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Choosing your first, second and third choices in law schools is the easy part; getting acceptance into your first three choices, or, for that matter, you’re tenth, twentieth and beyond, is a bit more difficult. We asked A. Harrison Barnes, founder, for his insight. Keep reading – you just might learn something new.

As with all things in life, says Barnes, you get back what you put into it. Your work to get into law school begins long before you even graduate high school. It’s all about studying and then studying more. Your LSATs and GPAs are probably the most important consideration college boards look at, but they’re certainly not the only factors that go into the equation. Also, says the, this is no time for procrastination. You really should apply early. Don’t let rolling admissions weaken your resolve, especially if scholarships are part of the equation.

While the recession has few silver linings, one of them is a restructuring of financial options for those wishing to attend law school. Your good credit can easily serve as the bridge that covers the expense of getting your degree. The government has many opportunities that are flexible in repayment options. Even better is if you agree to contribute so many years to the public interest sector, you might qualify for having your debt eliminated in its entirety.

It’s crucial, says A. Harrison Barnes, to have a really good idea on which specialty you’ll pursue. Those that offer the best future income potential include financial law (including bankruptcies), regulatory and compliance (think BP and oil spill) areas and of course, environmental issues. Don’t choose your area of specialty for the income potential alone, cautions Barnes. Ideally, your choice will be one that you really want to make a difference in.

Remember to not get discouraged. Life is tough and according to some, law school is even tougher. Keep in mind too, just as with all careers, you have to make a name for yourself. You don’t start out making a million a year and if you set up shop in a small rural town, you’re not going to make as much as you would in say, Washington DC or New York City. According to the Bureau of Labor Stats, starting salaries are lower for those entering the job market in 2010 and 2011. Some say the percentages are as much as 5%.

Regardless of the hard work and the sacrifices law students make, it’s always worth it. Becoming a lawyer is a career many use as a catalyst to do good works for their communities and to make a difference. Never let the sacrifices stand in your way, says the founder. Make up your mind, take a step forward and then another. Before you know it, those steps will be made across an auditorium as your name is called out to received your degree.

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