By: Darian Diepholz – Behavioral Sciences & Health Education
When I began my practicum as a BSHE student, I was introduced to this new concept of health law. Working for the Georgia Department of Public Health, I met with directors and the general counsel whom had their J.D. and realized that was my place within public health. Now, I am a second year about to graduate Rollins and head to Saint Louis University (SLU) to pursue my J.D. with a health law concentration. I want to finish law school and potentially work in the attorney general’s office with fraud cases.
Choosing to go onto law school was not easy and required a lot of time and effort during my summer and fall of second year. Students who want to pursue a J.D. upon graduation need to be aware of the time it takes to study for the LSAT. I chose to treat the LSAT like a job and scheduled time in each week to study. I had friends who were taking the LSAT or MCAT as well and we were able to group together to provide emotional support. It is key to make sure you do not let the stress of school and applying get the best of you. Also, if you know early enough that you want to go to law school take the LSAT in the summer and try to complete as much as you can before school starts back to decrease stress.
Beyond that, you have to allow your professors ample time to write letter of recommendations because their schedules are quite busy. Overall, it took me 4 months of studying for the LSAT and 3 months of application prep before everything was complete and sent. I chose to use one professor from Rollins and one from my undergrad when applying. A useful tip: think about using your wonderful personal statement to get into Rollins and editing it instead of working hours to create a new one. Your purpose of public health is the same and just has to be related back to health law.
No matter what concentration you are in at Rollins, I would suggest taking the policy or law courses provided. I personally like healthcare administration law because the class gives you a basis for everything you learn the first year of law school. Remember that most people go to law school with no background or experience, so don’t stress about taking classes if your schedule doesn’t allow.
I want to end with saying, while I decided law school was the next step for me to achieve my goals in health law, that does not have to be the case for everyone. There are jobs one can do in health law with only having a Masters from Rollins such as lobbying for organizations. I would talk to the HPM professors, the career services, and your advisors if you are interested in pursuing a J.D. They can aid with application, classes, support, and more.
I hope this gives you some helpful tips for navigating Rollins with law school in mind!