Should I go to Law School?
JD is often a preferred requisite on fundraising and executive leadership positions in the nonprofit sector. Three of our first seven guests on Asking For Good considered law school and one attended. Your first question may be, do I really need a JD for nonprofit positions? That is a hard no (anyone catch the Schitt’s Creek reference?). A JD can distinguish you from other applicants and the training in law school will improve your communication skills.
Blake Johnson enjoys a successful career in nonprofit fundraising and is glad he has a JD. He says law school is a great challenge for anyone and will make you stronger in any career. The commitment for law school is big. Aside from three arduous years of reading and work, tuition can mean a six-figure loan. Blake encourages you to first explore if law school is best for you and then do the research to find the best law school for you.
Three big things for answering, should I go to law school?
- Take the LSAT. Are you a good standardized test taker? If not, it may be time to reconsider.
- Apply to ALL the schools that send you a fee waiver, they are targeting your demographic. They will have better scholarship opportunities for you.
- While you may be ready to do the work, is your family on board with the sacrifices you’ll be making?
If you’ve decided you will go to law school, Blake says, “It’s a great idea to consider law schools where faculty and programs match your passions. They are not all created equal!” He offers his post-law school experience as a Social Justice Fellow at Society of American Law Teachers helping promote social justice in legal academia as a prime place to begin your research for the right law school for you. The organization engages a unique community of social justice-oriented law professors and deans who consequently, teach with and lead law schools that befit nonprofit professionals dedicated to social justice issues. Check out this podcast library for some interesting materials from their membership.
The decision to go to law school is pivotal. Here’s a synopsis of how one law school graduate applies his law degree in the nonprofit sector. Blake used his law degree to do fundraising for a human rights nonprofit with many attorneys on staff. Law school gave him the chance to serve on a national nonprofit board. He is effusive in his praise for the professors who taught him. He uses writing, researching, and public speaking skills he mastered in law school on a daily basis in his work and volunteer roles.