Great Summer Event for Law School Applicants

All Illini are invited to attend the Law Admission Workshop Series. These panel discussions hosted by deans of several law schools (listed below) provide opportunities to learn about the application process as well as specifics about the schools. Plus, it’s a great way to make a face-to-face impression with the people who will be reading your law school applications! The Chicago event will be held July 14th from 6-9 pm and other events will be held in DC, New York, LA, and Atlanta.

Participating Law Schools:
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
Columbia
Cornell
Duke
Georgetown
Harvard
University of Michigan
New York University
Northwestern University
University of Pennsylvania
Stanford
University of Virginia
Yale

For more details and to register, visit http://www.lawadmissionsworkshopseries.com

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After the LSAT: What to do now

You did it! The LSAT is over! Watch a few hours of Netflix. Get a good night’s sleep. Then, get back to the application!

Right about now, most people want to take the next few weeks off before thinking about their applications. Smart applicants will really maximize the remainder of the summer by focusing on the remaining elements of their application so that they can get those applications out early, qualifying them for the most aid. Now it’s time to dive into the rest of your applications.

Planning to retake the Oct LSAT? If so, don’t take too much time off. It is VERY COMMON for retakers to put off their LSAT study until September, pick up their books again, and realize that they’ve lost a lot of ground. If you’re going to retake, make it worth your while by maximizing this time and continuing your commitment to improve your score. By the way, registration is already open for the October LSAT. It is smart to register early to get your preferred test site.

Consider summer law school visits. When do you plan to visit your top choice law schools? Sometimes summer law school visits are easier for students–you may be near the school for the summer, you could be studying abroad during the fall semester, or maybe you know that your fall will be dominated by October LSAT studying and you won’t have much time for visits. Summer law school visits are a good alternative. Granted, most law schools have fewer students around in the summertime, but if now if you have the time now, go ahead and schedule those prospective student visits. Summer visits can also have the advantage of a smaller visitor-to-admissions-staff ratio, allowing for more direct contact with the people who will actually be reading your applications.

Get letters of recommendation. Hopefully, you’ve already got your letter writers lined up. If not, what are you waiting for? You should expect at least 6-8 weeks for your recommender to write the letter, submit it, and for the LSAC to process it. Summer is a GREAT time to approach your letter writers because many people in academia have a lighter schedule than during the academic year. It is highly suggested that students do not wait until September-October to ask for academic letters of rec–this is often the absolute busiest time for professors and can lead to significant delays.

Draft your personal statement. Yep, it’s time to take that energy and time you were focusing on the LSAT and devote it to your personal statement. We also have some tips and suggestions for the personal statement on our website and a helpful handout on our Compass page. We will also continue to host our Personal Statement Workshops this fall, as we do every semester. Spend some time thinking about your values, your goals, and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Then write a draft, set it aside for a few days, and revisit it. Don’t worry if you don’t love the first draft–no one does. Start now so that you can spend at least a month thinking, writing, and editing. When you are ready for some feedback, you can make an appointment for a Pre-Law Advisor to review your personal statement and discuss it with you. (Call 333-9669 to set up a personal statement review appointment. Please email us your statement and resume two business days prior to your appointment so that we have time to review them.)

Order your transcripts. You’ll want to order a transcript from each undergraduate institution you attended. Visit the LSAC here, http://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas/requesting-transcripts, for more information on the transcript ordering process.

Deciding whether and where you’re going to apply early decision. You can only apply to one school through a binding early decision program. It’s time to consider whether you want to choose this option, in which case your early decision application will be due (depending on the school) on November 1, November 15, or December 1–in any case, a deadline you need to know. Applicants should carefully consider this option. In the case of binding early decision programs, you need to decide: how committed are you to this school? How important are scholarships to you? Would you go there even if you had to pay full price? Would you be willing to withdraw all of your other applications if X school admitted you? That is the level of commitment that binding early decision requires. Take some time to research and consider this big decision.

Take a look at our earlier post called “The Application Process: LSAC Tips” for even more application details.

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LSAT Update

We have lots of LSAT news to share today! First up are some reminders for Test Day for those of you taking the LSAT next week. Then we’ll include an update about registration for those of you planning for the October LSAT.

For June LSAT Takers
You’ve been prepping and you’re ready. As you enter the final week of prep, be sure to review the LSAC’s Day of the Test overview here. You may need to prep a few test-day items. Some highlights:

  • Bring valid government ID along with 3-4 No. 2 pencils (not mechanical pencils).
  • You will also need to obtain a passport-style photo for your admission ticket.
  • Remember to bring a snack in a ziploc bag! It’s a long test. You’ll need it.
  • No cell phones–this has been a problem at some test sites! DO NOT BRING YOUR CELL PHONE.
  • Digital watches are not allowed–only analog watches can be used.
  • No purses, backpacks, or earplugs are allowed.

For October LSAT Takers
Registration is now open for the October LSAT and closes August 28. Early registration is recommended so that you can get a seat at your preferred test site. To see future test dates or to register, visit LSAT Dates and Deadlines.

Good luck on your LSAT prepping!

 

 

 

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Questions Regarding Internships/Externships and Clinics

Students entering their 1L year will hear the terms internship, externship, and clinic at some point.  However, not every new student will know what each term means.  Additionally, some of the terms may have slightly different meanings at different schools.  So, it is a good idea to understand what your prospective schools offer before you begin the application process.

In almost every law school, a clinic is a supervised class in which students work on real-world cases.  The clients are usually low-income individuals and the work is done pro bono.  Typically, schools offer clinics in various practice areas and the clinics are reserved for upper level students who qualify for a temporary law license.

Similarly, every school offers its students resources to take part in either internships or externships.  However, the difference between internships and externships is not always clear.  The definitions may be interchangeable at some schools.  Alternatively, some schools may say that internships are paid positions that receive no credit and externships are for-credit only, or vice versa.

Here are some relevant questions to ask about Internships/Externships and Clinics before you begin the application process:

  • Are there differences between externships and internships at this school? If so, what are those differences?
  • Will I receive academic credit for completing an internship/externship? If so, how many credits can I receive from such sources?
  • What resources are available to me so that I can secure an internship/externship?
  • Do you offer clinics? If so, in what practice areas?
  • Is a temporary law license necessary to participate in a clinic?
  • Does the internship/externship or clinic meet any graduation requirements?

The above questions may be answered by visiting a school’s website.  Alternatively, you can email a school directly to inquire about its offerings or do so at an on-campus visit.

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Mark Your Calendars – Week of May 4

PLAS Announcement

Our events have concluded for this semester but we do have a public service announcement.  Fall law school applicants — do not forget to identify and meet with people whom you would like to write letters of recommendation on your behalf BEFORE you leave campus!  If you wait until the fall to make the request(s), you will likely find yourself waiting in line behind others who asked first!  For information on how to solicit letters of recommendation, first go to our webpage, and then to the PLAS Compass Page and check out our “Guide to Letters of Recommendation” in the “Application Pointers” section.

 

Campus Events and Opportunities

UK & Ireland Scholarships Info Session and Application Workshop

Fancy a fully-funded graduate degree at a top British or Irish university? Join us to learn about a group of scholarships that allow you to pursue your academic goals in the United Kingdom and Ireland!

This informational session and application workshop is targeted to juniors, seniors, and graduate or professional students, and will provide an overview of the Gates CambridgeMarshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes scholarships.

When: Thursday, May 7, 3:30-5:00pm
Where: 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building (entrance near Coble Hall)

We will discuss the:
• basic eligibility requirements,
• selection criteria, and
• application processes for these awards.

The University of Illinois’ newest Marshall Scholar, Jacob Calvert, will be on hand to share his application experience!

The latter portion of the event will help participants begin to craft their applications for these scholarships. This is a great opportunity to strategize and get feedback on your ideas for your application essays. The priority deadline for the Marshall and Gates Cambridge scholarships is June 1, 2015, and the required campus deadline for many of the UK/Ireland scholarships is August 25, 2015, so now is the time to get started!

Questions? Send an email to topscholars@illinois.edu.  For more information, go to: http://www.topscholars.illinois.edu/.

 

Other Opportunities

The law firm of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. is currently accepting applications for its Fellowship for Advancement and Resources (“FAR”).  Snell & Wilmer names up to two FAR Fellows annually, and recipients receive the following benefits: (1) a fully paid commercial LSAT preparation course and a stipend covering the costs associated with sitting for the exam, (2) a 1L law school prep course, (3) money for books for all three years of law school, (4) a technology stipend (if needed), and (5) mentorship from a Snell & Wilmer attorney. This pipeline initiative will have a meaningful and lasting impact for FAR Fellows, and Snell & Wilmer are excited to continue the program this year.

A link to the application, which explains the FAR Fellowship in greater detail can be found hereApplications are due July 1, 2015. Any questions can be directed to Kara Blakely via e-mail at kblakey@swlaw.com.

 

Have a great week and study hard – the end is in sight!

 

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June LSAT Test Takers Checklist

The June LSAT is Monday, June 8, which is only five and a half weeks away.  What should you be doing both now and on the day of the exam?  The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) provides the following checklist.  As always, if you have any questions about LSAC’s requirements contact them directly at (215) 968-1001 or by completing an online form which can be found here.

Now or as soon as possible:
  1. Check your ID –
    • Is it an acceptable government-issued ID as stipulated at LSAC.org and on the LSAT Candidate Information Sheet (pages 3-5)?
    • Is it current (or has it expired within 90 days of your test)?
    • Does it contain a recent, recognizable photo?
    • Does it contain your date of birth?
    • Do your first and last names match the names on your LSAT Admission Ticket and your ID exactly? Corrections must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM (ET) on the Friday before the test.
  2. Obtain a passport-type photo (no larger than 2×2 inches or 5×5 cm and no smaller  than 1×1 inch or 3×3 cm). The photo must be a different photograph than the one on your government-issued ID. You will not be admitted if the photo on the admission ticket is the same as the photo on your ID.

One week before the test:

  1. Obtain a clear, plastic ziplock bag (maximum size 1 gallon/3.79 liters) to contain the allowable items.  Go here for LSAC’s list of allowable items.
  2. Update your email and mailing addresses if necessary at LSAC.org.
 The day before your scheduled test:
  1. Print an updated LSAT Admission Ticket from your online account to ensure that you  have the final and correct reporting address for the test center.
  2. Check the school’s website and print directions and a campus map.
  3. Review the list of items allowed in the ziplock bag. Read pages 3–5 of the LSAT  Candidate Information Sheet and read the Test Center Regulations at LSAC.org.
Test day:
  1. Report to the test center no later than the reporting time indicated on your LSAT Admission Ticket. Take only page 1 of the Admission Ticket to the test center. Leave this checklist and pages 3–5 at home.
  2. Do not take any prohibited items or electronic devices (including cell phones) to the test center. Possession and/or use of such items is grounds for immediate dismissal from the test.
  3. For more information or a copy of this LSAC-crafted checklist, go here:  http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/lsat-checklist.pdf
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Mark Your Calendars – Week of April 27

PLAS Announcement

Our events have concluded for this semester but we do have a public service announcementFall law school applicants — do not forget to identify and meet with people whom you would like to write letters of recommendation on your behalf BEFORE you leave campus!  If you wait until the fall to make the request(s), you will likely find yourself waiting in line behind others who asked first!  For information on how to solicit letters of recommendation, first go to our webpage, and then to the PLAS Compass Page and check out our “Guide to Letters of Recommendation” in the “Application Pointers” section.

Campus Events and Opportunities

Career Center Workshops – Unless otherwise indicated, all workshops are held at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright Street. For more information or to register, click here.

  • Creating Powerful Resumes and Cover Letters,Tuesday, April 28, 5-6pm
  • Careers in the Federal Government, Wednesday, April 29, 4-5pm

 

UK & Ireland Scholarships Info Session and Application Workshop

Fancy a fully-funded graduate degree at a top British or Irish university? Join us to learn about a group of scholarships that allow you to pursue your academic goals in the United Kingdom and Ireland!

This informational session and application workshop is targeted to juniors, seniors, and graduate or professional students, and will provide an overview of the Gates Cambridge, Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes scholarships.

When: Thursday, May 7, 3:30-5:00pm
Where: 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building (entrance near Coble Hall)

We will discuss the:
• basic eligibility requirements,
• selection criteria, and
• application processes for these awards.

The University of Illinois’ newest Marshall Scholar, Jacob Calvert, will be on hand to share his application experience!

The latter portion of the event will help participants begin to craft their applications for these scholarships. This is a great opportunity to strategize and get feedback on your ideas for your application essays. The priority deadline for the Marshall and Gates Cambridge scholarships is June 1, 2015, and the required campus deadline for many of the UK/Ireland scholarships is August 25, 2015, so now is the time to get started!

Questions? Send an email to topscholars@illinois.edu.  For more information, go to: http://www.topscholars.illinois.edu/.

 

Other Opportunities

The law firm of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. is currently accepting applications for its Fellowship for Advancement and Resources (“FAR”).  Snell & Wilmer names up to two FAR Fellows annually, and recipients receive the following benefits: (1) a fully paid commercial LSAT preparation course and a stipend covering the costs associated with sitting for the exam, (2) a 1L law school prep course, (3) money for books for all three years of law school, (4) a technology stipend (if needed), and (5) mentorship from a Snell & Wilmer attorney. This pipeline initiative will have a meaningful and lasting impact for FAR Fellows, and Snell & Wilmer are excited to continue the program this year.

A link to the application, which explains the FAR Fellowship in greater detail can be found here. Applications are due July 1, 2015. Any questions can be directed to Kara Blakely via e-mail at kblakey@swlaw.com.

 

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Looking for a summer course?

Pre-Law students come from every major and have a wide variety of interests. Law schools have no specific prerequisites beyond having a Bachelor’s degree and building writing, research, communication, and analytical skills. If you’re a pre-law student looking for a summer course, here are some options that may interest you. NO SPECIFIC CLASSES ARE REQUIRED FOR LAW SCHOOL AND THESE ARE ONLY SUGGESTIONS. Check out Course Explorer for more options.

PHIL 102  Summer Session I
Instructor:  Professor T. McCarthy, tgmccart@illinois.edu
This is the standard introduction to logic and critical thinking taken by both philosophy majors and by students that require a background in basic logic for other fields.  This course will emphasize the concepts, methods and examples that have become increasingly relevant to pre-professional training for law and medicine and for the social sciences.  The LSAT exam has long emphasized problems requiring special sorts of inference (causal inference, statistical inference, truth-functional and analogical inference, in particular) relevant to legal study.

Special stress will be put on substantive examples from recent health, science and environmental policy, including inferences surrounding the issue of climate change and arguments concerning vaccination.  Requirements:  Daily assignments, discussed cooperatively in class, and 4 tests, one at the end of each week.  The homework and exam problems will be taken in part from LSAT and MCAT sample exams.

Psych and Law (Psych 468), Summer Session II 
Prerequisite: Six hours of social science. In this class, we will discuss issues at the interface of psychology and the law. We will cover topics such as age, gender and race discrimination, eyewitness memory, polygraph testing, interrogations and false confessions.

UP335: Cities and Immigrants (online) Summer II
This course introduces students to the experiences of foreign-born residents living in U.S. cities, towns, and rural communities. We examine the local policies that both welcome and integrate immigrants as well as those policies that restrict and exclude immigrants. By the end of the course, students will better understand the reasons for anti-immigrant backlash, the economic opportunities of immigration, and ways in which immigrants claim their right to the city. Students will have the option to participate in several half-day field trips in the Chicago area. Watch the video for more information. https://mediaspace.illinois.edu/media/UP+335+Online+-+Informational+Video/1_ioktgjvn/9425781

Popular Political Science classes for pre-law students offered this summer

  • PS 301: US Constitution I, Summer I
  • PS 280: Intro to International Relations,Summer II
  • PS 303: United States Congress, Summer II
  • PS 305: United States Supreme Court, Summer II

Popular Communication classes for pre-law students offered this summer

  • CMN 211: Business Communication, offered Summer I and Summer II
  • CMN 220: Communicating Public Policy, Summer II
  • CMN 230: Intro to Interpersonal Communication, Summer I

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Check out Course Explorer for more details and to explore all of the Summer I and II course options.

 

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of April 20

Pre-Law Advising

We have one workshop left for this semester: Perfecting the Personal Statement & Resume for Law School, which will be held TODAY, Monday, April 20 at 4:00 in 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. Join us to learn what the personal statement is; how to approach it; how to create a realistic timeline for writing it; how the personal statement and resume work together; suggestions and tips for maximizing the impact of the personal statement as part of the application.

Also, we have updated our Compass page to add lots of resources for fall law school applicants to utilize over the summer. Here’s how to access our Compass page if you haven’t already: http://prelaw.illinois.edu/compass

MORE Summer Pre-Law Opportunities!

We’ve already posted lots of summer pre-law opportunities here and on our Facebook page, and here are a few more that we’ve recently been informed about.

Pre-Law & Order: The Summer Advocates Academy is a pre-professional program May 26-29 for undergraduate women. Held at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, this program is designed for pre-law women to receive coaching and mentoring from faculty, lawyers, and legal professionals, as well as networking with successful women attorneys and learning more about the law school applicaiton process. Housing and scholarships are available. Applications are due May 1 and can be found at http://www.carlow.edu/Pre-Law_and_Order_-_The_Summer_Advocates.aspx

Reminder: Snell & Wilmer is once again offering its prelaw program called Fellowship for Advancement and Resources.Applications for the Fellowship for Advancement and Resources are open!

The FAR Fellowship is sponsored by Snell & Wilmer, with two FAR Fellows being selected annually. Recipients receive the following benefits: (1) a fully paid commercial LSAT preparation course and a stipend covering the costs associated with sitting for the exam, (2) a 1L law school prep course, (3) money for books for all three years of law school, (4) a technology stipend (if needed), and (5) mentorship from a Snell & Wilmer attorney. We believe this pipeline initiative will have a meaningful and lasting impact for FAR Fellows, and we are excited to continue the program this year.  Indeed, we have already assisted four fellows in their quest to attend law school.  Below is a link to the application on our website, which explains the FAR Fellowship in greater detail. Applications are due July 1, 2015.

http://www.swlaw.com/assets/pdf/diversity/far_scholarship.pdf

Career Center’s Summer Break Job Shadow Program

The Career Center’s Summer Break Job Shadow Program is a one-day commitment over Summer Session I (between May 18-June 12, 2015). The Job Shadow Program is open to ALL MAJORS and will include a variety of industries in different locations. Students must graduate after December 2015 to be able to participate.

To find and apply to a Job Shadow opportunity, use the “Advanced Search” tab in I-Link and click on “Show Me…Job Shadow Listings”. Applications will be accepted from Friday, April 17 – Thursday, April 23.

For more detailed information, view the Job Shadow Program Student Handbook. Still have questions? Please contact Tori Spring.

This week’s Career Center workshops include:

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Paralegal Certificates: A Path to Law School?

A paralegal position can be helpful because it will allow you to “get your feet wet” and learn some tangible, transferable skills.  Such a position will also allow you to see the practice of law first-hand before deciding whether the field is the right fit for you. Moreover, law school admission departments and hiring partners at law firms will see the experience as a positive aspect of your resume.  Working as a paralegal (or anything else) prior to law school will not make up for poor grades or low LSAT scores, but it may offer a better chance at admission in some cases.  Some schools, such as Harvard and Northwestern, view work experience as nearly a prerequisite to admission.

Deciding whether to pursue a paralegal certificate prior to law school is an additional decision that requires serious contemplation.  A certification in paralegal studies can cost thousands of dollars in tuition as well as months of additional schooling.  The debt accrued in terms of time and money may not be worth the investment for someone who is not considering a paralegal position as a possible career path in itself.  Moreover, the costs associated with a paralegal certificate may not be necessary because some law firms are willing to hire job-seekers for paralegal positions without a certification.

Going straight from undergraduate to a paralegal position without any law firm experience can prove difficult, but that is not the only available option.  One non-conventional path to becoming a paralegal is to take a job at a law firm as either an assistant or another similar administrative role.  This will allow you to learn how the firm works and what is required of its paralegals.  During your time at the firm you can speak with current paralegals about their responsibilities and make clear your intentions to join their ranks.  With such knowledge and experience in hand, you can apply for a paralegal position within the firm or elsewhere.  The issue with this path is time.  Often a transition of this type may take at least a couple of years.  If you foresee yourself applying to law school within a year of graduation, the paralegal route may not be the best option.

Becoming a paralegal can have many advantages in terms of learning the legal industry, developing tangible skills and becoming more attractive to certain law schools.  Additionally, if you are on the fence about applying to law school, working as a paralegal will give you first-hand knowledge of the field, while also allowing you to save up for tuition expenses.  Working prior to law school can be a valuable asset for your career, but it is not required at all law schools.  If you are not sure whether to work for a period of time prior to law school, speak with friends and family or check with schools you are interested in to see how highly they value work experience.

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