Law Students Angle for Politics

Mar 7, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

In the post-election uptick of a more politically involved constituency, it’s not surprising to learn that 53 percent of law students aspire to participate in politics in their career.  According to a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep, that number has increased from 38 percent just five years ago in 2012.   

Currently, 35 percent of all Congressional members hold law degrees, and about half of all US governors graduated from law school.  While the numbers aren’t surprising, students’ attitudes are.

Some law students, though, are hesitant to talk about their political aspirations in their law school applications—46 percent said they’d probably not discuss their political beliefs in their applications.

Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep said, “Law school has long been a bullpen of aspiring politicians, and we think the recent election showed many students of all political persuasions how important it is to stay involved and stand up for what you believe.” 

He added, “When it comes to expressing political beliefs in your law school personal statement, we advise applicants to do it only when you can do a good job of weaving together your personal narrative and career goals. For instance, if you want to go into public interest law, by all means, talk about your college internship in the governor’s office or your canvassing job for an advocacy group. But just to spout your political opinions with no larger goal may alienate admissions officers who don’t agree with you or who think you didn’t use your personal statement wisely. It can show poor judgment.”

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Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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