Pre-Law Office Changes

We have some changes to announce!

From Jamie Thomas-Ward:

After 11 years as Director of Pre-Law Services, I have accepted a new position on campus and will no longer be providing pre-law advising. I have enjoyed working with pre-law students and alumni, and you can still find me at my Illinois email or connect with me over on LinkedIn. I especially hope that those of you applying this cycle will continue to keep me updated on your law school choices!

An announcement will be made here and on our social media when a new Director of Pre-Law Services is hired.

Spring Semester Appointments

In addition to Pre-Law Advisor Judy Argentieri, Pre-Law Graduate Assistant Alex Gil will be available for pre-law advising appointments. Illinois students and alumni will still be able to schedule using our online system here.

Appointments with Judy–in person, telephone, or Zoom format–are available beginning Jan. 6. Appointments with Alex will begin with the spring semester.

Pre-Law Advising Services will be closed Dec. 21 through Jan. 6 and staff will not be available during this time.

Enjoy your break, and happy holidays!


What to do over Winter Break

Make your summer plans!

  • Apply for spring and summer 2020 internships! Check out our 2019 Internship/Jobs Newsletter over on our Compass page for over 30 pages of internship and job listings and other good ideas for pre-law opportunities. (Don’t wait until spring to look for summer internships–many will be filled by then.)
  • Apply for Summer 2020 pre-law programs. In addition to jobs and internships, we have provided information on several pre-law summer programs in our Jobs/Internships Newsletter.  These opportunities can be found in the Internship/Jobs Newsletter, starting on page 7.
  • Apply for Summer 2020 Study Abroad programs. Now is the time, as many summer study abroad program deadlines are in January/February. Program offerings include locations such as Milan, Barcelona and many others. Explore all available summer programs on the Study Abroad website.

Check out the LSAT Schedule!

Registrations for Spring 2020 LSAT administrations are open.  Go here for more info and to register.  The schedule for 2020-2021 LSAT Administrations, which begin with the June 2020 administration, should be posted in early January so keep checking for updates.

Also – don’t forget to mark your calendar for the PLAS LSAT Boot Camp, set for February 10!  Go here for more info.

Apply for scholarships!

  • Explore the Top Scholars website here–they offer lots of opportunities like these upcoming scholarships: UK Summer Fulbright, Boren, and Gilman scholarships.
  • Did you know that you can get a scholarship for writing one tweet? Or making a 2 minute video? Or being left-handed? Check out our 150+ Scholarship Spreadsheet–listing ALL kinds of scholarships, not just essays–over on our Compass page.

Update your professional and online presence!

  • Draft or update your resume to reflect what you accomplished this semester. These Career Center resources on drafting resumes can be helpful.
  • Create or update your LinkedIn profile
  • Create a professional-sounding email account (such as your full name, not jedimaster97 or hotmama23) if you are getting ready to apply for jobs, internships, scholarships, or graduate school
  • Clean up your social media/online presence. When you apply for jobs, internships, or graduate school, many people will Google you or review your social media sites, so make sure they are appropriate for those audiences. Take down anything questionable, un-tag yourself, and double check your privacy settings.

Informational Interviews. While you have some free time, take the opportunity to reach out to local lawyers and get some insight into legal careers. Ask if you can take them to coffee and chat about their careers.

  • How to find lawyers: Do your parents know any lawyers? Do you have any family members or family friends who are lawyers? They probably know even more lawyers to whom they can refer you for even more interviews. If you don’t know any lawyers and you live in Illinois, use the Illinois Lawyer Finder here, which allows you to search for lawyers by location and practice area around the state
  • For more details on how to conduct the interview use this Career Center resource.

Read up on legal issues and legal careers!

  • A great book providing insight into lots of different legal careers is 24 Hours with 24 Lawyers by Jasper Kim. 
  • Legal websites and blogs abound. Here are popular legal sites where you can learn about hot legal issues and about the legal profession.
    • SCOTUSblog for up-to-the-minute analyses of what the Supreme Court is hearing and doing
    • for a look inside the legal profession from various practice areas
    • Want to get a peek into the world of law professors and the topics they consider important? This site provides a directory of many different blogs by topic area and includes everything from Adoption Law to White Collar Crime and everything in-between.
    • Illinois State Bar Association’s website includes a blog and daily legal news about legal issues around the state. (You can find other state sites by searching, for example, “Texas” and state bar association.)

Listen to podcasts–there are tons of great legal podcasts out there, including these.

  • I Am the Law presents interviews with all different types of lawyers, from environmental lawyers to prosecutors to family law and corporate.
  • Serial provides an in depth view of the nuance and challenges of prosecuting crimes as each season analyzes one criminal case.
  • Women in the Law. This special short-term series explored issues of particular relevance to women in the profession.
  • The Girl’s Guide to Law School–Don’t be fooled by the name; this is not just for girls! This podcast is relevant for everyone interested in law school. With topics ranging from Will Law School Be a Disaster to Which Law School Should I Go To to explaining OCI (an interview process for law students) to Avoiding Disasters in Law School to how to read cases, this podcast truly has something for everyone.

If you are currently applying to law school:

  • Finish those applications. It is time to get them in!
  • Plan your law school visits–many schools have scheduled open houses or visit days in January and February. This may require pre-registration and some travel that you’ll want to plan in advance.
  • Follow your law schools on social media if you’d like to know when they are making decisions or scheduling open house/admitted student events.
  • Make a Pre-Law Advising appointment–If you have application questions or want some feedback on an essay, you can make a phone or Zoom appointment if you’re not in the area. Here is our appointment availability over winter break.
    • Appointments with a pre-law advisor are available through December 20.
    • The office will be closed December 24 through January 5, reopening on Jan. 6. (Staff will not be available during this time.)
    • Appointments will be available again January 6 through January 16.
    • Our regular schedule will resume with the Spring Semester on Tuesday, January 21.





The 2019 Internship/Job Newsletter is Available on Compass!

The 2019 Internship Newsletter is now available on Pre-Law Advising Service’s Compass page. Please visit our Compass page to begin combing through the newsletter for summer opportunities that interest you!

Not already on our Pre-Law Compass page? All Illini can access it. Just follow these simple steps, which are also posted on our website.

1. Login to Compass

2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Browse Course Catalog

3. Type Pre-Law into the search box and click “Go”. You’ll see our Compass page called OPEN LEARNING: Pre-Law Advising Services

4. Under the “Course ID” column, click on the drop down menu (the circle with the downward arrow) that appears


5. Select Enroll (after clicking on the drop down menu arrow)

6. The Pre-Law Advising Services Compass page will appear in the “My Courses” section of your Compass homepage.


*Please note that it can take up to 24 hours for a newly enrolled course to appear in your My Courses menu

Positions are available throughout Illinois, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Indianapolis, and other cities across the country. Many positions have due dates over break and in early Spring, so we encourage you to begin working on applications as soon as possible.

November LSAT takers: 5 Things to Do NOW

November LSAT registration was very high, and lots of people are now submitting their applications. An inside tip that we want to share: Many of last year’s November LSAT takers ended up waiting until January to apply. Why? It was Fall Break, then finals, then the holidays, then winter break…and before they knew it, it was the end of January. Our advice? DON’T WAIT.

Remember that most law schools use rolling admissions–they have been admitting people since September. So your goal should be to complete your applications as soon as your LSAT score is released on December 19. Here’s what to do now.

  1. Complete the writing portion of the LSAT. Many law schools will not review your application until you finish the writing section of the LSAT so hop on that ASAP!
  2. Register for the Credential Assembly Service if you haven’t already. This is the account where your letter of recommendation writers will send your letter–and they can’t write your letter until you set this up.  Click here for more information.
  3. Follow up with your recommenders. By now you should have already approached your letter of recommendation writers, but if not, NOW is the time. Provide a resume and allow at least 6-8 weeks for them to write and upload the letter to your CAS account.
  4. Order your transcript(s) now. Note: You will need to order a transcript from every undergraduate institution where you took courses–even summer courses–so now is a good time to reach out to the registrar of any community colleges or schools from which you transferred. Here is where you order your UIUC transcript. Want more information about the LSAC’s transcript policies? Go here.
  5. Write your personal statement. Our personal statement workshops are finished for the year, but we also provide a quick overview of the personal statement in our PLAS Handbook. Click on the “Applying to Law School” tab.  Once there, select the “Personal Statement” tab.  We have additional information in the “Applying to Law School” section of our PLAS Compass page. As both of these resources explain, each law school will have its own prompt(s) for the personal statement. While you may discover that many of these personal statement prompts are similar, you need to CAREFULLY REVIEW each prompt for each law school and reply to that prompt. Besides giving you a topic or direction to take, the prompt may also contain information about font size, page limits, etc. You need to open your CAS account and then begin to apply to each law school to see the details in each application. Note: just because you open an application today does NOT mean you have to finish it today. You can begin your law school applications and then go back and work on them at your own pace.
  6. Research law schools. The very first thing to consider is: What are your top 3 priorities in a legal education? (Location, employment, affordability, and admissibility are common priorities.) You’ll want to develop a list of 8-10 law schools that meet those priorities. You can find LSAT/GPA data, employment information, tuition, and more by using a resource like the American Bar Association’s Required Disclosure reports. On this website you will find these reports:
    1. 509 Required Disclosures = Previous year’s incoming class data such as GPA, LSAT, ethnicity, number of applicants + admits, etc., plus you can find tuition, number and amount of scholarships awarded, and transfer data.
    2. Employment Outcomes = Law schools are required to report the employment status of graduates 10 months after graduation. Here you will see how many of the law schools’s most recent grads are employed, and in what sectors.
    3. Bar Passage Outcomes = Law schools must report bar passage data about a year out. This report will show which state bar exam this school’s grads take, how many pass, and comparisons to the general state pass rate.

If you have questions and would like to meet with an advisor, go here to schedule an appointment. We will be available until December 20 and then again in January.


Dec. and Winter Break Pre-Law Appointment Availability

December is prime law school application season, and our November LSAT registration was high, so we know that this will be a very busy month in terms of our appointments.

Pre-law advising appointments will be available through Dec. 20. Our office will close and reopen on Monday, January 6. Limited advising appointments will be available over winter break from January 6 through January 17. The winter break appointment slots will be released the week of Dec. 15. You can select phone, Zoom, or in-person formats for your appointment. (Click here to schedule.)

Due to a high appointment volume between now and Dec. 20, please make sure to follow these guidelines.

For personal statement/essay reviews: When you are ready to get our input, make an appointment and upload your documents. We are not able to provide reviews via email. We can only review what you have uploaded when you made the appointment. Click here to schedule.
Please only make one appointment at a time. Back-to-back or multiple appointments within one week will be cancelled so that we can provide availability for other Illini.
We cannot fix your LSAC account or troubleshoot a problem with your CAS. LSAT or CAS questions can be directed to the LSAC at 215-968-1001.
Need to order a transcript? Our Pre-Law Handbook includes a step by step guide for ordering your Illinois transcript. Click on Applying to Law School and then CAS and Transcripts.
Many application questions are addressed in the Pre-Law Handbook here . Click on the Applying to Law School tab and you’ll find orange sub-tabs for each element of the application.

Mark Your Calendars: Week of December 2

Pre-Law Events

Personal Statement & Resume workshop–Today (Monday Dec. 2) at 4:00 pm. All Illinois students and alumni are welcome, particularly those who will be applying to law school this fall. Register here. This workshop will cover:

  • What the personal statement is (and isn’t)
  • The role of the statement in the application process
  • A suggested plan for drafting it
  • An overview of law school resumes
  • How to make sure that your resume and personal statement complement each other.

Taking the GRE? We have vouchers that expire Dec. 31 for a $50 discount on GRE registration fees. Email Jamie at if you are planning to take the GRE to apply to law school and we can provide you with one of the vouchers.

Law School/Legal Education Events

Harvard Law School Online Info Sessions. Interested in learning some tips about applying to Harvard Law School?  HLS has begun offering online information sessions.  Some concern the admissions process, others offer insight into campus life, student organizations, and clinical opportunities at HLS. Click here to register for these upcoming sessions, and to see the entire schedule. 

    • Need-Based Financial Aid — Dec. 5, 12:00-1:00 pm Eastern Time
    • JD Application Requirements & Insights – Dec. 14, 3:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time

AccessLex, a nonprofit working to educate law students about the financial aspects of legal education, invites all who are interested to these free upcoming webinars. Click here to register and to view their full schedule.

    • The Road to Zero: A Strategic Approach to Student Loan Repayment, Dec. 4, 9:00 pm (ET)
    • Your Public Service Loan Forgiveness Plan Webinar, Dec. 5, 4:00 pm (ET)

Internships and Jobs

We’ll be posting our winter break Internship Newsletter on Dec. 9! We’ve also been posting internships and job opportunities for December grads over on our Pre-Law Compass page and on our Facebook page. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss any postings!

Career Center

Handshake–Looking for internships, jobs, career fairs, networking receptions, or other professional opportunities? Handshake is where it’s at! All students, not just seniors, should set up an account and start checking in on a consistent basis to see what opportunities interest you. Set up your account here.

ALL students should utilize the Career Center’s services! They offer a variety of programs to help you identify career paths through workshops, career fairs and individual meetings. Click on the link above to view all of their offerings.

Here are some of their upcoming events:

      • International Student Career Meetup: What Employers are Looking For – Dec. 6, 4:30-6:30pm, Career Center Conference Room (143)
      • Peace Corps Drop Ins – Dec. 6 & Dec. 10, 10:30-12:30, Career Center Resource Room
      • Resume, Cover Letter, and Linked In Reviews are offered almost every day. Check the website for times and locations.


UK Summer Fulbright Information Session–Dec. 6, 3:00-4:00 pm, 1090 Lincoln Hall.

The US-UK Fulbright Commission offers special Summer Institutes for US citizens to come to the UK.  These summer programs provide the opportunity for undergraduates (aged over 18), with at least two years of undergraduate study left to complete, to come to the UK on a three, four, five, or six week academic and cultural summer program.  There were nine Summer Programs available for US students in 2019.  The Summer Institutes cover the majority of the participant costs (round-trip airfare from the US to the UK, tuition and fees at the university, room and board, and social programs).  More information about the institutes and their application can be found at:

This info session will tell you everything you need to know about the benefits of attending a UK Fulbright Summer Institute and how to be a competitive applicant. We hope to see you there!