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What skills do I need?

Most lawyers read, write, and conduct legal research almost every day of their careers.  The following core skills, values, knowledge, and experience are essential to succeed in law school and the practice of law: 

  • Problem solving
  • Critical reading
  • Writing and editing
  • Oral communication and listening
  • Research
  • Organization and management
  • Public service and promotion of justice
  • Relationship-building and collaboration
  • Background knowledge
  • Exposure to the law

From American Bar Association, Preparing for Law School – review for more details regarding these skills.

As you review this list, consider whether these are the types of activities you want to engage in on a daily basis in your career. Are you strong in each of these areas? Are you weak in any or most of these areas? While you may still have time to continue to develop these skills in college or to hone one of them, if you do not enjoy these activities or have a strong foundation in these skills, law school may not be the best fit for you.

Katherine E. Garren, J.D.
Pre-Law Adviser
Division of Undergraduate Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
101 Grange Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-7576
Fax: 814-863-8913
Hours: 8am - 5pm (Mon-Fri, Eastern Time)

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