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3 November 2009

Law internships may be unnecessary for admissions

A commonly held belief among those trying to get into law school is that working or interning in the legal profession is a must.

However, a recent Kaplan Test Prep Admissions Survey shows this might not be the case.

In the survey, admissions officers at 152 law schools were asked whether legal experience offers great advantage, some advantage, or no advantage whatsoever.

While four percent responded that legal experience offers “great advantage,” nearly 20 percent reported that it gives applicants “no advantage at all.”

“What’s clear from our survey is that admissions officers continue to consider an applicant’s LSAT score to be the most important admissions factor, followed by undergraduate GPA, the personal statement, letters of recommendation and professional experience,” Howard Bell, executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, said in the report.

So how important is professional law experience for University of Miami law school applicants?

“Experience at a law firm or other legal-related internship can’t hurt an applicant and, if nothing else, it gives you an insight into what it’s like to practice law,” said Rachel Papeika, an officer of admissions at the UM School of Law.

This was true for first-year UM law student Nickeah Cohenit.

“It was a terrible experience for me, and forced me to reevaluate why I wanted to go into this career.”