Law + Government

Serve the Public Good

icon of justice scales for careers in law + government

Are you driven to defend or change our laws? You’re not alone.

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants. 

With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.



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Did You Know?

50 to 66 percent of law school applicants have taken at least one year off after their undergraduate studies. 



Contrary to some beliefs, gap years can enhance your law school applications, and your overall career.

Gap Years: Between UCSB and Law School

To work as a lawyer, graduating from law school is necessary. However, as you approach junior year at UCSB, and law school deadlines approach quickly, you will need to decide whether or not to enter law school immediately after graduating from UCSB. 

There is a myth that law schools perceive gap years negatively, however law schools will not look at you any differently, as long as you are remaining productive during your time. When writing your personal statement, your gap year should provide additional meaning to your life, whether it is from travelling, gaining experience, or working in a different field. Speak with a Career Counselor or Pre-Law Advisor to create your own gap year plan that will be meaningful to you.


Gap Year Options

What you do in your gap year is completely up to you. Law schools are not overly concerned with what you do during this time, as long as you are making progress.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Travel the world or teach English abroad
  • Join service organizations such as Teach for America, City Year, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps
  • Volunteer for a cause close to your heart, while building valuable skills and demonstrating commitment to service
  • Work in the legal field to gain experience and confirm that law is for you (however, recognize that working in the legal field does not make you a better law candidate)
  • Work in a non-legal job to experience other career paths


Benefits of Gap Year(s)

Here are some of the many benefits associated with taking a gap year:

  • Clarify reasons for going to law school.
  • Allow your spring grades to be included as part of overall GPA which can give you a boost.
  • Make connections with recommenders if you did not get to know your professors well enough.
  • Take a break from school to refresh before going back (as you probably will not get another “gap” year again!)
  • Earn money to pay for school.
  • Spend more time studying for the LSAT and preparing application materials.


Considerations of Gap Year(s)

There are also some considerations when taking a gap year, such as:

  • Make sure you are making “meaningful” use of your gap year, without losing sight of the end goal.
  • Make an effort to remain connected with faculty recommendation writers.


There is no right or wrong time to apply to law school; it is best to apply when the time is right for you, with the strongest application!

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