Attorney + Social Justice – What does it really mean?

Social justice is at the forefront of many things, and with good reason. In fact, more and more law school admission professionals have indicated an increase in student applications reflecting interest in pursuing a law career to become social justice advocates.

But what does it mean to be a social justice advocate? And, more specifically, what does social justice mean in the legal context? How can you, as a future attorney, gather the skills and information necessary to become the social justice advocate you desire to be?

This post explores what it looks like to be a social justice advocate and a practicing attorney.

Defining Social Justice

Merriam-Webster defines social justice as “a state or doctrine of egalitarianism.” Britannica states that “social justice, in contemporary politics, social science, and political philosophy, the fair treatment and equitable status of all individuals and social groups within a state or society.” The term also is used to refer to social, political, and economic institutions, laws, or policies that collectively afford such fairness and equity and is commonly applied to movements that seek fairness, equity, inclusion, self-determination, or other goals for currently or historically oppressed, exploited, or marginalized populations.

The term appears (although not defined) in The Federalist Papers No. 7. You can also find elements of social justice in theories such as Critical Race Theory, Motivational Interviewing, and Baxter-Magolda’s Theory of Self-Authorship.

In the legal sense, the definition is similar: “Social justice is justice that follows the principle that all individuals and groups are entitled to fair and impartial treatment. Social justice attempts to prevent human rights abuses. Social justice is based on notions of equality and equal opportunity in society. It focuses on the full and equal participation of all citizens in economic, social, and political aspects of the nation. Social justice can also refer to advantages and disadvantages distributed in a society.” (emphasis added)

Social justice is focused on justice, fair and impartial treatment, equality, and equal opportunity, and preventing abuses based on social injustices.

Principles/Goals of Social Justice

As you continue to understand what social justice means to you, consider the following articulated principles/goals of social justice as presented by GenV and Kent State:

  • Human Rights
  • Access
  • Participation
  • Equity
  • Diversity

Do any of these principles stand out to you? How do you see yourself advancing social justice issues within these categories? How can a law degree and career as an attorney support your goals of social justice through some or all of these lenses?

Lawyers and Social Justice

Based on the definitions and principles listed above, you can see clear themes emerging around how an individual perceives social justice. Understanding what social justice means is important in figuring out how you want to contribute towards social justice causes through your law school and legal careers.

Here are some examples of social justice issues that intersect with the law highlighted by the advocacy organization Pachamama:

  • Voting Laws (i.e. redistricting and voter ID)
  • Policing Laws (i.e. search and seizure and drug scheduling)
  • Environmental Laws (i.e. clean water and air, industrial waste disposal)
  • Health Care Laws (i.e. insurance mandates and coverage eligibility)
  • Education Laws (i.e. public school segregation and integration)
  • Labor Laws (i.e. worker’s rights, occupational health and safety)

The reality is social justice efforts inform almost all aspects of society and the human experience ranging from Climate Justice to Healthcare to Racial Justice to LGBTQIA+ Oppression to Sizeism to Ageism to Hunger and Food Insecurity. You can explore these areas here: 10 Social Justice Issues of 2022. Understanding what the role of law and the legal system is within these causes is important to understanding if a law degree and legal career is right for you.


Social Justice and You

If social justice is a big reason why you want to attend law school and practice law, it will be important that you give the concept some thought; especially if you cite this in your personal statement. Review the definitions listed above and research your own. Use the examples provided to paint a picture in your mind about what being a social justice advocate means to you.

As you develop your goals, be sure to explore the ways in which attorneys work within the universe of social justice causes that are of most interest to you.  Are they helping to create policy?  Do they represent clients, who are these clients?  What type of legal matters or issues require attorney representation? Do you see yourself advocating for these causes through your full-time work or perhaps your pro bono work? How can you weave your passion for social justice into your life?

Law Schools + Social Justice:

Law Schools strive to educate future attorneys who are ready to work on the most pressing legal issues and challenges in our society. As a result, law schools are continually evolving, reflecting on their curriculums and missions to ensure they are offering opportunities to learn in areas most relevant for attorneys today. As legal education continues to evolve and adapt, many law schools have expanded to include curricular offers that specifically offer learning opportunities on social justice topics, including clinics! Be sure to learn about these opportunities at law schools you are interested in.

As you look to the future, continue to refine what social justice means to you and how you could use your skills and experiences to advance a social justice cause, through your legal career, in a way that is meaningful to you.

To help you get started, check out the article “Top Schools Schools for Racial Justice” found in the Fall 2022 Edition of PreLaw Magazine or stop by the PLAS office and pick up a copy of the full magazine.

Alumni Attorney Talks

Alumni Attorney Talks is a virtual series which aims to provide prospective law students with 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.

BONITA B. HWANG CHO

OWNER & PARTNER, LAW OFFICES OF CHENG, CHO & YEE

SPECIALIZING IN IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW

Learn more about the Law Offices of Cheng, Cho & Yee here.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT bonita b. hwang cho
  • Law School: Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • UIUC Undergraduate Major: Business Administration
  • Ms. Cho’s Three Words to Describe an Attorney:

Meaningful | Worthwhile Impactful

CHECK OUT THIS INSIGHTFUL INTERVIEW BELOW! 

October Snapshot

October is officially here and the busy application season is in full swing!  Below is a list of important dates, upcoming events, and reminders for this month. Be sure to check back regularly. The Snapshot is updated weekly with new events and deadlines.

October 1: DEADLINE! Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Scholarship | For more information, click here.

October 1: DEADLINE! Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. Law School Disability Scholarship | For more information, click here.

October 2: DEADLINE! Last day to apply to become an I STAR Ambassador | For additional information and to apply, click here.

October 3: DEADLINE! Last day to apply for Fulbright scholarship | For additional information and to apply, click here.

October 3: DEADLINE! Campus deadline for Churchill scholarship |For more additional information and to apply, click here.

October 3: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 4:00 pm Wholers Hall. For more information, click here.

October 4: DEADLINE! Last day to apply for the Gilman scholarship | For more information and to apply, click here.

October 4: AccessLex Webinar – Applying to Law School |3:00 pm ONLINE. For more information and to register, click here.

October 4: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 4:00 pm Lincoln Hall. For more information, click here.

October 4: The Suite Life on Campus: Managing Healthy Relationships and Conflict | 7:00 pm in 1041 BIF. For more information, click here.

October 5: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 7:00 pm ISR 94AB. For more information, click here.

October 6: In Focus Workshop | 1:00 pm at Psychology Building Room 11. For more information, click here.

October 6: Critical Language Scholarship Information Session | 3:30 pm at 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 6: PLAS Workshop – Drafting Your Application | 5:30 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 7: Perfectionism Series | 1:00 pm in Lincoln Hall 1092. For more information and to register, click here.

October 7: Alumni Talk: The Peace Corps and the State Department: Great Career Moves | 2:00 pm in Coble Hall room 306. For more information, click here.

October 10: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 4:00 pm Wholers Hall. For more information, click here.

October 10: PLAS Workshop – Pre-Law 101 Session One | 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 11: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 4:00 pm Lincoln Hall. For more information, click here.

October 11: Acing your Interview | 5:00 pm in Career Center Conference Room 143. For more information, click here.

October 12: AccessLex Webinar – Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students |11:00 am ONLINE. For more information and to register, click here.

October 12: “Paying for Law School” Workshop (in Spanish) from AccessLex | 6:00 pm on Zoom. To register, click here.

October 12: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 7:00 pm ISR 94AB. For more information, click here.

October 13: AccessLex Webinar – Paying for Law School | 1:00 pm ONLINE. For more information and to register, click here.

October 13: Goldwater Scholarship Information Session | 3:30 pm in 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 13: Creating a Powerful Resume | 5:00 pm Career Center Conference Room 143. For more information, click here.

October 13: “Reporting on Politics and Elections” Panel from The Frank Center for Leadership & Innovation in Media | 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Knight Auditorium at Spurlock Museum or join via Zoom. For more information and Zoom registration, click here.

October 14 – 15: October LSAT Best wishes to everyone taking the LSAT this weekend!

October 14: ONLINE Goldwater Scholarship Information Session | 9:00 am on Zoom. For more information, click here.

October 14: Special Event! College of Law Vacketta-DLA Piper Lecture on the Role of Government and the Law featuring Micheal Strautmanis, ’94 | 12:00 pm in the Max L. Rowe Auditorium, Law Building. For more information, click here.

October 14: UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program Info Session | 12:00 pm on Zoom | For more information, and to attend, click here.

October 14: Perfectionism Series | 1:00 pm in Lincoln Hall 1092. For more information and to register, click here.

October 14: Goldwater Scholarship Workshop | 3:00 pm at 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 14: DEADLINE! Champaign County Public Defender Internship | To apply, click here.

October 14: DEADLINE! Last day to apply for the Castillo Scholars Mentorship Program through Loyola Chicago Law School. For additional information and to apply, click here.

October 15: DEADLINE! Enjuris Scholarship Essay Contest | For more information, click here.

October 15: DEADLINE! Illinois Club Scholarships | For more information, click here.

October 17: PLAS Workshop – Pre-Law 101 Session Two | 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 17: Creating Your Powerful Cover Letter | 5:00 pm in Career Center Conference Room 143. For more information, click here.

October 17: IU Maurer: Law and Technology: Intellectual Property (including NIL Initiative)| 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 18: PLAS Workshop – Legal Studies Minor Info Session | 2:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 18: Don’t Stop Believing in Yourself: Learning Self-Compassion | 7:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 19: Graduate and Professional School Fair | 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm at the Illini Union. For more information, click here.

October 19: AccessLex Webinar – Your Law School Investment |4:00 pm ONLINE. For more information and to register, click here.

October 19: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 5:00 pm BIF 1041. For more information, click here.

October 19: Finding an Internship | 5:00 pm Career Center Conference Room 143. For more information, click here.

October 20: Dean’s Public Engagement Lecture: Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Carter | 12:00 pm in Max L. Rowe Auditorium, Law Building. For more information, click here.

October 20: Boren Scholarship Information Session |3:30 pm at 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 20: AccessLex Webinar – Choosing a Law School | 5:00 pm ONLINE. For more information and to register, click here.

October 20: IU Maurer: International Law| 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 21: ONLINE Boren Scholarship Information Session | 9:00 am on Zoom. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 21: Perfectionism Series | 1:00 pm in Lincoln Hall 1092. For more information and to register, click here.

October 21: Boren Scholarship Undergraduate Workshop | 3:00 pm in 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 22: October LSAC Digital Law School Forum | 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm ONLINE. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 24: Spring course recommendations out on the blog!

October 24: Spring LSAT Study Groups!  Interested students planning to sit for an upcoming 2023 LSAT exam (January-June) are invited to sign-up for a peer study group!  Click here for additional details and to sign-up!  Sign-ups end November 13.

October 24: IU Maurer: Name, Image Likeness Initiative | 6:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 25: A Fireside Chat with Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White | 12:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 25: Test Anxiety Program | 1:00 pm Lincoln Hall 1027. For more information, click here.

October 25: Mental Health Fair | 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Illini Union. For more information, click here.

October 25: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information, click here.

October 25: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Addressing Body Image | 7:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 26: Business Majors Only: Pre-Law Advising Information Session at the GIES Undergraduate Success Lab | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm In Person – Business Instructional Facility 1401. For more information and to register, click here.

October 26: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 5:00 pm BIF 1041. For more information, click here.

October 27: DEADLINE! Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans | For more information, click here.

October 27: Beinecke Scholarship Information Session | 3:30 pm in 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 27: Recognition, Insight, and Openness (RIO) series“Feeling Overwhelmed and Looking to Get ‘Unstuck?'” | 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information, click here.

October 27: IU Maurer: Family Office Program| 5:00 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 27: Roosevelt University Paralegal Studies Program Information Session | 6 pm ONLINE. For more information, click here.

October 27: Atlanta’s John Marshall Virtual Open House | 6 pm on Zoom. For more information and to register, click here.

October 27: The World of Patent Law: A Panel Presentation | 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Online. Sponsors: Council on Intellectual Property, NYC Bar Association and the Office of Preprofessional Advising, Berick Center for Student Advising, Columbia University. To learn more and register, click here.

October 27: APPtitude certificate program Information Session | 12:00 pm via Zoom. Pre-registration is not required, click here for additional information.  For students with anticipated graduation dates of December 2024, May 2025, or August 2025. 

October 28: Application for TRIALS 2023, hosted by NYU School of Law opens | for more details, click here.

October 28: APPtitude certificate program Information Session (ENCORE) | 10:00 am via Zoom. Pre-registration is not required, click here for additional information. For students with anticipated graduation dates of December 2024, May 2025, or August 2025. 

October 28: ONLINE Beinecke Scholarship Information Session | 9:00 am on Zoom. For more information and to attend, click here.

October 28: AccessLex Webinar – Building Your Law School Budget | 11:00 am ONLINE. For more information and to register, click here.

October 28: Beinecke Scholarship Workshop | 3:00 pm in 514 IUB. For more information, click here.

October 29: Sophomore Super Saturdays | Hosted by CLEO and co-hosted by the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. For more information and to register, click here.

October 29: Road to Law School | Hosted by CLEO and co-hosted by the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. For more information and to register, click here.

October 29: Juniors Jumpstart the LSAT | Hosted by CLEO and co-hosted by the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. For more information and to register, click here.

October 31: DEADLINE! Good Works Scholarship | For more information. click here.

October 31: Acing Your Interview | 5:00 pm in Career Center Conference Room 143. For more information, click here.

October 31: Internship with the Office of Congressman Sean Casten in Washington D.C. and Glen Ellyn, IL | Applications are due November 11, 2022. For more information and to apply, click here

October 31: UChicago Law Admissions On-Campus Visit | 12:15 pm – 4:00 pm – To learn more, click here.

September Snapshot

September 1: Application Deadline! Applications for the Pre-Law Advisory Council are due today! For more information and to apply, please click here.

September 1: DEADLINE! Last day to register for the October LSAT – please visit LSAC for more information.

September 1: Gilman Scholarship Information Session | 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at 1065 Lincoln Hall. For more information, click here.

September 1: We CU Community-Engaged Scholars Information Session | 4pm on Zoom. To register, click here.

September 2: ONLINE Gilman Scholarship Information Session | 9:00 am – 10:00 am via Zoom. For more information, click here.

September 2: Gilman Scholarship Workshop Session | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. For more information, click here.

September 6: Career Preparation Workshop at the Career Center715 S. Wright Street from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For additional information about this opportunity, click here.

September 6: Luce Scholarship Priority Deadline – For more information on this scholarship opportunity, click here.

September 7: Political Science & Economics Fall Kickoff | David Kinley Hall South Lawn, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm. For more information, please contact the Economics or Political Science departments.

September 7: IU Maurer School of Law Admissions Info Session | Virtual | 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CT. For more information and to register, click here.

September 7: Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) Informational Meeting | Virtual |3:00pm – 4:00pm. Click here for more information and for the Zoom link.

September 8: Gates Scholarship Priority Deadline – For more information about this scholarship opportunity, click here.

September 9: Application Deadline! 2022-2023 Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board. For additional information about this opportunity, click here.

September 9: Churchill Scholarship Information Session | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. For more information, click here.

September 9: UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program Info Session | Virtual | 12:00pm CST. Click here to attend the session.

September 9 – 10: September LSAT Best wishes to everyone taking the LSAT this weekend!

September 12: Knight Hennessy Scholarship Priority Deadline – For more information about this scholarship opportunity, click here.

September 12: PLAS Workshop – Drafting Your Application at 4:00 pm. To learn more and register, click here.

September 12: Marquette Law Diversity Information Session | 3:30pm – 4:30pm in Eckstein Hall. To learn more and register, click here.

September 12: Application Deadline! Peer Advocate Program. For more information click here.

September 13: FREE LSAT Workshop | 6:00pm – 7:30pm. To register, click here.

September 13: Career Preparation Workshop at the Career Center715 S. Wright Street from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For additional information about this opportunity, click here.

September 13: Reproductive Justice Collaborative Panel Discussion |4:00pm – 5:30pm at 300 Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois, Champaign. For more information, click here.

September 14: PLAS Workshop – Pre-Law 101| Session One at 5:00 pm. To learn more and register, click here.

September 15: Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) Informational Meeting | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at 123 David Kinley Hall.

September 16: Apply for Illinois Club Scholarships! | Applications are due by October 15th. For more information click here.

September 16: Constitution Day 2022: Interpreting the Constitution | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm at the Max L. Rowe Auditorium, Illinois College of Law. Also available to view via Livestream. For more information, click here.

September 16: Conversation Café & Friday Forum |12:00pm – 1:00pm at University YMCA. For more information, click here.

September 18: DEADLINE! Last day to sign up to volunteer at the 2022 Law School Fair – Sign up to volunteer at the Law School Fair! Various shifts are available. To sign up, click here.

September 20: Schwarzman Scholarship Deadline for US/Global Applicants | For more information about this scholarship opportunity, click here.

September 21: PLAS Workshop – Pre-Law 101| Session Two at 5:00 pm. To learn more and register, click here.

September 22: IU Maurer School of Law Admissions Info Session | In-Person|12:00 pm – 2:00 pm CT. For more information and to register, click here.

September 23: Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) Informational Meeting | 3:00 – 4:00 pm at 1002 Lincoln Hall.

September 24: Chicago LSAC Law School Forum | 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. To learn more, click here.

September 28: LAW SCHOOL FAIR – Illini Union – 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. To learn more click here. No pre-registration is required. Free and open to all!

September 29: DEADLINE! Last day to register for the November LSAT– please visit LSAC for more information.

September 29: Truman Scholarship Information Session | 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at 514 Illini Union Bookstore. For more information, click here.

September 30: ONLINE Truman Scholarship Information Session | 9:00 am – 10:00 am via Zoom. For more information, click here

September 30: Truman Scholarship Workshop Session | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building. For more information, click here.

September 30: DEADLINE! Last day to apply for the Internship with Office of University Counsel | For more information, click here.

Pre-Law Registered Student Organizations at UIUC

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

Click on the button below to view a PowerPoint with information on all the student organizations or scroll down to learn more!

Asian Pre-Law Association (APLA)

Email

Website

Instagram

About: “APLA strives to provide a space/community for Asian-American and Pacific Islanders to discuss unique issues and stigmas facing AAPI in the law, while supporting AAPI throughout the law school application process and/or pursual of a career in law/politics through resources and workshops, particularly AAPI-interest law.”

Illinois Trial Team

Email

Website

Instagram

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.”

Undergraduate Law Review

Email

Website

Instagram

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.”

Kappa Alpha Pi (KAP)

Email

Website

Instagram

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.”

Minority Association for Future Attorneys (MAFA)

Email

Instagram

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

Phi Alpha Delta (PAD)

Email

Instagram

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.”

Phi Delta Phi (PDP)

Email

Instagram

About: “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. 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.”

UIUC Pre-Law Club

Email

Website

Instagram

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.”

UIUC Pre-Law Honors Society

Email

Website

Instagram

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.”

Women in Law (WIL)

Instagram

About: “Women in Law provides prelaw students insight into the legal world in regard to lobbying, legal review of the law, and gender inequality within the career field itself. We perform legal research, discuss the limitations of women under the law, and make meaningful change/awareness through a variety of methods.”

Women’s Undergraduate Law Society (WULS)

Email

Instagram

About: “WULS creates safe and productive work environments for aspiring law students, provides prelaw resources for all class levels, and creates a network of women who are interested in the legal field.”

Q and A with Law School Admission Experts

Meet the Law Admission Experts:

Nicole Vilches

Assistant Dean for Admissions
Chicago-Kent College of Law

Janet L. Hein

Director of Admissions
Indiana University – Maurer School of Law

Rebecca Ray

Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid
University of Illinois College of Law

Katherine Scannell

Vice Dean for Institutional Success
Washington University School of Law

Read the Q & A:

Q: What do you wish more applicants would do (or not do) in the application process?

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “You should create a timeline for applying since advance planning is key in the application process. You should plan to devote about six to eight months to the process, including time to study for the LSAT, prepare your personal statement and resume, request letters of recommendation, research schools, attend law school information sessions, and visit schools in person. It is also important to allocate sufficient time to prepare for the LSAT. You should plan to take the test once and only retake the test if you are fairly certain that your score will improve. You should also take the test early enough in the application cycle that you have time to register for a later exam without significantly delaying your applications. As you complete your applications, you should carefully proofread all of your application materials and make sure that you have fully answered all of the questions. You should also anticipate questions the Admissions Committee might have (for example, a period of weak undergraduate grades) and address those in an addendum. We would much prefer to hear directly from you rather than be left wondering about something in your application.”

  • IU Maurer:

    “DO: Plan ahead and create an “applying to law school” timeline. DO: Speak with a variety of people involved in legal education from a variety of perspectives (pre-law advisors, admissions professionals/counselors, current law students, faculty, alumni, and lawyers) DO: your own self-assessment about your ultimate goals, and is law school the path to achieve them DON’T: use social media for law school research – seek out the experts including your pre-law advisors and law school admissions professionals DON’T: ignore the non-statistical pieces of the application, particularly the personal statement. This is your opportunity to make your “case” for admission by expertly communicating your passion for this path. DON’T: wait late in the cycle to apply! Don’t rush either, but make sure you have a well-planned application timeline so that you apply well before law school priority deadlines.”

  • UIUC:

    “I wish more applicants would take advantage of the resources available to them. UIUC students are very lucky to have a robust and expert Pre-Law Advising department. The flip side of this is that I wish students wouldn’t put so much stock in what they read on the internet about the law school application process. In short, I wish students would rely on the bona fide experts, i.e., Pre-Law advisors, and less on anonymous message boards.”

  • WashU:

    “Apply early! Like most law schools, our application opens on September 1, and our admissions committee makes decisions on a rolling basis. Although we review applications in the same way throughout the cycle – quite frankly, schools have more capacity – and more seats to fill – early on. Confirm whether the schools you are applying to make admissions decisions on a rolling basis, or wait to review applications until later in the cycle. We encourage candidates to supplement their application throughout the cycle with updates to their resume, letters of recommendation, accomplishments, LSAT score, etc. Supplementing also gives candidates an extra touchpoint with an admissions team, and a way to express continued interest. While there are certain pieces of the application that do need to be in final form before submitting – I encourage candidates to view their application as a living document – apply early and supplement, rather than waiting to apply when every piece is complete. WashULaw appreciates knowing about your interest early, even if we need to hold your decision until your application is complete. Be sure to check the preferences of other schools on your list.”

Q: What do you think is the most important thing for freshman and sophomore students to focus on if they have ambitions toward law school?

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “It is very important to confirm that the legal profession is the right career path for you before you reach the point of applying to law school. You should look for opportunities to learn about the legal profession. This can be done through joining prelaw groups, attending presentations, conducting informational interviews with attorneys, and through internships and work experience. In addition, many law schools allow prospective students to visit first-year classes. This is a great opportunity to learn what the law school academic experience is like. It is also very important to take classes that will develop the skills that you will use in law school and legal practice. You should take classes that will develop your writing skills as well as your research and analysis skills. Finally, there are costs associated with applying to law school and visiting schools, so it is never too early to start saving funds for this purpose.”

  • IU Maurer:

    “ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL SUCCESS. Grades are extremely important in the application process of course. But take advantage of everything your college has to offer both in and out of the classroom.”

  • UIUC:

    “We are looking for students who make the most of the opportunities in front of them. Your first two years of undergrad are a great time to start doing that! Keeping undergraduate grades as high as possible should be a focus, but not to the exclusion of other activities. Students should be well-rounded. That will look different for every student, but it could be a part-time job, extra-curriculars, or volunteering. None of this needs to be law-focused unless the student wants it to be.”

  • WashU:

    “Pursue curiosities and try different things! Your freshman and sophomore years are opportune times to try your hand at a variety of subjects, and see what fits best. This advice is two-fold: first, if you are interested in the subject area, you will be more motivated to study it; and second, if you study hard, you will (usually) do well in the subject, which translates in your performance….. (do you see the connection here?!) You do not need a political science or history degree to go to law school. WashULaw is looking for students with unique backgrounds who will bring a dynamic perspective to the classroom and broader community. It is not unusual for us to have an entering class with 50 plus different undergraduate majors!”

Q: What is one of the simplest ways an applicant can stand out in a positive way?

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “Put together a thoughtful and compelling application package. Everything you include should enhance our understanding of you as a candidate for admission. You should also be strategic about your extracurricular, internship, and work experiences. Think about why you are pursuing those activities and how you are developing as a result of the experiences you are gaining.”

  • IU Maurer:

    “We are not looking for applicants to stand out. We are looking for the best fit for our law school and applicants are also looking at the best law school fit for them. Applicants need to be honest, open, and detailed in all aspects of the application. This can take the form of many things, depending on the context of the applicant’s situation, experiences, and life. This will be apparent in letters of recommendation, resume, and personal statement.”

  • UIUC:

    “Applicants stand out positively for lots of different reasons. The best way to do that is to be authentic to who you are and not try to fit any kind of mold of who you think we’re looking for. Be yourself, and you’ll end up at a law school that is the right fit for you.”

  • WashU:

    “The little things matter! It sounds obvious, but make sure your written materials are typo-free. If you are offered an interview or visit a law school, make sure you put your best foot forward and show that you are happy to be there. Positive energy spreads!”

Q: What is one of the simplest ways an applicant can stand out in a negative way?

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “Submitting an application without giving it the proper time and attention. This includes things like typing the entire application in lowercase letters, poor proofreading (especially in supplemental statements), failure to follow the application instructions, and failure to provide full and complete information in response to the application questions. You should take each aspect of the admissions process seriously.”

  • IU Maurer:

    “A poorly communicated application. There are many ways this can go negative such as descending grades (with no explanation), negative letters of recommendation, and/or a poorly written personal statement.”

  • UIUC:

    “The easiest way to stand out in a negative way is to not follow the application directions.”

  • WashU:

    “Project confidence, not arrogance. Also, admissions offices understand candidates are typically applying to more than one school – make sure your written materials include the name of the school you are applying to (and not the name of another school where you are applying…believe me, it happens!).”

Q: What is an example of a good experience or activity to engage in as an undergraduate student to prepare for law school and why?

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “As I mentioned earlier, it is important to make sure that the legal profession is the right career path for you before you apply to law school, so anything that will give you insight into the day-to-day practice of law will be helpful. In terms of the admissions process, we don’t have specific activities and experiences that we are looking for since our applicants come from a wide variety of backgrounds. You should pursue activities that are meaningful to you and that align with your interests and career goals.”

  • IU Maurer:

    “An experience that is outside of an applicant’s comfort zone, and communicating that expertly to an admissions committee. This can also take the form of a leadership or leading role in the activity. If the experience was tried and ended up not being a desirable one, that is a lesson as well.”

  • UIUC:

    “Students should be intentional about getting to know their faculty. I’m not a fan of doing things just because you think it will help you get into law school, but this will help you no matter what you decide to do post-undergrad! Go to office hours. Take a second (or third!) class with a professor you enjoyed. From a practical standpoint, this will lay the groundwork for letters of recommendation down the road; however, I suspect most students will value these relationships for reasons beyond a positive letter of recommendation. Being intentional about this process is especially important for students at larger universities, such as UIUC.”

  • WashU:

    “Any opportunities that require extra writing or public speaking experience. Research or TA positions are great. Try out moot court or mock trial. Speech and debate organizations, any publishing opportunities, writing competitions – really any activities that allow you to hone research, writing, analytical, and communication skills. Substantive internships and work experience will also be beneficial. Work experience doesn’t have to be legal.”

Q: What is one thing that many applicants may not know about your school, but you wish they did?

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “Chicago-Kent has outstanding faculty members who excel in teaching and involve students in their research. Our faculty is ranked 40th in the nation based on scholarly impact and we are one of only three law schools in Chicago to be recognized on this assessment of faculty scholarship. As a student at Chicago-Kent, you will have the opportunity to study with professors who are recognized thought leaders and who are dedicated to training the next generation of lawyers. Read more here.

  • IU Maurer:

    “The high level of intellectual engagement coupled with the overwhelmingly strong bonds between students as well as students bonds with faculty, staff, and alumni. Our students are extremely engaged in activities outside the classroom including projects (within the first month of their 1L year), involvement in student organizations, and community involvement. And all in one of the best college towns in the country.”

  • UIUC:

    “Despite being in Champaign-Urbana, we have strong ties to the Chicago legal market. Most of our students work in Chicago post-graduation. That’s not to say that they don’t end up in other markets around the U.S., but Chicago is the third-largest legal market in the country, it is our largest alumni base, and we have a lot of positive brand recognition there. Our students can spend their last semester in Chicago through our Chicago Program.”

  • WashU:

    “WashULaw is adept at helping each individual student find their best path, and being flexible as that path changes. A part of that is our Career Center, which starts working with the incoming class as soon as the applicant is fully committed to WashULaw. This is important because legal recruiting starts very early, and our students go all over the country – typically to over 30 states and several countries each year, including Washington, DC, New York, Texas, California, and Illinois. Because students go everywhere, it is critical that students have an individualized career plan. Speaking of individualized strategy – if you have any questions about WashULaw, the dynamic city of St. Louis and what makes it great, or the law school application process generally, schedule a pop-in or a consultation. No question is too small!”

Final Thoughts

Click on the arrow to see the responses:
  • Chicago-Kent:

    “Founded in 1888, Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology is the second-oldest law school in Illinois. Chicago-Kent’s forward-thinking approach to legal education combines academic rigor with practical training, readying graduates for a rapidly changing legal industry. Our students receive a comprehensive and practice-focused legal writing foundation that empowers them to be successful at every step of their careers. With faculty who are both scholars and practitioners, a dynamic legal externship program, pioneering legal clinics, and award-winning moot court and trial advocacy teams, Chicago-Kent provides students with skills-based learning opportunities that prepare them to practice law in one of the largest legal markets in the U.S. and beyond.”

  • IU Maurer:

    “As a top 20 public law school, we have earned national acclaim for our programs in business, criminal, environmental, intellectual property, tax, and international law. Our unique Legal Professions course is one reason we are considered a top innovative law program. The collegial community fosters an environment in which our students learn about the roles law plays in structuring society. From day-to-day transactions to the most controversial topics of the moment, our remarkable students come together to learn from our faculty and from one another. We have 10,000+ alumni, located across the country and around the world, and include the first African American to serve on any state supreme court, the first Japanese American admitted to the bar in the US, the first woman chief justice of Wisconsin, and the first woman chief justice of Indiana. IU is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful college campuses and college towns in the country!”

  • UIUC:

    “Students are welcome to make an appointment to meet with a member of the admissions team, take a tour with a current student, and/or sit in on a first-year class. Email law-admissions@illinois.edu to schedule an appointment!”

August Snapshot


WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO WELCOMING YOU BACK TO CAMPUS later this month! as you prepare for the semester, be sure to Take advantage of the various pre-law events happening in AUGUST!

August 1: NEW! Application open for the Pre-Law Advisory Council for more information and to apply, please click here.

August 3: Seton Hall Law School: Virtual Social Justice Summer Workshop Series – Networking plus Meet and Greet Session – In-Person (3:00-5:00 p.m. CST) To learn more and register, please click here.

August 6: DEADLINE! Legally BLK Fund Scholarship – Click here to learn more.

August 9: PLAS Workshop: Application Roadmap at 12:00 pm. Click here for additional information. 

August 10:  JD Advising – Free Law Prep Course for Students – The course is designed to support pre-law students in achieving greater academic success in law school. The course is offered on-demand. It is recommended for individuals beginning law school in an upcoming academic year but can be taken by students in any class year.  To learn more, click here.

August 12: Luce Scholars Information Session online at 9:00 am. To learn more, click here.

August 12: August LSAT Begins – Best wishes to all of our students taking the LSAT this weekend!

August 16: PLAS Workshop: Drafting Your Application at 5:30 pm. Click here for additional information. 

August 16: Kaplan Campus Brand Ambassador Hiring Event – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm CT. To learn more and apply, click hereThis position is also posted on the UIUC Handshake page.

August 17: Kaplan Campus Brand Ambassador Hiring Event – 11:00 am – 1:00 pm CT. To learn more and apply, click hereThis position is also posted on the UIUC Handshake page.

August 19: New Student Convocation – Welcome to Illinois!

August 21: QUAD DAY on the Main Quad from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  Quad Day is a great opportunity to meet with current student leaders from registered student organizations (RSOs) here on campus. To learn more, click here.

August 22: First day of class! Welcome!

August 22: Application Deadline! Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell Scholarships Campus Deadline. To learn more, click here.

August 23: Illinois Trial Team Info Night | DKH Room 119 at 6:30 pm. To learn more, view the flyer.

August 24: Illinois Trial Team Info Night | DKH Room 119 at 6:30 pm. To learn more, view the flyer.

August 25: Application Deadline! Schwarzman Scholarship Priority Deadline. To learn more, click here.

August 26: IU Maurer School of Law Admissions Info Session | In-Person |12:00 pm – 2:00 pm CT. For more information and to register, click here.

August 28: Save the Date! 2022 Law School Fair will be on September 28 at the Illini Union. For more information, click here.

August 29: Application Deadline! Fulbright Campus Deadline. To learn more, click here.

August 29: Pre-Law RSO Panel | In-Person | 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm – Everitt Lab 1306. To learn more, click here.

August 30: Career Preparation Workshop at the Career Center715 S. Wright Street from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For additional information about this opportunity, click here.

August 31: October LSAT Registration Deadline is tomorrow, September 1! To learn more, click here.

August 31: PLAS Workshop: Application Roadmap at 4:00 pm. Click here for additional information. 

Be sure to check back soon…

The Monthly Snapshot is updated weekly throughout the month, be sure to check the Snapshot regularly for new events and programs!

July Snapshot


We hope you are having a safe and enjoyable Summer Break!
Be sure to Take advantage of the various pre-law events happening in July!

 

July 1:  Application Deadline! The Harvard Junior Deferral Program: Application is today! To learn more and apply, click here.

July 1:  Citizens Scholarship Deadline.  Click here to learn more – this is just a quick form to apply!

July 1:  Good Lawyers / Good People Scholarship Deadline.  Click here to learn more.

July 2:  Save the Date! 2022 Law School Fair will take place on Wednesday, September 28! The law fair will be held at the Illini Union (1401 W Green St, Urbana, IL) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. For additional information about this opportunity, click here.

July 4:  Independence Day and University Holiday (offices closed/no classes)

July 4 – 8:  PLAS Office will be closed the week of July 4.  Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July holiday!

July 5:  Seeking Scholarships?  There are many scholarships available for aspiring law students.  Check out the Access Lex Database for upcoming opportunities!

July 8: Coming Soon! Pre-Law Advisory Councilto learn more about this unique opportunity, click here.

July 11 – 29: University of Miami School of Law – Summer Legal Academy: For more information, click here

July 12:  Finding Your Get Up and Go | Lessons for Living:  This webinar from the University of Illinois Extension will help you learn how to give your enthusiasm a boost during challenges.  Click here to register.  The program is offered online at 2:00 pm.

July 12:  Access Lex | 10 Things You Should Know Before Starting Law School  webinar at 2:00 pm (CT)

July 13: Seton Hall Law School: Free Virtual Social Justice Summer Workshop Series – Mass Incarceration and the Constitution – Virtual (12:00-`1:00 p.m. CST) To learn more and register, please click here.

July 15:  Application Deadline! Latino Justice PRLDEF – LawBound: LawBound is a summer program (in August) for pre-law students.  Click here for additional application details.

July 15:  Avnet Law National Scholarship Deadline.  Click here to learn more.

July 16 – July 17:  CLEO 1L Prep – Attitude Is Essential (AIE) Seminar for Fall ’22 first-year law students.  Click here to register. Can’t make the July dates? AIE will also be offered on August 13 & 14.

July 18:  The Career Center Virtual Summer Hours: No appointment is needed. Log on to Zoom at the appropriate time.

        • Virtual Career Advising: Monday – Thursday, 11 am to 1 pm. Zoom link.
        • Virtual Resume and Cover Letter Drop-In Reviews: Monday – Thursday, 1 pm to 3 pm. Zoom link.

July 20:  PLAS Workshop: Application Roadmap at 6:00 pm. Click here for additional information. 

July 20: Seton Hall Law School: Free Virtual Social Justice Summer Workshop Series – Police Accountability and Qualified Immunity – Virtual (12:00-`1:00 p.m. CST) To learn more and register, please click here.

July 23:  Washington, D.C. Law School Fair: Consider attending the in-person law school fair at The Catholic University of America from 11 am – to 3 pm ET. To learn more, click here.

July 26:  Registration Deadline! Last day to register for the September 2022 LSAT. Visit LSAC to register. Prices have increased! The LSAT is now $215 (up from $200).

July 20: Seton Hall Law School: Free Virtual Social Justice Summer Workshop Series – Business Planning for Social Justice – Virtual (12:00-`1:00 p.m. CST) To learn more and register, please click here.

July 28:  Access Lex | 10 Things You Should Know Before Starting Law School  webinar at 4:00 pm (CT)

July 28 & July 29: Pre-Law Diversity Fellowship program hosted by Davis Wright Tremaine | 11 am (CT) To learn more and register, click here.

July 31:  ABC Law Centers Disability Advocacy Scholarship Deadline. Click here to learn more.

Campus Opportunity Highlights

The University of Illinois is rich with opportunities such as prestigious scholarships, internships, externships, international experiences, and research opportunities. Below is a compilation that may be of particular interest to pre-law students looking to enhance their experiences and opportunities during their undergraduate studies.

TIP:  If you are not eligible for an opportunity now due to class year or other criteria; that’s ok!  Planning ahead is an important aspect to your pre-law journey and identifying opportunities now can help you be successful later.  If you see an opportunity that interests you, look at the criteria and qualities listed for successful candidates. Determine what can you do now to develop those qualities to enhance your candidacy later.

Academic Opportunities and Internships:

      • National and International Scholarships:  NIS (a/k/a Top Scholars) assists UIUC students in applying for prestigious opportunities such as Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars, Fulbright, and more. Opportunities include undergraduate and graduate study, research, and teaching–often in foreign countries. This is an excellent opportunity for a summer or semester as an undergrad or a gap year before law school!
      • Illinois in Washington: IIW is the Washington, DC-based academic program for UIUC. Participants live in Washington, DC for a semester, where they intern and take classes taught by UIUC faculty. The program is offered in the fall, spring and summer and is open to all UIUC undergrads. This is an excellent opportunity to enhance your curriculum and resume, not to mention immerse yourself in the unique vibe of the Nation’s Capital!
      • Internships: Internships may be department-sponsored, coordinated through the Career Services office, or procured independently by the student. Internships could be paid, unpaid, and/or for credit. Some examples of internships are listed below. Don’t worry if your major is not listed below, check with your advisor to learn more about major-specific internship opportunities. This is an excellent opportunity to apply your knowledge to real-work scenarios and enhance your resume!
          • Champaign County Public Defender Program: In collaboration with the Champaign County Office of the Public Defender, the Political Science Department directs an internship in the Public Defender’s office for up to five undergraduates per semester for academic credit. Applications are generally due in October for the spring semester and April for the fall semester. For more information, click here.
          • Political Internships in Illinois: A student doing an internship while enrolled on campus can earn three credits through the PS 491 internship course. This program runs in fall and spring only. Typical placements are the district offices of our state and US representatives, local and county government, legal aid, non-governmental organizations, and social service programs. For more information, click here.
          • Department of Psychology | Community Internships: These internships require at least a one academic year commitment. Principles of psychology applied to service problems in the community; students serve as nonprofessional mental health workers in supervised experiences in schools, hospitals, and other nontraditional settings.  To learn more, click here.
          • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Internships: LAS has multiple internship opportunities within the College. Develop effective communication, boost your leadership skills, and learn new technologies through these internships. Experiences include LAS 100, LAS 101, LAS 201, LAS 122, LAS Student Success Coaches, Hood Internship, ATLAS Internships Program, and the Data Science Scholars. To learn more, click here.
          • Check out the PLAS Internship document for additional opportunities! To learn more, click here.

Campus Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities:

      • Pre-Law Registered Student OrganizationsThe University of Illinois has several pre-law RSOs. Visit the blog for a highlight of pre-law student organizations and contact information. This is an excellent opportunity to gain leadership experience while connecting with your UIUC peers.
      • Illinois Leadership Center: Explore the various opportunities presented by the Illinois Leadership Center. There are opportunities for research, to participate in different programs and services, and even to obtain a minor in leadership studies!
      • Volunteer with UIUC: The Office of Civic Life (formerly the Office of Volunteer Programs) cultivates community partnerships that are designed to give students multiple entries to explore pathways to community involvement, global awareness, and civic responsibility. Explore the many ways to volunteer with UIUC by clicking here.
      • Office of Student Engagement: Explore the many opportunities to get involved at UIUC as a student through the Office of Student Engagement. Participate in a student organization, volunteer opportunity, or with a campus committee. To learn more, click here.

Study Abroad and International Opportunities:

      • Education Abroad (Study Abroad): UIUC offers hundreds of opportunities to study abroad. Options include Exchange Programs, Direct Enroll Programs, Provider Programs, and Faculty-Led/Short-Term Programs. With some pre-planning, pre-law students can experience education abroad and enhance their perspectives and resumes. This is an excellent opportunity to try something different, make connections abroad, and learn something new!
      • Off-Campus Political Science Internship: It is possible to earn credit in association with a political internship anywhere in the world, during fall and spring only and subject to departmental approval. The most common example is US State Department internships. The student enrolls in PS 491 and participates long-distance in the same class as the on-campus students. We have had students in Vienna, Paris, Dhaka, St. Petersburg, and at the US Mission to the UN in New York. Plan ahead! For more information visit the State Department website or contact your advisor.
      • Don’t forget! Additional international opportunities exist with the National and International Scholarship programs! To learn more, click here.

Research and Writing Opportunities:

      • Research: UIUC is a world-class research institution which means there are plenty of opportunities available for students to develop their research skills.  These are incredibly valuable skills to develop prior to law schools and an excellent way to expand your learning opportunities. Consider approaching a faculty member in an area you enjoy,  or your academic advisor, to see if any research opportunities exist. This is an excellent opportunity to work closely with faculty, learn new research and writing skills, and contribute to a body of work.  The Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research is an excellent resource to explore.  The Office of Undergraduate Research provides tools and information on how to find research opportunities, develop your own research projects, and highlights successful undergraduate research projects each year in April.

 

As always, reach out to the Pre-Law Advising Office for more information on opportunities that might be right for you!

Congratulations Class of 2022!

“Everyone has some gift, some one thing he can do better than anything else, whether it is teaching, dancing, dramatics, cooking, or some other skill. Find that one thing and give of it to humanity if you want a well-rounded happy life.”

~ Maudelle Tanner Brown Bousfield | Class of 1906

We would like to offer our congratulations to graduating members of the Class of 2022.  Whether you are continuing your education in law school next year or planning to start your professional work after graduation, we congratulate you on the hard work, perseverance, and determination it has taken to realize this milestone in your life.

Congratulations graduates! We wish you all the best!

Warmly,

Pre-Law Advising Services

Don’t lose touch!

Don’t forget, PLAS is here to support you and your law school goals once you graduate.  Whether next year or several years from now, we are here to help!