December Snapshot

End of Semester Wrap-Up!

December is finally here and with it the end of the semester! Our best wishes as you complete your end of semester tasks,  prepare for finals, and set goals for winter break!

Below please see a list of important dates, upcoming events, and reminders for December 2021!

December 1: Law Chat Live @ Noon: Strategies for Spring Application Success. Click here for more information.

December 1: PS 392 (International Organizations and Regionalism) Study Abroad Information Session at 12:00 pm in Lincoln Hall 1027 or via Zoom. Click here to learn more about the program!

December 2: AccessLex Webinar“Choosing a Law School” at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

December 2: Registration Deadline: LSAC December Digital Law School Forum. Click here to register.

December 2: Harvard Law Information Session with First Class Law Students Association, an affinity group for first-gen and low-income law students, at 6:00 pm. Click here to register.

December 3: LSAT Registration Deadline: January 2022 LSAT.

December 3: University of Houston Law Center: Pre-Law Pipeline Program Information Session at 12:00 pm. To learn more about the program, click here. Info Session Zoom link

December 3: Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies: “How Might Transitional Justice Lead to Community Restoration?” presentation with Professor Chungmoo Choi via Zoom. Click here to register.

December 4: LSAC: December Digital Law School Forum. Click here for more information. Register by December 2nd!

December 6: Women’s Resources Center: Dish It Up Series- “Home for the Holidays- Navigating New and Old Relationships Over Winter Break” Illini Union 210 General Lounge at 12:00 pm.

December 7: University of Chicago Law School: Admissions Webinar at 12:00 pm. Click here to register.

December 7: UIUC Counseling Center: Workshop-“#FinishStrongIllinois: Preparing for Finals”, Lincoln Hall 1092 at 7:00 pm.

December 8: Last Day of Instruction, Fall Semester.

December 8: University of Miami School of Law: Admissions 101 Information Session (virtual) at 7:00 pm. Click here to register.

December 9: Reading Day.

December 9: Loyola University Chicago School of Law: JD Virtual Information Session at 6:00 pm. Register here!

December 9: AccessLex Webinar– “Building Your Law School Budget” at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

December 9: Final Exam Period Begins – Good Luck!

December 13: University of Houston Law Center: Pre-Law Pipeline Program Information Session at 12:00 pm. To learn more about the program, click here. Info Session Zoom link

December 14: AccessLex Webinar“Applying to Law School” at 2:00 pm. Click here for more information.

December 15: AccessLex Webinar“Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students” at 5:00 pm. Click here for more information.

December 16: AccessLex Webinar“Paying for Law School” at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information. 

December 17: University of Illinois College of Law: Prospective Student Webinar- “How Does Illinois Law Assist Students? Discussing Academic, Administrative, and Alumni Supports” at 12:00 pm. Click here for more information.

December 17: Final Exam Period Ends – Have a safe and enjoyable winter break!

December 19: Winter Session Course Add/Drop (100% refund) Deadline.

December 20: First Day of Instruction, Winter Session.

December 29:  LSAT Registration Deadline: February 2022 LSAT.

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Alumni Attorney Talks

Alumni Attorney Talks is a virtual series which aims to provide prospective law students helpful insights about attending law school and pursuing a legal career. This series features interviews with University of Illinois alumni working in a variety of diverse settings within the legal profession.

FEATURING:  Justice Rita B. Garman

Justice Rita B. Garman, Supreme Court of Illinois

Justice Garman is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court representing the Fourth District.  Learn more about Justice Garman and the Supreme Court of Illinois online!

 

Law School:  University of Iowa College of Law

UIUC Undergraduate Major: Economics

Justice Garman’s Three Words to Describe the Legal Profession:

Challenging | Fulfilling | Inspiring 

Be sure to check out this insightful interview!

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Wellness + Professionalism

Wellness has many important dimensions...

But…You may wonder what wellness has to do with law school?

In fact, taking a careful approach to wellness will not only help you succeed personally and in both college and law school, but is essential to being a successful legal professional.

Law students and lawyers live very busy, and at times, very stressful lives. They are expected to maintain high levels of personal and professional behavior, even in the face of time pressure and stress. Keeping your body in good shape is an essential first step in managing a busy, stressful schedule, but other skill sets need to be included in your wellness routines to help ensure your short and long-term success as a student and professional.  Successfully studying law and becoming a legal professional means that you have attend to other forms of wellness as well.

In recent years, efforts have been made to examine the overall well-being of the legal profession.  As a result, we now have a much greater understanding of the direct connection between the state of individual wellness to issues within the legal profession.  These issues include professional happiness, professional ethics, incidents of malpractice, and personal health.  In response, many steps have been taken to help support wellness in the profession, provide resources to practicing attorneys and judges, and to foster a mindset of wellness in working professionals.  To demonstrate the commitment to these goals, wellness in now considered an aspect of legal professionalism with many jurisdictions requiring attorneys to regularly complete continuing education training on wellness topics as part of their ongoing obligations for licensure.

In addition, the ABA also found a direct relationship between wellness and successful law students.  To help you begin thinking about wellness as part of long-term goals and readiness,  we have articulated a few important aspects of wellness for you to consider as you plan for pursuing a legal education.

*Keep in mind the topics below are only a highlight – there are many aspects to wellness and you should investigate them all as you think about your overall well-being and health!

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

There are many, many aspects to your mental and emotional wellbeing – but one area that is very common amongst high performing individuals is stress management.  In terms of study and work, stress can distract focus, decrease efficiency, and increase mistakes. Stress can also harm your judgment in ways that can have negative effects on your professional and personal life.  Stress has also been proven to have significant impacts on our physical health if not managed properly.  Maintaining your emotional health and preventing the negative effects of stress is extremely important.

Unfortunately, the reality is that pursuing a legal education and law profession will create opportunities of stress and challenge.  The good news is, stress can be managed.  Knowing you may encounter challenges of this nature provides you an opportunity to be purposeful and proactive in taking steps to develop methods and skills to manage through these times successfully.

There are many strategies you may employ to tackle stress and developing these skill sets now can have benefits throughout your life.   It is important to make sure you are developing healthy stress management techniques and avoiding relying on sources of outlet that might provide temporary relief, but can create long-term damaging habits (such as substance abuse).   As you begin developing healthy management skills you may need to try different tactics and approaches to learn what works best for you.  Some individuals mange stress through relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, socialization, spiritual practice, and simple exercise.  Some seek a more structured approach through therapy and counseling to cope.

Whatever healthy approach to stress management works for you is right.  What is important is that you identify how stress impacts you and what methods create relief.    Some aspects of stress management to consider include:

      • Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a particularly useful skill to develop. Mindfulness allows you to maintain relative emotional calm, even in stressful situations, and helps you sharpen mental focus. Techniques for enhancing mindfulness are simple and can be practiced every day.
      • Relaxation & Exercise. Appropriate forms of relaxation can refresh your mind, and renew the energy and focus you bring to your tasks. If you build a reasonable amount of relaxation into your busy schedule you will benefit with better results in your work. Relaxation can take many forms, from reading, to watching TV, to enjoyable hobbies and socializing.  Exercise has long been proven to provide an outlet for managing overall health – including stress.  Explore and discover health exercise activities that work for you.
      • Spiritual practice. Spirituality can take many forms and does not necessarily refer to an organized religion (although it may for you). If spirituality or religious faith is part of your life, attending to it can help you manage stress. In the busy life of being a law student or legal professional it is important not to lose touch with the spiritual part of yourself. Caring for your spirituality will provide you with many benefits.
      • Positive Thinking and Positive Self-regard. Having a positive outlook is important and has been tied to overall health benefits, but you also need to be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, or fails from time to time. Learn to forgive yourself for your perceived failures, be mindful of setting positive and realistic goals, and work to silence any negative self-thoughts.  We all need a pick-me-up sometimes, in a pinch – consider an emergency compliment to lift up your day!

Below are some additional resources to help you begin thinking through stress management techniques:

Find what works for you! There are also tremendous online resources and apps to help with daily mindfulness, relaxation and stress  – consider trying out a few and adding theses practices into daily life.  Consider trying this online breathing exercise from CALM as a start!

Time management

Time management is an obvious companion to stress management and a key part of wellness.  It is also an incredible tool that can be an invaluable asset to helping you achieve goals in all aspects of your life!

Although you have been busy as a college student, law school will provide new challenges for managing your time. Law students are under incredible time pressure, and professional attorneys tend to be under such pressure as well. Building time management skills now will help you rise to the challenges of law school and professional obligations and provide the structure necessary to tend to all aspects of your life whether it be academic, personal, or professional.

It is a good idea to build a systematic time management scheme that is suited to your life and your personality. There are many time management systems out there, but they all build on a few basic concepts or skills. Here some things to consider when building time management skills:

Organization and Planning. A key to effective time management is staying organized. A good time management system will allow you to manage and schedule  important tasks, activities, and information in your life so that it is easy to manage and execute.  It is important that you think of time management at different levels including daily, monthly, by semester, and yearly.   As you consider your system – keep in mind the following:

        • Deadlines. It is essential that your time management system allow you to keep abreast of the deadlines and obligations in your life, both the upcoming ones and those further in the future.  Don’t forget to plan for the unexpected – consider giving yourself internal /pre deadlines a few days or a week before critical/final deadlines.
        • Format. Because a time management system is essentially an information management system, the format will be important. Many people manage their time using online calendars, apps, or other tools, but paper-based time management tools are also popular. Whichever format you choose, it must work in a way that feels natural to you and be readily available throughout  your day/week/month.

Tracking/Accountability. A good time management system will allow you to both see what is coming up in your life, but also what you have done in the past.  It is also important to find systems to hold yourself accountable to the schedule and goals that you set, being realistic and making adjustment when you miss a goal.

        • Assess Your Time Needs:  Sometimes we don’t truly understand how long tasks actual take us to complete (especially in a distraction free setting).  Spend a week actively tracking the time it takes you to prepare for class, read assignments, commute, make dinner, grocery shop, etc.  Once you have specific understand of your time needs, you can make a good plan!
        • Be Realistic!  One of the easiest ways to become discourage with your time-management efforts is to be overly ambitious and unrealistic.  Set yourself up for success by planning more time than you think necessary for tasks such as homework, papers, class projects, or academic prep. Plan for the unexpected by building in time to your schedule for things you do not anticipate, emergencies, or delays.

Personalization. Finding a time management system that works seamlessly for you is essential. There are many, many time management systems available, but the one you choose should work for you, including being easy to modify to suit your particular needs.

Learn More about Time Management…

Financial Wellness

You may not normally think of your finances as a wellness issue, however,  developing an understanding of your personal financing and obligations is essential for long-term success and opportunity.  This may include taking steps to fully understand your current financial situation, having a reasonable personal spending plan or budget, appropriate saving habits, and planning for the future.  Law school is expensive and most students will incur some level of debt to manage these expenses.  Developing your financial wellness skill set and knowledge will assist you in preparing to assess your financial obligations as they relate to your legal education, increase your eligibility for assistance options (law school loans), and set your long-term career goals.

Below are important skill sets you can begin developing now as an undergraduate student!

Develop Good Financial Habits.  Being a good steward of your financial health and credit history will be invaluable to ensure the widest possible opportunities to you as a law student and law graduate.  Below are some simple steps to begin fostering your financial wellness.

      • Learn to Budget. Creating a workable spending plan, or budget, helps you understand the relationship between your expenses, income, and overall needs.  Developing budgeting skills should be important for anyone considering law school, regardless of your current financial circumstances.  This process will help you think long-term about goals as a professional (salary) and long-term debt prospects associated with educational loans.  This skill will also be critical as you enter law school as you may be require to create individual projected budgets for determining loans, financial aid, and grants.  Consider budgets in terms of monthly and yearly needs and goals.
      • Develop and Manage Credit.  Having good credit is an important priority.  Take small steps now to avoid any unnecessary challenges in this area.  Invest in mastering the following simple steps:
          • Create a bill payment system/tracking process to ensure payments are never missed.  
          • Make all payments on-time.
          • Avoid “bad” debt wherever possible (credit cards) and be mindful of interest rates!
          • If you have debt (credit cards, car loans, etc) make meaningful efforts to bring balances to zero prior to law school.
      •  Saving. As a student the idea of saving may seem impossible. However, building a saving habit, even of a very small amount, on a regular basis will have immense benefits down the road. Consider starting a small emergency fund or general savings to help offset unexpected costs and expenses and reduce potential stress down the road. 
  • Having an understanding of your finances and necessary skills to manage, will allow you to reach for the things you want in life and set you up for a successful financial future.  Below are some additional resources to explore as you tend to your financial wellness.

Final Thoughts

One thing that can be a tremendous benefit no mater what aspect of wellness you are exploring is your relationships with others – whether friends and family; your professors, advisors, and campus leaders;  or connections you make professionally – healthy and fulfilling relationship can serve as a fantastic source of support and benefit to you.

Interpersonal skills are also an essential tool for practicing attorneys.  Creating and maintaining positive relationships will serve as the building blocks for your future professional relationships as well.  Keep in mind that good relationship building can often come down to the simplest steps remembering that professional and work relationships benefit from the golden rule: Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Respect, courtesy, civility, and consideration for others are not just formalities. They are important to your success.

As a law student or legal professional you will be leading a complicated, busy life. Maintaining wellness, in all forms, is essential to being successful. By caring for yourself in these ways you make it possible to achieve what you want in life, and also to make the best contribution to you can to society and the lives of others.

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November Snapshot

November is a busy and critical month for pre-law students and alumni, between spring course registration, November LSAT, Fall Break/Thanksgiving holiday, end of semester deadlines, and of course working toward application submission – there is a lot to keep track of this month!

Below is a list of important dates, upcoming events, and reminders for November 2021! 

Be sure to check back throughout the month for updates and additions…

November 1: Still making course decisions for spring? Registration for spring is here!  Be sure to check out our Spring 2022 Pre-Law course suggestions online!

November 2:  “Recognizing and Preventing Burnout” Workshop. Hosted by UIUC Counseling Center, BIF 1041 at 7:00 pm.

November 3: Law Chat Live @ Noon: Wellness = Professionalism. Click here for more information.

November 3: PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101: Session 1 at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 4: PLAS Workshop:  Drafting Your Application Personal Statements | Resumes | Addendums at Noon. Click here to register.

November 4: University of Chicago Law School and Black Law Students Association: Webinar-“Law School and the Law School Admissions Process” at 4:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 4: University of Chicago Law School: Deferred MBA/JD Information Session at 4:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 4:  IJourney Workshop-“Not All Wounds are Visible: Mental Health Stigma” at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

November 5-6: LSAC: Law School Forum- New York (in-person).

November 7: Application Deadline: Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program for Summer 2022. Click here for more information.

November 8: National First-Generation Day Celebration hosted by OMSA. Click here for more information.

November 9: Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) Overview at 11:00 am. Click here to register.

November 9: NYU School of Law: Online Information Session at 1:00 pm. Students are encouraged to register by November 4. Click here to register.

November 9: PLAS Event: Law Schools Across America- Chicagoland+  Admissions Panel at 5:00 pm. For more information or to register click here.

November 9: “Boosting Resilience through Mindfulness” Workshop hosted by UIUC Counseling Center. In-person,  Huff Hall 1002 at 7:00 pm.

November 9: AccessLex: Webinar-“Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students” at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

November 10: PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101: Session 2 at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 10: College of ACES is hosting a virtual panel with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at 5:30 pm. Zoom link: https://illinois.zoom.us/j/81318277320?pwd=OTAzeHpQcjlha1g2YVJvR3grbm1DQT09

November 12: Internship DeadlineThe Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Spring 2022 Undergraduate Internship Application Deadline. Click here for more information.

November 12: Saint Louis University School of Law is hosting a Virtual Pre-Law Day at 12:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 12: “Shamar Betts Case: Unequal Justice in the Aftermath of George Floyd’s Murder” Lecture hosted by University YMCA. In-person at Latzer Hall or online via Zoom at 12:00 pm. Click here for more information.

November 12-14: November LSAT Administration. Good luck to all of our test takers!

November 13: LSAC: Law School Forum- Los Angeles (in-person).

November 15: PLAS Workshop: Gap Year Presentation. Click here to register.

November 15: AccessLex “Applying to Law School” Webinar at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

November 16: AccessLex “The Road to Zero: A Strategic Approach to Student Loan Repayment” Webinar at 11:00 am. Click here for more information.

November 16:  Midwest Law School Virtual Fair from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Click here for more information.

November 16: AccessLex “Building Your Law School Budget” Webinar-at 2:00 pm. Click here for more information.

November 16: TestMasters is hosting a virtual LSAT Workshop at 6:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 16: “Managing Stress: Know Your Limits and Needs” Workshop. Hosted by UIUC Counseling Center, Lincoln Hall 1092 at 7:00 pm.

November 17: Law Chat Live @ Noon: Building Your Resume- Strategies for Summer. Click here for more information.

November 17: University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law: Legal Employer Diversity Collective Pathway Project- Women in Law Presentation at 6:30 pm. Click here to register.

November 17: University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law: Collaborative Pathway Equity, Accuracy, and Representation Workshop at 6:30 pm. Click here to register.

November 18: University of Illinois College of Law: Prospective Student Webinar- “Many Ways to be a Lawyer: Exploring Different Career Paths” at 2:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 18-21:  The 17th Annual National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair 2021. Click here for more information.

November 30: Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS): Virtual Fellowships Information Session at 4:00 pm. Click here to register.

November 30: “Setting Healthy Boundaries with Alcohol and Drugs” Workshop. Hosted by UIUC Counseling Center,  Illini Union 209 at 7:00 pm.

November 30: Sign-Up Deadline- LSAT Study Groups: Our office will be putting together study groups for upcoming 2022 LSAT exams. These study groups are designed to help LSAT test takers learn from other takers, share resources, and to help keep takers accountable to a study plan. If you are an alum interested in being part of a Zoom study group with other alumni, you may also fill out the form. Study group assignments will be released by December 6th and groups can start as early as winter break. If interested, please fill out this form by 11:59pm on November 30th.

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Alumni Attorney Talks

Alumni Attorney Talks is a virtual series which aims to provide prospective law students helpful insights about attending law school and pursuing a legal career. This series will feature interviews with University of Illinois alumni working in a variety of diverse settings within the legal profession.

Featuring:  Lynn P. Cohn

Clinical Professor and CO-Director of the Center on Negotiation and Mediation at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Law School: Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

UIUC Undergraduate Major: Political Science and Spanish

Professor Cohn’s Three Words to Describe an Attorney:

Many | Service | Never Dull

Be sure to check out this insightful interview!

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Spring 2022 Recommended Courses Chart

It is that time of year again! Each semester we receive many questions from pre-law students regarding courses helpful in preparation for law school in advance of course registration.  To assist in this process, Pre-Law Advising has made a handy chart with suggested classes pre-law students might find useful and interesting in planning and exploring a legal education.

In general, students interested in going to law school should take classes that focus on analytical and critical thinking, communication, research and writing, and when possible – legal topics of interest. The recommended course list includes classes from many different disciplines that might serve one, or more, of these goals.  Take a look at the chart to find courses that are both interesting to you and will help build necessary skills for law school.

Click Here for the list of Spring 2022 Recommended courses!

Please keep in mind that this list should not be viewed as exhaustive as there are many beneficial courses offered each semester.  This list should be used to highlight courses of particular interest and give a broad overview of options. 

Want to learn more?

See what fellow Illini say are some of the most helpful courses at Illinois…

Abbey Mizer

Abbey is currently the Vice President of the Pre-Law Honors Society and shared the following perspectives on her list of  favorite pre-law related course…

    • Phil 102 – Logic and Reasoning – This class was great for learning simple logic and being able to understand and work with complex arguments.
    • PS 270 – Intro to Political Theory – This class was helpful for getting comfortable with older texts and being able to put ideas about different political ideologies together.
    • PS 301 – The US Constitution I – This class helps you set a foundation for understanding how to brief cases, and the different branches of government, specifically the judicial branch.
    • PS 370 – Justice in the Law – This class was useful for reading and discussing a lot of court cases and practicing briefing skills. You learn how to brief cases in a way that helps you to truly understand and connect certain cases to the bigger picture of law.
    • PS 492 – Undergrad Research –  I did undergrad research for Prof. Samantha Frost, and found it to be super beneficial. I got to work with a team of research assistants and collaborate on a 25 page research paper. There are tons of professors who are looking for research interns, all you have to do is reach out to them via email to express your interest!
    • PS 375 – Feminist Political Theory – This class is very beneficial if you want to work on your writing skills. You get to learn different political theories, how they are connected, and how to form your opinions on which theories are the most effective and why.
MaryAllison Mahacek

MaryAllison is currently a student at the University of Illinois College of Law where she serves as the Notes Editor on the Elder Law Journal.  She will graduate as a double Illini in spring 2022 before sitting for the bar examination! Take a moment to view her list of  favorite pre-law related course from her time as a University of Illinois undergraduate student and perspectives as a current law student…

    • LAW 199: I took this my first year of college and honestly wish I would’ve wait to take it later because I completely forgot what it was like before law school. I believe the topics change each semester; when I took it, it was topics in domestic violence law. It was an awesome class, and a great primer to what law school is like.
    • CMN 101: Public Speaking. Pretty sure everyone has to take this, or most people, it was a good class and got me comfortable speaking publicly.
    • CMN 220: Communicating Public Policy. An interesting introduction to what public policy is, how people create policy and laws, and what it looks like in the public sector. If you want to go into government, its a great class.
    • CMN 323: Argumentation. While this isn’t exactly the type of arguing you’ll be doing in law school, it helped me learn how to form arguments and use evidence to back up my claims.
    • SOC 275: Criminology. An interesting view of social factors that relate to crime. I really liked this class and found it very interesting, especially for someone who wanted to go to law school.
    • CMN 211: Business Communication. A great class to help you with resume tweaking, interview prep, and making presentations! While it is more business oriented, I found my resume was helped a LOT from this class and I got a lot of interview experience in, which you’ll need in law school.
    • LAW 301: Intro to Law. While I didn’t take this class, I’ve heard many people liked it and it was a good introduction to topics that you’ll learn about in law school…
Considering possible minors?

Check out information about the Legal Studies Minor, including Q&A with Professor Pahre:  Legal Studies Minor At A Glance 

Still Not sure what to take? 

Schedule a pre-law advising meeting to discuss course options!

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Where to Apply?

Deciding which law schools to apply to is an important and complicated decision. Unfortunately, some people let their decision making process be dominated by one or two factors, such as ranking or location, when there are many other important things to be considered. The ultimate goal should be to apply to law schools that will be the right fit for you based on multiple factors that will ultimately contribute to your success.

Let’s look at some strategies to approach this decision and factors you should consider as you decide which law schools might be the right fit for you…

The first cut: General indicators

GPA and LSAT is a good place to start in narrowing your list as these are some of the clearest indicators of credentials common for prior successful applicants.  Your GPA and LSAT scores will help you decide which schools are reasonably likely to take a close look at your application.   Medians are reported in the annual ABA 509 reports for each school and can always be found on the law school websites.

TIP:  There is no secret formula here. Being at or above the median doesn’t mean automatic acceptance and being below it doesn’t mean automatic rejection. However, comparing your LSAT score and GPA against reported medians can help you determine if your application has a reasonable chance of success, understanding that the closer to at or above medians you are – the more attractive application you will be.

Once you have a list of possible schools, think about the factors that are most important to you. What do you want from a legal education? Here are some factors to consider:

    • School Size.  Law school class sizes can vary from around 100 to 400 +.  Do you thrive in larger or smaller environments?  Do you prefer smaller classes or larger ones?  What type of school community do you think you would enjoy?  Does having greater access for one-on-one experiences with your professors, administrators, and other resources appeal to you?
    • Location. Geography can be important. Where would you like to be while in school, and where would you like to end up after graduation? Is being near family important,  what  impact does location have on living expenses? Schools with greater national reputations will traditionally have greater success in placing students at a wider-range of locations.  If you know where you would like to live following law school – perhaps schools more regionally located will position you well for success.
    • Scholarships and Financial Aid. Law school is expensive and affordability is an important factor to consider not only during law school but for your financial future. Research a school’s scholarship history, keeping in mind that most schools are awarding the majority of scholarships based on LSAT and GPA (merit based).  Also consider what type of earning potential a degree from a school would offer you – what are the median starting salaries for recent grads.
    • Career Goals. Do you know what type of career you would like to have – public interest, big law, government?  Schools report very helpful details about post-graduation employment for their law graduates.  Research and ask questions to learn more about how schools have supported prior graduates – keeping in mind questions about geographic placements as well.
    • Academics. Look for schools that have the right academic fit for you and your interests. Some school’s approach law study from a more traditional viewpoint, while others may place more emphasis on practical learning opportunities – most law schools will have a balanced curriculum between the two.  Consider all types of academic opportunities that you might be interested in such as legal clinics, moot court and trial advocacy programs, study abroad, class structure, multi-disciplinary classes, and internships or externships can all be important parts of your legal education.

TIP: Do you know what type of law you are interested in?  While your interests may change as you move thru your legal education, if you are starting law school with a strong area of interest – be sure your schools of choice has academic courses and programs that can help prepare you for this area of law.

    • Reputation. Law school rankings may be relevant in the legal world, but they are not everything. There can be advantages to attending the highest ranked law school that you can, but not if it is at the expense of other factors, such as those discussed above. What you want is the school where you can be most successful.
Do your research!

Once you have decided on the most important qualities of a law school for you – it is time to research to determine if a school is a good fit.  Fortunately there is lots of information available to help you decide where to send your applications. Do your research and really get to know the school you are interested in before applying. Here are some recommendations on resources for your research:

ABA 509 Reports

https://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/Disclosure509.aspx

These annual reports, submitted by each accredited law school, give you lots of information about the admissions process. Things like the number of applications received, percentage admitted, and median LSAT and GPAs of admitted students are included in the reports, along with tuition and scholarships and aid. Another set of reports will tell you about bar passage rates, where graduates were placed geographically, and what kinds of jobs the accepted.  Information is reported to the ABA each year, stay tuned for 2021 data which has been reported and will be available soon.

LSAC Website

https://www.lsac.org/choosing-law-school

The Law School Admission Council website has a wealth of information about choosing law schools. They cover everything from finding schools to evaluating them and financing your education. 

TIP: The Official Guide to Law Schools data search allows you to search geographically or with your GPA/LSAT data comparing your credentials to school medians.  This a great database for doing some early identification of potential schools.

Law schools websites

Once a school is on your radar be sure to check out their website. The admissions pages will have a trove of information about what the school is looking for in applicants, along with profile information about the school and its programs. Other parts of the website can be very informative about faculty, academic programs, and student life at that law school.

US News and World Reports and OthER Rankings

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings

Us News and World Reports ranks colleges and universities, along with undergraduate and graduate programs. Their law school rankings should NOT be considered the authority on what is a “good” law school.  However, US News, and organizations like it, compile helpful information on many different aspects of law programs which are easily searchable, assisting greatly in finding many data points about a school giving you more information to aid in evaluating a school from many different contexts.

Organization is Key!

As you begin compiling a list of schools and researching you will need a place to store and manage this information.  You will need to be able to compare and contrast various information about the schools, including deadlines and other factors.  Keep in mind you will refer to this information not only prior to applying, but once you move into your ultimate decision making process following acceptance. Here is an example* of how that information might be organized:

*Data is for example purposes only, please check current law school websites for current 2021 data and information.

Perspectives from our Graduate Assistant

Courtney Koenig

We spoke to our GA, Courtney Koenig, currently a 3L student at the University of Illinois College of Law, about what the law school application process was like for her. Here are her thoughts on three specific application issues:

Location:At this particular stage, I was focused on where the school was located for assessing whether I wanted to live in that region for the next three years. I looked at job placement location at a later stage, once I had offers of admission.”

Credentials: I looked at schools where I thought I would be a competitive candidate. Schools where my LSAT and GPA were close to the medians. I did have target, safety, and aspirational schools.”

 Financial Consideration: I looked at the price of schools and compared that to the cost of living/cost of attendance (COA) for where the school was located. I also considered what scholarships would be available and if I would be competitive for them. “

Final Thoughts 

Applying to law school is a complicated process with many decisions to make. The most important thing is that you identify schools that will do the most to help you succeed. Careful consideration of the factors that are important to you, combined with careful research about potential schools, will help you make the right application decisions.

Remember, we are here to help! You can schedule an advising appointment with a Pre-Law Advisor.  There are two types of appointments:

      • Pre-Law Advising
      • Document Review (Personal Statement, Resume, and Addendums)

Schedule online at: https://go.oncehub.com/PreLawAdvisingatIllinois

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October Snapshot

October is officially here which calls for the start of a busy application season! Below is a list of important dates, upcoming events, internship deadlines, and reminders for this month!

October 1: LSAT Deadline– Last day to register for the November LSAT!

October 1: Internship Deadline– Intern for Tammy Duckworth for Spring 2022. Click here for more information.

October 4: Internship Deadline– Humanities Gateway Internship in Public Media and Civic Engagement. For more information click here.

October 4: Leadership Deadline– Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board applications due. Click here for more information.

October 5: PLAS Event: Law Schools Across America- Big 10 Highlights at 5:00 pm. For more information or to register click here.

October 5: UIUC Counseling Center Workshop-“Maintaining Mid-Term Season Self-Care” in Bevier Hall 132 at 7:00 pm.

October 6: AccessLex: Webinar- “Choosing a Law School” at 11:00 am. For more information click here.

October 6: Law Chat Live @ Noon: Where to Apply?

October 6: Loyola University Chicago School of Law: Fall Series- “Road to Loyola, Application Insights” at 3:00 pm via Zoom. Click here for more information.

October 7: Campus Legal Internship Deadline The Office of University Counsel: Legal Administrative Intern.  Click here for more information.

October 7: AccessLex: Webinar- “Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students” at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

October 8: LSAC Forum– San Francisco. Click here for more information.

October 8: UIUC College of Law: Virtual CLE- “We Have to Talk: Navigating Challenging Conversations About Diversity” at Noon via Zoom. To register, click here.

October 9-12: October LSAT Administration. Good luck to all of our test takers!

October 12: PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101: Session 1 at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

October 12: Indiana University- Maurer School of Law: Virtual Admissions Information Session at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

October 12: UIUC Career Center: Workshop- “Creating Your Powerful Cover Letter” (in-person) at 5:00 pm. Click here for more information.

October 12: UIUC Counseling Center: Workshop- “Enhancing Prioritization and Time Management” Gregory Hall room 319 at 7:00 pm.

October 13: UIUC Gies College of Business Undergraduate Success Lab: Pre-Law Information Session 1 at 4:00 pm. Click here to register.

October 13: Siebel Center for Design: Kit Walsh, “A Practical Framework to Combat Automated Injustice” from 12-1pm. Click here for more information.

October 13: UIUC Career Center: Workshop- “Creating Your Powerful Resume” (in-person) at 5:00 pm. Click here for more information.

October 14: PLAS Workshop:  Drafting Your Application Personal Statements | Resumes | Addendums at 4:00 pm. For more information or to register click here.

October 15: University of Houston Law Center: Law in the Lone Star State- Texas Law School Admissions Panel (virtual) at 11:00 am. Click here for more information.

October 16: University of Houston Law Center: 2021 Diversity Pre-Law Symposium & Law School Admissions Fair. Click here for more information and to register.

October 16 & 17: Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center: Books to Prisoners. Click here for more information.

October 18: Internship Deadline– Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: Walmart Emerging Leaders Internship. Click here for more information.

October 18: Internship Deadline– Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: Pathways to C-Suite Internship Program. Click here for more information.

October 19: AccessLex: Webinar- “Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach for Underrepresented Students” at 3:00 pm. Click here for more information.

October 19: PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101: Session 2 at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

October 19: UIUC Counseling Center: Workshop-“Helping Yourself and Others: Mental Health 101” Illini Union 209 at 7:00 pm.

October 20: Law Chat Live @ Noon: Course Highlights from Senior Students

October 20: Peace Corps Application Workshop: Interview Tips at 2:30 pm.  Click here for more information.

October 21: Peace Corps Application Workshop: Resume Tips at 11:00 am.  Click here for more information.

October 21: PLAS Event: Legal Studies Minor Info Session at 1:30 pm. Click here for more information.

October 21: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Journey Workshop- “Enhancing Stereotype Awareness” in Psych 32 at 7:00 pm. Click here for more information.

October 22: LSAC Forum– Atlanta. Click here for more information.

October 23: University of Houston Law Center: 2021 Diversity Pre-Law Symposium & Law School Admissions Fair. Click here for more information and to register.

October 24: Leadership Deadline– The Office of Undergraduate Admissions: Illinois Student Admissions Representative. Click here for more information.

October 24: Goldman Sachs: Goldman Sachs is offering two undergraduate programs in their Legal Division in Dallas, TX starting in summer 2022. Applications are encouraged to be submitted as soon as possible. For more information, click here.

October 25: AccessLex: Webinar- “Building Your Law School Budget” at 2:00 pm. Click here for more information.

October 25: PLAS Event: Law Schools Across America– Midwest Highlights at 5:00 pm. For more information or to register click here.

October 27: UIUC Gies College of Business Undergraduate Success Lab: Pre-Law Information Session 2 at 1:00 pm. Click here to register.

October 27: Illinois Trial Team: Tryout for the Illinois Mock Trial Team! Contact Brooke Conklin at illinoistrialteam.vpe@gmail.com for tryout information and a tryout time slot between 6:00 and 9:00 pm.

October 28: Legal Humanities Lecture: Franita Tolson on Voting Rights at 7:30 pm. Click here to register.

October 31: Internship Deadline– Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: State Farm Communications Internship. Click here for more information.

October 31: Application Deadline– The University of Toledo College of Law: Launch into Law Program. Click here for more information.

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Pre-Law Student Organizations at UIUC

Looking to get involved?  Want to connect with other pre-law students? Check out details and highlights for some of the University of Illinois pre-law student organizations!

UI Pre-Law Club

About: “The UI Pre-Law club gives students the opportunity to learn more about their pre-law journey. We host informational events with law school professors, and also host LSAT information sessions. Most importantly, we allow students to network with other pre-law students.”

How to get involved: There is no application deadline, nor GPA requirements. Members must pay dues. Contact the organization about joining.

How to connect:

    • Instagram: Uiprelaw
    • Facebook: UI Pre-Law Club
    • Website: https://illinois.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/uiplc
    • Email: prelawclubuiuc@gmail.com

How to learn more: Email to join the email listserv. Check out the website.

 

Pre-Law Honors Society

About: “The Pre-Law Honors Society is an organization that brings high-achieving undergraduate students closer to a future in the legal field. We educate members on the requirements and preparation needed to enter law school and a career in law through LSAT prep workshops, law school trips, networking opportunities, guest speakers, social events, and more.”

How to get involved: Applications are open in the first couple of weeks in the fall and spring semester. There is a minimum GPA requirement of 3.4 thus, you must have one semester completed. To apply, students must complete an application, attach their unofficial transcript and resume, and provide a 200-word statement on why they want to join. There is a one-time fee.

How to connect:

How to learn more: Visit the Instagram page for information on past events. Check out the website for information on how to apply as well as contact form to ask questions.

Additional: Pre-Law Honor Society is open to any student with even a slight interest in pursuing law – even those who haven’t decided if it’s for them yet. Members include a diverse group of students at every stage of their law school process and we want to welcome even more.

Illinois Trial Team

About: “We are a pre-law organization that focuses on creating legal arguments, public speaking, and teamwork. Teams work together to analyze a case, create a theme and theory, and make arguments. We also offer fun social events, networking opportunities, and amazing academic resources.”

How to get involved: Tryouts take place at the beginning of the academic year, in the first few weeks of the fall semester. Members also must pay dues.

How to connect:

How to learn more: Check the organization website or reach out through website or Instagram.

MAFA (Minority Association for Future Attorneys)

About: “Founded to assist, support, and advance pre-law students on their journey to law school and becoming successful attorneys.”

How to connect:

How to learn more: Follow them on social media and join their email list by clicking here.

Kappa Alpha Pi

About: “Kappa Alpha Pi is a co-ed professional pre-law fraternity. We strive for excellence in professionalism and with our academics, while also creating a welcoming organization.”

How to get involved:  New member recruitment “rush” is a multi-week process and requires payment of dues. The recruitment process typically begins at the beginning of the fall semester and ends in mid September.

How to connect:

How to learn more: Check out the Instagram and/or the KAP website.

Phi Alpha Delta

About: “Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International is the largest professional law fraternity in the United States. Founded in 1902, P.A.D. has since grown to 717 established pre-law, law, and alumni chapters and over 330,000 initiated members.”

How to get involved: There is no application deadline nor requirements besides completing local and national dues. Contact the organization about joining.

How to get connect:

How to learn more: Reach out via email or direct message on Instagram.

Phi Delta Phi

About: “Founded in 1869 at the University of Michigan, Phi Delta Phi is the nation’s oldest legal honor society in continual existence. Phi Delta Phi boasts one of the most impressive lists of alumni out there, offering some of the best membership benefits available, and creating a space for like-minded individuals to gather. Regardless of if you are interested in law school or not, this organization has something to offer you, and will bolster your experience as an undergraduate. Whether you are looking for a place to network, a place to learn, or simply a community of accepting individuals, this organization has something to offer.”

How to get involved: They have recruitment periods at the beginning of every semester. This entails both an application and interview process prior to acceptance.

How to connect:

    • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pdp_uiuc/
    • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pdp.uiuc.3
    • Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pdp_uiuc
    • Email: pdpuiuc@gmail.com

How to learn more: Connect with Phi Delta Phi on Instagram or via email at pdpuiuc@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Undergraduate Law Review

About: “The Review aims to shine a light on legal issues that affect the broader Champaign-Urbana community. We’re comprised of two organizational bodies – the executive board and the editorial board – and spend the year researching, developing, and ultimately writing articles on legal topics.”

How to get involved: The application period generally runs from late August through mid to late September, during which time the application is live on our website. Throughout the year, we consider membership requests depending on the size and progress of our organization (so don’t hesitate to reach out at any time of the year).

How to connect:

How to learn more: Visit our website, contact the president, or reach out via GetInvolved tab.

Additional: No prior experience or particular set of interests is required; we are open to anyone who would like to apply.

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Tips For Re-Applying to Law School

Achieving second round success…

If you’ve previously applied to law school but did not matriculate, you always have the option to re-apply in a subsequent year.  However, if you are re-applying, you want to take a careful strategic approach to the process. The reason or reasons you didn’t enroll previously need to be considered and dealt with if you want to succeed with your new application.

Why did you not ENROLL?

The first, and most important, question is why you didn’t enroll when you applied previously. The reason why you didn’t enroll will determine the right strategies for your new application. There are a number of possibilities:

Did you prepare to apply, but decide not to? If so, why?

Were you unhappy with your LSAT score or GPA?  Did you come across an alternative offer or opportunity that you felt you couldn’t pass up? Were there personal reasons why you didn’t proceed with your application?

Did you apply but withdraw your application? If so, why?

Were you dissatisfied with the schools that offered you admission, or the level of aid that you were offered? As with not applying, there could have been personal reasons for deciding to withdraw your application, or you could have encountered an alternative opportunity. Did something unexpected come up in your life?

Did you apply but not get an offer of admission? Why do you think that happened?

Failing to get an offer of admission from a law school is disappointing, but it certainly does happen.  Last year’s application cycle yielded an unprecedented increase in application volume – meaning it was a very competitive year.

One factor can be timing. Rolling admissions means that those who apply later in the cycle often face a more competitive process – as many offers of admission have already been extended.   Timing could mean you didn’t get an offer even though you might have had you applied earlier in the cycle.

Another factor could be the quality of your application. A rushed personal statement or poorly proofread resume could have led to an unsuccessful outcome. Similarly, the content of your resume could have been problematic.

It is also possible to have had unrealistic expectations about your chances of being admitted to the law schools you applied to, were your LSAT score and GPA competitive at these schools?

Were you waitlisted?

Many law school applicants experience being waitlisted. Keep in mind that being waitlisted is not the same as being rejected or denied an admissions offer. Applicants who are placed on the waitlist are effectively qualified, admissible candidates and students are admitted off waitlists each year. The fact that you were waitlisted should inform your strategy, particularly for schools that you intend to resubmit application to.  Fundamentally your application was good – it does not meant that you should not revisit and strengthen your application, but you do not need to re-invent the wheel.

 

Once you have considered carefully why you didn’t enroll after your previous application, that reason or reasons should inform your strategy for your new application. Let’s consider some strategies.

    • If personal reasons or alternative opportunities interfered with your previous application, have those issues been resolved, or the opportunities fully explored? If not, you should resolve those issues.
    • If your academic profile was an issue, have you taken steps to improve that profile?  Have you re-taken the LSAT,  can you?  Was your GPA at graduation higher than when you applied?  Did you engage in more advanced coursework as a senior that was not represented at the time you applied?
    • Can your application materials be improved?  Do they need to be?

Resume – always update your resume to reflect your most current activities and achievements.  This should be updated and revisited prior to re-applying.

Personal Statement – You may want to update your personal statement, depending on your situation. If your experiences and motivations have changed you should update it. Similarly if it could just be better written, then definitely write it again.

Addendums – Whether or not to update addendums will depend on if there is new information to be added. Otherwise they can be left alone.

LOR – If you have new or better recommenders you will want to update your letters of recommendation. However, this is not necessary if your previous LORs were strong.

Transcripts – Transcripts should be updated if you have done more academic work since your last application.

Whatever your situation, when re-applying remember that the Prelaw Advising Services office is here to help. Our services are available for free to all current Illini and alumni. Learn more at prelaw.illinois.edu!

Bonus Tip:  How did you leave it?

When re-applying to a particular school you should be mindful of how you left things with your previous application.

    • If you withdrew an application to that school, you may want to discuss that fact with the admissions personnel. They may have concerns about why you withdrew.
    • Similarly, if you declined a previous offer of admission, this will be a point of concern.  Why did you decline, what has changed?
    • Finally, if your application was declined previously you should consider carefully what has changed that makes you a better candidate, and how to communicate that in your application.

 

 

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