Mark Your Calendars–Week of Sept. 28

Pre-Law Advising Services Events

2015 Law School Fair (MAPLA Caravan): Tuesday, October 6, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm in Illini Union Rooms A, B, C, and South Lounge (1401 W. Green St., Urbana, Illinois 61801).  Mark your calendar: It’s the biggest pre-law event of the year! Join us as over 100 law schools visit campus to meet with prospective students. Gather information about law schools, talk with admissions professionals about their schools, collect some fun freebies and law school application fee waivers. This event is FREE and open to the public. Dress is business casual. For more information, including a list of law schools attending the fair, visit our website at http://prelaw.illinois.edu/law-school-fair. See you at the fair! No registration is required.

Majors and Minors Fair–Weds., Sept. 30 from 2-4 pm in the Illini Union. Still deciding on a major or minor? This is your opportunity to learn about all the majors and minors on campus! Pre-Law Advising Services will be there…come on by and say hello! To see who else will be there, check out their website.

Campus and Beyond 

iUnite Week: Sept. 26-Oct. 2. Join these campus-wide events embracing the value of differences in our community. Events include speakers (including Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Freedom Rider), a film series, and interfaith dinner. Click here for the iUnite Week Schedule of Events.

Harvard Law School Google Hangouts–HLS will host several upcoming Google Hangouts discussing HLS and its admissions process. Each session includes Q&A. The next Harvard Law School Google Hangout will be Sept. 30 from 5-6 pm Central. For the full HLS Google Hangout schedule and to register, visit their website here.

Illinois Abroad: The Student Experience in Asia–Wednesday, September 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m. in AACC lounge, 1210 W. Nevada St., Urbana
Wondering what it is like to study abroad in Asia? Want to know more about the student experience at Asian universities abroad? Come hear from both domestic and international Illinois students about study habits, classroom culture, extracurricular activities, and more! Returned study abroad students and international students will present in a poster fair style format.

Free Practice LSAT from Kaplan – September 30th @ 5:15 pm* Space is limited, so please register at http://www.kaptest.com/class/LKCE150005. Take Kaplan’s Free Practice Test and find out how you’d perform on the exam right now! You will receive a detailed score report, complete explanations to every question, strategies for improvement. This is a practice test offered by Kaplan, and it is an unofficial practice LSAT.*PLAS has no affiliation with Kaplan or any other test prep company.

Illinois in Washington–Spend a Semester Interning and Taking Classes in Washington, DC – Application deadline for spring semester is October 1. Visit their website for application information.

LAS Student Success Workshop: Argumentation and Analysis in Academic Essays, 3:00-4:50 pm Tuesday, Oct. 6 in 1 Foreign Language Building. This workshop is designed to provide strategy and guidelines about writing assignments such as understanding the nature of the assignment, creating a format, conducting scholarly research and putting ideas in the paper in a coherent manner to help students succeed. The primary focus is on making fact-based arguments and writing straight-forward papers using current academic knowledge, general knowledge/observations and research skills.

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

  • Getting the Job: Interviewing Tips, Tues., Sept 29, 4-5 p.m.
  • Creating Powerful Resumes & Cover Letters, Weds., Sept. 30, 5-6 pm.
  • Finding an Internship, Thurs., Oct. 1, 4-5 pm.

Job Search Seminar for International Students–Friday, Oct. 2 in the Business Instructional Facility Deloitte Auditorium, 2:00-4:00 pm. Dan Beaudry, author of Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States will present OPT/CPT/H1B job search strategies for international students.  This presentation will cover how international students can tackle job search obstacles including the small number of H1B visas available.  Beaudry will also suggest networking strategies for international students.  This event is co-sponsored by The Career Center, Business Career Services, International Student and Scholar Services, and Graduate College Career Development.

Freshman Scholarship–The Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship ($2,000) is open to freshman students who demonstrate an aptitude for writing poetry. To apply, submit 5 poems by Oct. 30 to Jennifer Price, Department of English, jajones6@illinois.edu. Inlcude your name, address, phone number, email, and UIN on a title sheet with your submission. Do not include a name on the poems themselves.

 Pre-Law Honors Society has Launched a New Website–Please visit uiucprelawhonorssociety.weebly.com where you will find the recently launched PHS website. At the new site you will find an updated calendar of all PHS events, an updated description of all PHS events, and an updated list of the requirements needed to become a member. Additionally you will gain access to the newly re-established Gavel News Blog and find lists every possible way to contact the organization.

Winter Session 2015-2016 Courses Are Announced–Considering picking up a gen ed credit over winter break? Check out the list of winter session courses here.

College of Law Events

Next week, Weds. Oct. 7 from 10:30-12:30, watch the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court hear oral arguments for both a criminal and a civil case at the College of Law (Rowe Auditorium).

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke will speak at the College of Law on Fri, Oct. 9, from 12-1 pm. This event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided. Click here for more details. 

Have a great week!

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Law School Interviews and Campus Visits

Most law schools do not offer interviews as part of the application process, but for those that do, an interview can be the difference between acceptance and rejection.  Northwestern, for example, considers interviews one of their prime assessment tools in evaluating prospective students. Other schools may only offer interviews to select individuals. If you are interested in learning more about schools that offer interviews, check out our Compass page linked below.

If a school offers an interview program as a part of the application process, participation is strongly encouraged. When preparing for an interview, treat it as if you were interviewing for a job. Practice as much as possible for your interview by using the resources on campus, on the internet and in your personal network. Before you begin practicing, research your prospective school and learn to become comfortable answering questions about yourself, the school and why you see yourself there.

For similar experiences at schools that do not offer an interview program, applicants may be interested in campus visits.  Campus visits will not be considered in the application process, but they still provide valuable insight into the schools and what they look for in their students.  Speaking with current students, sitting in on a class and meeting some of the faculty will aid prospective students as they narrow their choices.

If any applicants are interested in practicing interviewing, please contact Career Services to conduct a mock interview.  The experience presents a wonderful opportunity to eliminate nervousness, while receiving valuable feedback.

To access a spreadsheet containing law school interview information, please visit our Compass page.

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Mark Your Calendars — Week of September 21

PLAS Events

Perfecting Your Personal Statement & Resume for Law School: Monday, September 21, 4:00 – 5:00 pm in IUB 514.

The personal statement and resume are a law school applicant’s opportunity to tell a school all about yourself and why you will make a great addition to their class. Students consistently tell us that this is the hardest part of the application, so we have developed this workshop to provide some insight. We will cover: What the personal statement is; how to begin writing it; what to include and exclude; writing separate addenda; how the personal statement and resume should work together; and an overview of the law school resume. Bring your questions because there will be plenty of time to ask them. Please register here.

2015 Law School Fair (MAPLA Caravan): Tuesday, October 6, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm in Illini Union Rooms A, B, C, and South Lounge (1401 W. Green St., Urbana, Illinois 61801).

It’s the biggest pre-law event of the year! Join us as over 120 law schools visit campus to meet with prospective students. Gather information about law schools, talk with admissions professionals about their schools, collect some fun freebies and law school application fee waivers. This event is FREE and open to the public. Dress is business casual. For more information, including a list of law schools attending the fair, visit our website at http://prelaw.illinois.edu/law-school-fair. See you at the fair! No registration is required.

 

Campus Events

Free Practice LSAT from Kaplan – September 30th @ 5:15 pm*

Space is limited, so please register at http://www.kaptest.com/class/LKCE150005. Take Kaplan’s Free Practice Test and find out how you’d perform on the exam right now! You will receive a detailed score report, complete explanations to every question, strategies for improvement. This is a practice test offered by Kaplan, and it is an unofficial practice LSAT.

*PLAS has no affiliation with Kaplan or any other test prep company.

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

  • Creating Powerful Resumes & Cover Letters, Monday, September 21, 4-5 pm.
  • Finding an Internship, Wednesday, September 23, 4-5 pm.
  • Getting the Job: Interviewing Tips, Friday, September 25, 2-3 p.m.

Spend a Semester Interning and Taking Classes in Washington, DC – Application deadline for spring semester is October 1

Come learn more about Illinois in Washington, an academic internship program open to all Illinois undergraduates.  Students live in Washington, DC, for a semester or summer, intern 4 days a week and take U of I classes. Information session: Tuesday, September 15 from 6-7 pm

Also visit www.washington.illinois.eduwww.facebook.com/IlliniosInWashington, and www.illinoisinwashington.wordpress.com/.

 Pre-Law Honors Society has Launched a New Website

Please visit uiucprelawhonorssociety.weebly.com where you will find the recently launched PHS website. At the new site you will find an updated calendar of all PHS events, an updated description of all PHS events, and an updated list of the requirements needed to become a member. Additionally you will gain access to the newly re-established Gavel News Blog and find lists every possible way to contact the organization

 

Have a great week!

 

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A Refresher on Character and Fitness

For those of you who are in the process of completing your applications, you likely have already come across the character and fitness questions.  These address a range of issues, from past traffic violations and more serious legal issues, to academic integrity concerns.  All law school applications include them. Why? Because law schools are trying to assess whether applicants, who aspire to be future practitioners, have the moral character and fitness to practice law.  As such, the law schools and LSAC require that applicants respond honestly to each question.  Any non-truthful responses could lead to very serious ramifications, including being prohibited from taking the bar and practicing law!

Ideally, an applicant will have nothing that requires reporting.  However, it is not uncommon for us to get the question: “Do I have to disclose X incident?”  We will not offer interpretations of law school application questions, nor will we make determinations of what should be disclosed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to investigate his or her own history and provide accurate information to law schools. Generally speaking, you should keep this thought in mind: when in doubt, disclose.

For more information on Character and Fitness, you should check out the “Applying” portion of the PLAS website here for an overview.  Better yet, go to the PLAS Compass page and watch our very helpful 5 minute video on Character and Fitness. Once on the PLAS Compass page, scroll down to “Application Pointers.”  Click on that, then select the second item “Character and Fitness Presentation.” Once there, click on the Character and Fitness Video link.  It is well worth your time, whether you are applying now or sometime in the future.  Finally, if you have any questions on this or other pre-law issues, feel free to make an appointment with an advisor by calling our office at 333-9669.

 

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Mark Your Calendars — Week of September 14

PLAS Events

Perfecting Your Personal Statement & Resume for Law School: Next Monday, September 21, 4:00 – 5:00 pm in IUB 514.

The personal statement and resume are a law school applicant’s opportunity to tell a school all about yourself and why you will make a great addition to their class. Students consistently tell us that this is the hardest part of the application, so we have developed this workshop to provide some insight. We will cover: what the personal statement is; how to begin writing it; what to include and exclude; writing separate addenda; how the personal statement and resume should work together; and an overview of the law school resume. Bring your questions because there will be plenty of time to ask them. Please register here.

Campus Events

Pre-Law Club/Pre-Law Honors Society Informational Meeting

Interested in learning more about joining either Pre-Law Club or Pre-Law Honors Society?  The clubs will be having a joint information session this Wednesday, September 16, at 7pm in Wohlers Hall, classroom TBD. Please RSVP by clicking on the following link by midnight tomorrow, September 15 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1AXqUinyYBVK5i1tjDmrgJip1VPAemh6wbXlxKm7Br8M/viewform?usp=send_form.

Career Center

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

  • Career Fair Prep: Maximize Your Experience, TODAY, September 14, 5-6 p.m
  • Getting the Job – Interviewing Tips Tuesday, September 15, 4-5pm
  • Creating Powerful Resumes & Cover Letters, Tuesday, September 15, 5-6pm
  • Internships and CPT for International Students, Tuesday, September 15, 4-5pm The Interview Suite 213, 616 E. Green (enter Kaplan building next to McDonald’s and head to 2nd floor)
  • Business Career Fair, Wednesday, September 16, 2-7pm, and Thursday, September 17, 2-7pm, Activities and Recreational Center (ARC)
  • Pizza and A Professional “Interning at Research Park”, Friday, September 18,
    12:00 PM1:00 PM
    The Interview Suite 213, 616 E. Green (enter Kaplan building next to McDonald’s and head to 2nd floor)

History Careers Night –  Thursday, September 17, 2015,  5 PM-7PM, 1002 Lincoln Hall

Come hear what four successful entrepreneurs did with their History degrees! All majors are welcome! Refreshments provided! Sponsored by the Department of History.

PANELISTS:

Anne Lukeman, Coordinator of Video Production, Office of Public Affairs, UIUC
Scott Mayer, Account Manager, Gamma Partners LLC
Steven Schulwolf, Principal Attorney/Managing Partner, Law Firm of Michaels, Schulwolf & Salerno, P.C.
Frank Valadez, Executive Director, Chicago Metro History Education Center (CMHEC)

Illinois Leadership Center

Petullo Insight on September 19th, 2015, 8:30am

What do you need to learn about yourself to become an effective leader? What are your unique strengths and weaknesses as a leader? The Petullo Insight Leadership program is designed to help students focus on the personal knowledge required for effective leadership in a complex, changing world.  Discover your strengths, values, social identities, and explore your intrinsic leadership styles. Enroll for Insight now! http://www.illinoisleadership.illinois.edu/_auth/login.asp.
All of the Illinois Leadership Center’s services are at no additional cost to students. These programs have attendance from students across campus so freshman, sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students are welcome!

College of Law Opportunities and Events

Volunteer Opportunities at the College of Law

Interested in getting an inside view of law school as law students learn trial skills?

Volunteer witnesses are needed for three hours the evening of Sept. 29 and/or Sept. 30 (Tues. or Wed.).  Witnesses would get some basic training, a script and exposure to being on the witness stand.  No knowledge required.  It is all in the information.  Witnesses are needed to testify on fingerprint, DNA, medical evidence and cause of death.  Contact Julie Campbell jjhill@illinois. edu or 333-5842 to sign up.

Volunteer jurors are needed to hear opening statements from College of Law students enrolled in the Trial Advocacy Program from 6:30-9:00pm October 13 and 14 at the Champaign County Courthouse. You may volunteer for one night or more.  Opening statements are from a homicide and a serious personal injury case.  Contact Julie Campbell, jjhill@illinois.edu or 333-5842 to sign up.

Events at the College of Law

Adam Liptak will deliver “The Roberts Court at Ten: A Reporter’s Reflections” for the fall 2015 Paul M. Van Arsdell, Jr. Memorial Lecture on Litigation and the Legal Profession on Tuesday, September 15, at Noon, in the Max L. Rowe Auditorium at the College of Law, 504 East Pennsylvania Avenue. Liptak is the Supreme Court correspondent of The New York Times. Lunch will be provided for lecture attendees. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The COL will host a Constitution Day Panel: The Roberts Court Turns Ten on Sept. 17 at 12:00 pm in the Rowe Auditorium of the Law Building. College of Law Dean Vikram David Amar and Professors Eric Johnson, Kurt Lash, Jason Mazzone, and Robin Fretwell Wilson will discuss the decisions of the Supreme Court over the past decade and where the Court is headed in the future. Lunch will be provided for lecture attendees.

Check the College of Law’s website for additional events that are open to public: http://law.illinois.edu/.

More Pre-Law Opportunities

Michigan State University College of Law Webinars

Michigan State University College of Law will host a variety of FREE webinars this fall for college students and graduates who are exploring or planning for law school. As noted below, webinars will focus on LSAT preparation, preparing a personal statement, financing law school, and legal careers.

Webinar presenters are highly experienced content-area experts (including pre-law advisors; the former director of Harvard Law School admissions; the former dean of admissions at the University of Virginia Law School; and legal career consultants and professionals). There is no cost to participate and webinar attendees will have the opportunity to interact with presenters during the 15-minute Q and A segment.

• Sept. 22: Strategies for Success on the LSAT
• Oct. 14: Crafting a Winning Law School Personal Statement
• Oct. 21: Preparing for Success in Law School: Expert Advice for Undergraduates
• Oct. 27: Expert Advice for Assembling a Competitive Law School Application
• Nov. 3: Career Options and Market Outlook for Attorneys
• Nov 17: Developing a Financial Plan for Law School
• Dec. 1: Tips for Assembling a Competitive Law School Application

To learn more about these webinars and to register, click here!

Stayed tuned for more excellent pre-law programming and have a great week!

 

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3 Ways to Build Your Pre-Law Resume

When you apply to law school, the admissions deans will be taking a close look at your resume to see how you spent your time as an undergrad. Law schools aren’t looking for hundreds of cookie cutter applicants who all do exactly the same thing–you should feel free to explore your interests and passions while building your pre-law resume. Here are some tips on building a pre-law resume that will allow you to explore your interests while impressing a law school admissions dean.

1. Go somewhere.

What it is: Illinois now has tons of study abroad opportunities over summer, winter break, and semester or yearlong programs all around the world worth checking out. Or consider Illinois in Washington to gain federal government/political contacts.

How it helps your law school resume: Like every industry, law is increasingly global in its reach. Law schools and legal employers like to see candidates with exposure to international cultures and issues, along with language skills. It shows not only an awareness of the global scale of local issues but a willingness to work with a wide variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds and an interest in other cultures. Language skills are a big plus to a multinational legal entity. If your goal is to work in federal government or politics domestically, getting those contacts and experiences early will be a huge plus in the competitive world of federal government work.

2. Do something meaningful with your time.

What it is: Illinois has literally hundreds of student organizations (called RSOs) about every imaginable topic. Whether your passion is music, art, volunteering, kids, the environment, or sports, something exists for everyone. Don’t see an RSO about your passion? Start one!

How it helps your law school resume: Law and legal issues are part of nearly every facet of life, so it is possible to link almost any passion to a career in law. First, law schools like to see people with passion, and they want to see applicants that actually spend time working on their passions rather than just reading about them. Second, law schools like to see applicants who demonstrate effective time management outside of the classroom. Third, law schools and the board of admission to the bar want to see people join the profession who understand community/social issues and the importance of giving back through pro bono (volunteer) work…in many states it is required of licensed lawyers.

3. Gain transferrable skills.

What they are: Transferrable skills refer to skills you can learn on the job or in an internship that carry over to other areas–in this case, the legal field. Take a look at employers’ top 10 attributes they want in a candidate. You don’t have to work in a law office to learn the transferrable skills necessary to be an effective lawyer: ability to work in a team, communication skills, problem solving, strong work ethic, technical/computer skills, in addition to working with clients, giving presentations, marketing, managing people, working with budgets/handling money, resolving conflict…all of these are necessary skills that law school does not teach you.

How it helps your law school resume: Law schools and legal employers want candidates who understand how a business functions and who possess the professional skills mentioned above. Importantly, work experience also allows you to explore different jobs and work environments to begin to identify what your priorities are in a career. Do you want a fast-paced work environment with lots of deadlines or do you prefer open time to prioritize yourself? Do you like working closely with clients or do you prefer a less people-oriented environment? Are you looking for a job with lots of independence or do you like being part of a team? These are all elements of the work experience that can help you identify your career priorities moving forward. Now is the time to explore!

For more information on pre-law resumes:

If you’re in the early stages of drafting a resume, explore the Career Center’s workshops and resume review offerings.

Attend a Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume workshop this fall. Follow the link for our workshop calendar and register there.

Check out our online resume resources on our website here.

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Mark Your Calendars: Week of Sept. 7

Pre-Law Advising Services Events

Pre-Law 101 (for Freshmen or students new to pre-law): Tuesday, September 8, 4:00-5:00 pm in Illini Union Bookstore Room 504.

This workshop is for any Illinois student who is new to pre-law. We will cover: What it means to be a pre-law student at Illinois; the profile of a successful law school applicant; building a pre-law resume during undergraduate years; and what helpful resources exist on campus. We will answer all of your pre-law questions! This workshop is primarily aimed at first year students but all students are welcome. First year students should attend a Pre-Law 101 prior to setting up an individual Pre-Law Advising appointment. Select any Pre-Law 101 session that suits your schedule–each covers the same material. Please register here.

Perfecting Your Personal Statement & Resume for Law School: Monday, September 21, 4:00 – 5:00 pm in Illini Union Bookstore Room 514.

The personal statement and resume are a law school applicant’s opportunity to tell a school all about yourself and why you will make a great addition to their class. Students consistently tell us that this is the hardest part of the application, so we have developed this workshop to provide some insight. We will cover: What the personal statement is; how to begin writing it; what to include and exclude; writing separate addenda; how the personal statement and resume should work together; and an overview of the law school resume. Bring your questions because there will be plenty of time to ask them. Please register here.

Campus Events

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will speak on campus on Thursday, Sept 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. Click here to register for this event.

Spend a Semester Interning and Taking Classes in Washington, DC

Come learn more about Illinois in Washington, an academic internship program open to all Illinois undergraduates.  Information session: Tuesday, September 15 from 6-7 pm in 119 David Kinley Hall. Students live in Washington, DC, for a semester or summer, intern 4 days a week and take U of I classes. Application deadline for spring semester is October 1.    

Also visit www.washington.illinois.eduwww.facebook.com/IlliniosInWashington, and www.illinoisinwashington.wordpress.com/.

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

  • Career Fair Prep: Maximize Your Experience,  Sept. 8, 4-5 pm.
  • Creating Powerful Resumes & Cover Letters, Sept. 8, 5-6 pm
  • Creating Powerful Resumes & Cover Letters, Sept. 9, 4-5 p.m.
  • Finding an Internship, Sept. 10, 4-5 pm.

Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board
Application: UG Advisory Board App 2015-16

Applications are now being accepted for this board, which provides feedback and generates ideas for programs, academic policies, and initiatives established or overseen by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Innovation. Meetings will take place 12:00-1:00 pm on Oct 8, Nov. 3, and Dec. 1, and lunch is provided.

Qualifying students will:

  • Be undergraduates for the 2015-2016 academic year,
  • Have an interest in academic affairs/campus initiatives
  • Demonstrate a strong record (GPA of 3.0+)
  • Be involved on campus.

Click on the link above to access the application. All applications due Sept. 11.

iHelp volunteer opportunity
iHelp is a campus-wide week of service from Sept. 19-25, hosted by the Student Alumni Ambassadors. Students are matched with volunteer opportunities across C-U, giving back to the local community and generating over 3,500 service hours each year! Students and alumni are invited to register online at http://www.illinoisihelp.org. Registration closes at midnight on Sunday, Sept. 13.

Volunteer Opportunities at the College of Law
Interested in getting an inside view of law school as law students learn trial skills?
Volunteer witnesses are needed for three hours the evening of Sept. 29 and/or Sept. 30 (Tues. or Wed.). Witnesses would get some basic training, a script and exposure to being on the witness stand. No knowledge required; it’s all in the information. Witnesses are needed to testify on fingerprint, DNA, medical evidence and cause of death. Contact Julie Campbell jjhill@illinois.edu or 333-5842 to sign up.

Volunteer jurors are needed to hear opening statements from College of Law students enrolled in the Trial Advocacy Program from 6:30-9 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14 at the Champaign County Courthouse. You may volunteer for one night or more. Opening statements are from a homicide and a serious personal injury case. Contact Julie Campbell, jjhill@illinois.edu or 333-5842 to sign up.

College of Law Events–These events are free and open to the public!

Sept. 15 at 12:00 pm Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, will deliver “The Roberts Court at Ten: A Reporter’s Reflections” for the fall 2015 Paul M. Van Arsdell, Jr. Memorial Lecture on Litigation and the Legal Profession. Lunch will be provided for lecture attendees.

The COL will host a Constitution Day Panel: The Roberts Court Turns Ten on Sept. 17 at 12:00 pm in the Rowe Auditorium of the Law Building. College of Law Dean Vikram David Amar and Professors Eric Johnson, Kurt Lash, Jason Mazzone, and Robin Fretwell Wilson will discuss the decisions of the Supreme Court over the past decade and where the Court is headed in the future. Lunch will be provided for lecture attendees.

Check the College of Law’s website for additional events that are open to public: http://law.illinois.edu/.

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Letters of Recommendation – The Sooner the Better

Law schools frequently stress the importance of having quality letters of recommendation. A letter of recommendation can influence whether a prospective student receives an acceptance letter.  For that reason, you must carefully select a professor or supervisor (if choosing an employer).* If a student chooses a recommender who does not know them well, the letter will fail to impress admissions officers.  In fact, such a “general” letter of recommendation can negatively influence an application.  Prospective law students should begin acquainting themselves with their professors early to avoid this unenviable situation.

In order to achieve a personal connection with your professors, visit them during office hours.  Professors have office hours so they can get to know their students and help them better understand the subject matter of the course.  Stop by early in the semester and explain to your professor that you would like to get to know them better.  Bring questions about material that was covered in a recent class or try to focus the conversation on a professor’s area of expertise.  Often times, professors focus their time on a specific area of interest within their field.  Employ your research skills and try to determine the professor’s area of interest.  Then, inquire about that topic.

Additionally, speak with your professors about your personal and professional goals. Let them know that you are considering law school. Ask for feedback and advice regarding your suggested path. Let them get to know the real you. A strong personal connection will come through in a letter of recommendation. A professor who knows you better will write a more impressive and meaningful letter on your behalf.

Stay for ten or fifteen minutes and thank your professor for his or her time.  Now, your professor will recognize you and will know you personally each time you contribute in class.  Go back to office hours as needed.  Provided you do well in the course, you have established the necessary groundwork for requesting a letter of recommendation at a later date.

For students who have waited to ask for letters of recommendation and would like to apply during this admission cycle, the process will be similar but more condensed. Do not wait to approach your professors until the week before you plan on submitting your applications. Make an appointment to see either your former professors or your current ones as soon as possible. At the meeting, ask whether the professor would be willing to write a letter of recommendation, and if so, offer to provide them with any information they desire. Such information may include: the grade you received in class, extracurricular activities and interests, a résumé, etc. Be sure to provide the requested information to your professor as soon as possible and stay in contact with your recommender throughout the process. The sooner you have your letters of recommendation finished, the closer you are to submitting your applications – so get to it!

 

*Typically, prospective students should choose professors to write their letters of recommendation unless they have been out of school for a while.  For more information, see the University of Chicago’s thoughts on the topic.

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