Leena Hussain
Indiana University: Class of 2025
B.A. International Law and Institutions 

Choosing to go to law school is a weighty decision for a number of reasons. There are financial concerns, concerns about success and interest, and ambiguity about the experience itself. As an undergraduate looking to go to law school, these worries weigh heavy on my mind. Like many, I often wonder what law school is like. What does lecture look like? How hard are classes and grading? How much reading is there really?

These contemplations require unique insights that may not come easily. Information for post graduate education can be hard to obtain if one does not know who to ask and where to look. How do we give undergraduates the opportunity to see, firsthand, the reality of law school? Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and the Maurer School of Law have partnered to grant pre-law students just this. In a class called Espionage and International Law, I sit with undergraduates and law students to study the legality of espionage globally. The class was created to provide a comprehensive experience with the rigor, cold calling, and grading that one often sees in law classes.

Undergraduates should be granted the opportunity to deeply explore the reality of law school. Getting these insights provide students the tools to prepare financially and mentally. Moreover, early insight will lead to more successful law students. The better prepared prospective students are, the better they will do in law school, resulting in stronger lawyers in the field.

There may be large disparities in knowing where to look. The 2020 LSSSE report notes only a small increase in the demographic changes of minorities within law schools. Black, Asian, and Latinx groups saw their numbers go up only a few percent since 2004. While this is commendable growth, it can be better. Perhaps if these groups had more resources and insights on the law school experience, there would be more of these students in the field.

Classes like my espionage one are not the only way pre-law students can get exposure. Many law schools provide detailed overviews of what to expect in law classes. Penn State’s Pre-Law Advising website, for example, provides resources that detail lecture methods, the curriculum, exams, and grading. Undergraduates can also look for pre-law advisors or law professionals on their campuses for insights. These mentors can walk students through the admissions process as well as give advice for classes. Moreover, students can gain insights on the law through working at firms. JD Advising notes that working before going to law school familiarizes students to the legal world by giving them exposure to legal jargon, processes, and networks.

The groundwork exists, but there is still work to do in enabling all pre-law students to gain exposure to law school. Universities across the country can offer classes like my espionage class, develop stronger pre-law advising programs, and create comprehensive resources with insider information. While it is understandable to keep the field competitive, failing to address the hurdles that undergraduates may face in exploring law school is not. The decision to go law school is weighty, however, we can lighten the load by opening the experience.