I was able to graduate with honors from UCLA undergrad. Now I knew that when I graduated, I immediately wanted to go to law school. I couldn’t afford to do a gap year and to travel the world, and I knew that I didn’t wanna enter the workforce because that would just be a waste of time because I really wanted to be an attorney. So I didn’t wanna mess around, I wanted to go straight into law school. So basically, from the entire time that I graduated from college, for the entire summer and a good portion of the fall, I studied for the LSAT. And I think I might have started studying for the LSAT
during the school year to get a head start. The LSAT is to law schools what the SAT is for college. It’s your law school entrance exam. It really is the single
most important thing that you can do to get
into a good law school, is to get a really high LSAT score. And the LSAT is scored from zero to 180. So if you get a perfect score on the LSAT, you get a 180. The LSAT is scored, I think, using a normal distribution. So really only the top .1 or .5% get a 180. If you get a 170, that means you’re in the 99th percentile. And if you get a 160 or so, you’re about in the 90th percentile, and 10’s of thousands of college students take the LSAT every year. So I had taken a couple of practice tests, practice LSAT’s just to see how I scored. And I scored really low just with no studying whatsoever. So I knew that I needed
to take a prep course in order to boost my score to get into a good law school. There are several good options out there right now. I highly recommend live courses. The ones that force you
to go into the class and force you to study as opposed to the ones
that are self-directed because it’s so important that you really have to squeeze out every point you can and I just didn’t trust myself to study on my own, at least to learn the strategies. I took a course with a
company called Test Master that was based out of California and I think they’ve
expanded nationally now. I took their live class and I was actually instructed by one of the instructors who would go on to form the competitor to Test Master’s called Blueprint. And I think those instructors were just phenomenal. The original Test Masters instructors and also the ones that defected and went off to Blueprint. I think they are really phenomenal. So I always recommend those two companies, and especially their live courses. They’re really pricey, I mean on the order of 1500 to $2000, but the instruction that you get is just really good and it’s an investment in your future. You can’t get into a good law school without a really stellar LSAT score. So I think it’s just a
worthwhile investment. It’s expensive, but I think you just have to do it. After I took the live
class with Test Masters, I then basically buckled down with my college roommate and we practiced taking LSATs every day for about two and a half months. I mean, we just we
studied all day, every day and by the end of the summer, we had taken every single publicly available LSAT that had been published. So that was on the order
of hundreds of LSATs. And both he and I were scoring in the 99th percentile. He averaged, I think, a 174, and I averaged a 172. So I went into the LSAT
feeling very confident. Unfortunately, the day I took the LSAT, still can’t really explain it, but I scored significantly lower than I had in practice. I scored in the mid-160s. So that still pisses me off to this day, but the score was high enough that I could apply to most of the schools that I wanted to apply to and have a reasonably good shot at getting into a few of them. So I applied to pretty much every school in the top 20 and some of the schools that were outside of the top 20, but were regionally very good. I knew, for personal reasons, that I wanted to stay in Los Angeles. So I was really, really
looking to get into UCLA. I was also looking as USC. I also looked at Loyola and Pepperdine. I considered some East Coast schools, some Northern California schools, and I basically just applied everywhere in the top 20’s, hoping that a few of them would stick against the wall. And that summer, I got into a few and I was wait-listed at a few. I got wait-listed at
Cornell, Duke, and UCLA. I got into Loyola and Pepperdine. So I knew I could stay in Los Angeles if I wanted to. My study partner, my
roommate, scored a 172 on his exam or it mighta been a 170, so he was safely within
the 99th percentile of the LSAT and he got into Stanford through early admission. So good for him. (laughs) But I played wait-list game for most of the Summer. And for personal reasons,
I wanted to stay in LA. So I was really hoping
to get into UCLA and USC. Now that being said, since I was an Undergrad UCLA Bruin, I was really, really reluctant about going to USC. Nothing against the
school, it’s a fine school. It’s just that UCLA
Bruins hate USC Trojans and vice versa. So I decided I would, even though I got into USC, I was still playing the wait-list game over the summer, hoping
that I could get in off of the wait-list into UCLA. So eventually a few weeks
before school started, I was looking for apartments close to the USC campus. I had resigned myself to going to USC in downtown LA. And I actually signed
a lease in Hollywood. I figured that was a reasonably close
neighborhood to downtown LA. And it was the day that I signed the lease for an apartment in Hollywood that I got the call from UCLA admissions letting me know that I got in off of the wait-list. I did a few tactics to get in off of the wait-list. So I was pestering the
UCLA admissions department probably more than I should have, but my efforts paid off. I got in to UCLA. And that’s where I decided to go. I graduated from UCLA Law, stayed in the LA area and became a practicing attorney in LA. Now the story of how I
did well in law school will have to wait for another day. But if you wanna hear more about my experience in law school and my experience as a
practicing litigator, check out this quick
playlist (funky music) I’ve put together. It includes a bunch legal war stories. And so just click on that playlist and I’ll see you in the next video.

100 Comments

  1. i really like blueprint, i have a lot of other resources too i take the LSAT in January and March. i am an accounting major with a low GPA (3.0) so i gotta do well on the lsat

  2. Objection, you should talk about the different law specialties. For example, I worked for a disability law office for while when going to school. Lots of different skills necessary for that work. Very difficult to navigate the system etc.

  3. Im in my final semester of my accounting degree and even though i love what im doing, BLaw was definitely one of my favourite courses as well. this video brought back good memories

  4. @legaleagle In your openion, What is more important (or necessary)as a law student? Having all(or most)the legal concepts at the tip of your tongue or in depth understanding.

  5. "Get Into Law School: The Applicant's Guide" (book) helped me when I was applying to law school. Only $5 on Amazon and it told me what to do to get into the best law school possible for me. Best of Luck!

  6. Most of my friends told me that Legal Management and Accountancy are some majors that can help a lot in prepping you for law school.

  7. Love your law and order story and that you made your first argument that it was educational and your were right. Kuddos to your parents for keeping an open mind and allowing you to follow your dream and passion for becoming a lawyer? But my question is how can you "know for sure that you want to be a lawyer, when you don't know what it truly entails. After all, Law and Order is just a TV show which might even be mostly accurate, but one can't know for sue unless they actually do it ????… or can one just get a bug because they just know that is what they want to do? BTW, I am asking because I have a passion for civil right and have stood up for injustices, including legal action without being an attorney and have been able to resolve conflict with companies, etc etc, but I don't think I would feel it would be as meaningful if I were to do personal injury….what I am leading to is how do we know we can find the right combination where we actually become an attorney doing what we love and being able to pay back our student loans. THANKS FOR ANY INSIGHT OR MAYBE YOU CAN DO A VIDEO THAT WILL ADDRESS THEY CONCERNS FOR THOSE CONSIDERING BECOMING A LAWYER .

  8. I graduated from law school. I worked at the Attorney General's Office for three months, and I can tell you the bar exam has nothing to do with the practice of law.

  9. Policemen can't carry machine guns? Guess I'll pursue a career where I don't carry /any/ firearms with any degree of regularity!

  10. Love this! so good 0 I gave my sneaky tips for getting into a top law school in a recent video. Could be helpful if traditional ways don't work for folks https://youtu.be/4ewkMzQxtuQ

  11. LOL The UCLA/USC thing really hits home for me. I ended up going to different schools for undergrad/grad that have a long and historic rivalry, The Univ of Texas and the Univ of Iowa.

  12. Can you retake the LSAT if your not satisfied with your score? If so, is there a waiting period before you can take the exam?

  13. After watching Lord of War I really wanted to become an arms trafficker, but sadly I ended up in the business of human trafficking instead due to the economic downturn after my graduation.

  14. You LOOK like an ideal lawyer. You look like a mastermould for lawyers. That look, great scores and a cartoonish, lawyer-y name def got you into a good law school.

  15. Im really interested in physics but I’m hesitant in majoring in physics because physics is extremely hard and I need really good grades for a top law school ):

  16. There’s no best major. I majored in linguistics and got in. Just work hard, there’s no magic to it.

  17. I'm a science major, but political science got me interested in law also. Mainly this was because i wanted to learn more about society, so i see where you're coming from LegalEagle

  18. I was academically dismissed from Law School after completing two years. My previous Law School has since lost accreditation. What advice do you have for me. I need a higher score, I am a bad test taker. I have taken the LSAT several times my score never hits the mark.

  19. Hey everyone! My names Ian and I’m a student ambassador for Kaplan Test Prep! If you’re taking the LSAT sign up for a free practice LSAT test, study sessions, & get free flash cards using this link!!
    https://www.ownyourprep.com/ian

  20. I think I could have been a good lawyer, in another universe where I was 100 times smarter and 1000 times less lazy.

  21. Hi Legal Eagle, I've been interested in law since undergrad, but I decided to go a different route for my masters and entered the work force before deciding on going to law school. This may be a small question with regards to all the age questions you get but I will be 27 or 28 when I enter law school. Will that preclude me from any big law careers (at least during my first few years while I gain experience practicing law). I really appreciate your input!

  22. california is one of the most expensive places to live in, on earth
    can anyone explain to me, why people are so adamant on staying there?

  23. Funny thing about law is not knowing the law but enforcing the law. I am sick and tired of Congress and the President of the USA saying what they cannot enforce but allowed criminal misconducts and false filings to be enforced. Also a fraudulent name on my home to be enforced. No one wants to hear that crap……

  24. In my country (NZ) you start doing your law degree as soon as you enter university. It seems very strange how in America if you want to be a lawyer you first have to spend 4 years getting a degree in something completely irrelevant. It seems like an absurd waste of time, why be forced to wait so long?

  25. I took a practice lsat at my university with no prep at all and scored 142. Meh. I plan on taking it next year in the fall, a year and a half from now. So I got plenty of time to practice. I want to practice family law(mainly due to personal life experience) and run for office one day.

  26. Something about him says he's a fraud. And it's hard to accept he's a professional if he's mostly doing YouTube reactions instead of using YouTube for advice videos. Reminds me of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

  27. Shoutout to Loyola. They have night law classes and are the main reason I am getting a law degree while being a father with a a full time job

  28. Hello, does anyone know a quick way to pass the logic games section? On my first try I scored 5/23 basically only by guessing, but a 16/25 average on the others. Just want above a 150 to attend a local school. Cheers!

  29. Something similar happened to me: Was wait-listed at Harvard but told that the likelihood of a seat opening up was very low. So, when early acceptance was offered elsewhere, I agreed. About 2 weeks later, I got the call from Cambridge!

  30. I have always loved Law and Order too. Did you ever addictively watch court tv as well??? I LOVED that channel!!!

  31. I'm not preparing for law school (this channel is just prime procrastination material) but I am preparing for the GRE and I want to go to a top city planning program, and the level of intensity you describe for studying for the LSAT sort of scares me. That's the kind of intensity I want to have for the GRE. I'm taking a prep class and the teacher said we should be doing 3 hours a day at minimum for at least two months before taking the GRE. So that's just the baseline we're all competing with.

  32. Wait, so law school is different from college/university? Over here, you go to college for law if you want to be a lawyer.

  33. Is it even worth it to go to Law school in contemporary times ? Won't one be better with a degree in Engineering ? Or even somethint like MIS ?

  34. We bought our son a LSAT test prep book (at Barnes & Noble), which included free access to the publisher's website, with additional practice tests online. He had a single room in a private dorm at UIUC (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and had plenty of quiet time to study as an undergrad, so he did pretty well on his LSATs (haven't memorized the score, though), and was offered admission to all 3 Illinois law schools outside Chicago (UIUC, SIU-Carbondale, and NIU-DeKalb). UIUC offered our son a partial tuition scholarship, but SIU offered him a full-tuition scholarship (plus, he was getting tired of UIUC). He graduated from SIU in 2017, took BarBri over the summer to prep for the bar exam, and was admitted to the state and federal bars that fall. He's been a partner in his dad's law firm ever since. (So at least he was spared job-hunting!)

  35. The American school system is quite baffling to me. So, you need to go to college for 4 years and get a degree in an unrelated subject to then get into law school? Here in Italy you go into a law programme straight after high school, it's a 5-year degree (equivalent to Master's) and after that you can start working while studying to take the bar exam, or any other thing you want to do with your law degree (become a justice, a magistrate, apply for a PhD… etc). I didn't study law so I'm not too precise on the details, but still I don't understand why you'd spend 4 years studying something else if you want to become a lawyer. Odd.

  36. After 32 years in Health Care I have required legal advice hundreds of times.( never once for Med Mal or negligence!) I have met 1.One. attorney, that as a Human I would want to call a friend outside of a business contract. Whether they work for you or against you they are lying. If you seek "Truth and Justice" you will not find it in the " Justice" system. The Law always goes to Who has the most Money.

  37. While you were talking about mock trial, I was trying to figure out where you went for undergrad, and then 2 championships and the coach, that had to be Gonzalo right? A Bruin was the only answer haha

  38. Hey LegalEagle, but what ever happened to the contract you signed? Did you get out of it, was it close enough to UCLA? Inquiring legal minds want to know.

  39. LSAT is digital now; Blueprint is being sued. And the LSAT is weighed heavily because it's an indicator of passing the Bar Exam. The entire point of the law school today is passing the Bar, which means that Law Schools are now Trade Schools. You seem like a nice guy but you're a bit daft and dry. Watch Vei Frey – a Canadian Litigator…..

  40. I’m a 3 year regional winner and state qualifier for mock trial in Texas and I can’t wait to start mock trial in college!

  41. Funny coincidence: The day I was to leave for Tempe, AZ… USC called me to tell me that I was accepted. Sorry, but… if you hate me, I have to hate you. Fight on! 😉

  42. I went to Cornell undergrad, and so I was able to take some of their law school classes while I was still an undergrad.
    I didn't go to law school in the end so I can't compare it with other schools out there. That said, I feel confident that the actual classes I took at Cornell Law are probably = probably no better or worse than any non prestigious public law schools.
    That was certainly true for my undergrad experience!

  43. I couldn’t afford an prep course and I took the lsat twice made a 160 and a 166 just got accepted to Alabama

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