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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