Pre-Law Advising at Bowdoin

Bowdoin provides students and alumni with a full range of advising services for those planning to apply to law school or considering a legal career. 
For questions regarding academic coursework and law school, please meet with Professor Allen Springer or Professor Maron Sorenson. For support during the application process and questions about pre-law in general, including internships and employment before law school, sschedule an appointment with Pre-Law Advisor Nancy Gibson, at CXD through Handshake. CXD presents a variety of workshops, programs, and information sessions throughout the year to help you learn about legal careers and the law school admission process. Stay up to date by signing up for the CXD Law Newsletter. Simply fill out your Career Interests in your Handshake account and check “Legal and Law Enforcement” under Career Interests or scan the QR code at the bottom of the page. Be sure to check Handshake’s “Events” tab and Campus Groups for events. 
Nancy Gibson
Pre-Law Advisor and Director of Career Advising
Career Exploration and Development 
Moulton Union, First Floor   
Schedule an appointment through Handshake

Professor Allen Springer 
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Constitutional and International Law & Government 
Hubbard Hall 301 
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-2:00 and by appointment 

Professor Maron Sorenson 
Assistant Professor of Government 
Hubbard Hall 205 

Explore & Prepare

People become lawyers for many different reasons. For some, a career in law allows them to use their skills in communication, writing, reasoning, critical thinking, analysis, research, problem-solving, advocacy, helping others, and persuasion on a regular basis. Some are drawn to law for the intellectual complexity of a particular practice area (type of law), or the opportunity to help people, improve the world, advocate on behalf of the underrepresented or to influence the course of events. To learn about different types of legal practice and what lawyers do, check out LSAC’s free LawHub account featuring the “I Am the Law” podcast as well as other information about legal fields, legal education, and the application process. Most importantly, talk with lawyers and law students to understand how they spend their time and whether you can see yourself on a similar path. There are many alumni lawyers and law students eager to speak with you. Find them on the Bowdoin Alumni Networking List, LinkedIn, and the Alumni Directory.  Complete your Handshake profile and submit your Career Interests to receive the Law newsletter highlighting internships, jobs, and events related to law school and legal careers. Check out volunteer opportunities in the community offered by The McKeen Center and also the events and internship funding offered by CXD and the Bowdoin Public Service Initiative. To see a list of law-related internships, and find out what Bowdoin grads have done between college and law school, see the Resource tab. 

Applying to law school is an expensive proposition and the investment to attend law school is substantial. A year at a private law school can cost as much or more as a year at Bowdoin. Lawyers work in a variety of setting from BigLaw (large national or global firms located in major metro areas) to smaller or medium-sized firms, government agencies, courts, public interest organizations, non-profits (like museums, universities, and hospitals) and businesses. Not all lawyers make 6-figure incomes. According to the National Association for Law Placement, “… in smaller firms, which account for about half of the jobs taken in law firms, salaries of $60,000-85,000 were typical. Likewise, public service jobs — those in government, public interest organizations, and as judicial clerks — continue to offer relatively low starting salaries, with medians of $64,000, $55,000, and $60,000, respectively for the Class of 2020.” Before committing to this path: 

  • Thoroughly research and reflect upon why you want to attend law school (hopefully not because you want to avoid looking for a job your senior year),  
  • What do you intend to do with your law degree (do you want to be licensed to practice law? If not, perhaps you can pursue a different graduate program, or take some courses without matriculating).  
  • Where do you want to practice? Two thirds of lawyers end up practicing in the state where they attend law school.  

Many advisees have told me that the time it takes to apply to law school is equivalent to taking an additional class! That is why so many Bowdoin graduates wait to apply until after graduation when they are better able to balance the competing demands the application process places on them. Waiting one year or three will not have any noticeable effect on the trajectory of your legal career. Salaries and expected hours can vary widely and legal work requires painstaking, sometimes tedious attention to detail. The toll that law school and lawyering can take on an individual’s emotional well-being are well-documented in the literature. Although much has been done by law schools to provide support, much remains to be done. Are you ready? Take the time that you need to explore your options. Sample some of CXD’s events and offerings, and you will be able to make an informed decision about your career. 


Timeline for Law School Applications 

Law School Application Components 

MAX Estimate Your Pre-Law School Costs (You will be prompted to log in/register with AccessLex to access this document.)

Fee Waivers: Applicants may apply for a fee waiver for the cost of the LSAT and CAS registration from the Law School Admission Council. Some waivers include the price of -law school reports and test preparation resources. Many law schools will waive the application fees for LSAC fee waiver recipients. Learn about Fee Waivers for LSAC Programs and Services.



The Law School Admission Test (“LSAT”) is a half-day standardized test published by the Law School Admission Council (“LSAC”) and administered 8 times per year. Currently, the test may be taken on your own laptop, in a quiet, private space and proctored remotely, or in a testing center. 

Learn more about the LSAT and how to prepare.

Financing a Legal Education

The cost of tuition and fees (not including rent and living expenses) per year averages about $28,500 for state residents at a public institution, approximately $42,000 for out-of-state residents at a public institution and approximately $50,000 per year at a private institution. In addition, you need to consider a law school's Cost of Attendance (COA). The American Bar Association (ABA) requires that each law school publish their COA. This is a school’s estimate of the total cost, beyond just tuition and fees, and includes cost of living, transportation, and some personal expenses for the 9-month academic year. When you compare the cost of a legal education at different schools, look at the COA, not just the tuition and fees. 

Learn more about financing a legal education.


Please email Nancy Gibson for access to the following lists:

  • Law Related Summer Internships 
  • Jobs held by Bowdoin Grads before Law School
  • Law Schools Attended by Bowdoin Grads 

AccessLex an essential resource for interactive lessons, webinars, worksheets, checklists, and free one-on-one financial strategy coaching offered by a well-respected, qualified organization. And it’s all free! 

Law School Wizard (home of LST on LSAC website)—the go-to site for researching schools as well as coming up with your application strategy. It will even estimate your anticipated scholarship and admissions chances based upon the info you provide. You much create a free LSAC account to use.  
Law School Admissions Council publisher of the LSAT, portal you much use to submit your application components and apply to law school, a clearinghouse for all the pieces of the application process. 
LawHub account featuring the “I Am the Law” podcast as well as other information about legal fields, legal education, and the application process.