Wellness + Professionalism

Wellness has many important dimensions...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn More about Time Management…

Financial Wellness

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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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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Tips For Re-Applying to Law School

Achieving second round success…

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

Why did you not ENROLL?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Were you waitlisted?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Tip:  How did you leave it?

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

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

 

 

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Making the Most of Law Fairs

 

Law Fairs provide a unique opportunity each for applicants, and those with future law school goals, to learn more about some of their top choice programs, connect with admissions officers, and discover new schools you may not have considered!  Attending law fairs can be an extremely beneficial part of your strategy for successful admission to your dream school.

Review a list of tips and suggestions shared at our recent Law Chat Live event for some helpful perspectives to make your law fair experience as successful as possible!

Check out our events page for details on upcoming workshops and stay tuned for details on our new Law School Panels this fall exclusively for Illini students and alumni featuring some of the nation’s leading programs! Learn more about upcoming forums or fairs at lsac.org and on our website.

Appointment with a Pre-Law Advisor:  Click here to sign up for an individual or document review appointment with a Pre-Law Advisor.

Good Luck!

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Back to School Snapshot: August – September

WELCOME BACK!

We hope that your summer was relaxing, restorative, and productive!  We are looking forward to reconnecting with you – whether you are planning to apply to law school during the upcoming cycle, considering whether law school might be right for you in a few years, or beginning your academic journey.

Be sure to visit the blog regularly for information and resources, and the monthly Snapshots which are updated weekly with new events and programs!

August 23:  First Day of Classes – Welcome Back!!!

August 25:  LSAT Deadline Registration for October Exam

August 30:  PLAS Workshop:  Application Roadmap at 4:00 pm.  For more information or to register click here.

August 31: PLAS Workshop:  Drafting Your Application Personal Statements | Resumes | Addendums at 4:00 pm.  For more information or to register click here.

September 1:  Law Chat Live @ Noon:  Maximizing the Law Fair Experience

September 2: PLAS: Last day to sign up for a LSAT study group. Registration ends at 11:59pm. Click here to register. 

September 3:  UIUC Fall 2021 Semester Course Add Deadline

September 6:  Labor Day – No Classes

September 8:  Registration Deadline September LSAC Digital Forum (Law Fair)

September 9: AccessLex: Webinar-Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students at 11am. Click here for more information. 

September 10:  LSAC Digital Forum (Law Fair)

September 11: LSAC: Boston Law Fair from 1-3pm. Click here for more information.

September 13: AccessLex: Webinar-Applying to Law School at 2pm. Click here for more information.

September 15:  Law Chat Live @ Noon: Tips for Re-Applying

September 16: PLAS Workshop:  Drafting Your Application Personal Statements | Resumes | Addendums at 4:00 pm.  For more information or to register click here.

September 16, 17, 18 and 19: 8th Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit & Law Expo 2021. Click here to learn more and to register.

September 18: WCC Mock Admissions Committee Workshop and Law School Fair from 10:00-12:00pm PDT. Click here to register.

September 20:  PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101: Session 1 at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

September 20: AccessLex: Webinar-Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students at 8pm. Click here for more information. 

September 21:  PLAS Workshop:  Application Roadmap at 4:00 pm.  For more information or to register click here.

September 21: AccessLex: Webinar-The Road to Zero: A Strategic Approach to Student Loan Repayment at 11am. Click here for more information.

September 22: AccessLex: Webinar-Paying for Law School at 6pm. Click here for more information. 

September 23:  Registration Deadline LSAC Chicago Forum (Law Fair)

September 23:  PLAS Workshop:  Drafting Your Application Personal Statements | Resumes | Addendums at 4:00 pm.  For more information or to register click here.

September 25:  LSAC Forum – Chicago (in-person).  Register online early to select a time-slot.

September 26: The Office of the Provost is accepting applications for appointment to the 2021-2022 Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board. Click here to apply.

September 27:  PLAS Workshop: Pre-Law 101: Session 2 at 5:00 pm. Click here to register.

September 28:  Virtual Law Fair for Illinois Students via Handshake (Day 1 MAPLA Caravan): Click here to register.

September 28: AccessLex: Webinar-The Road to Licensure at 2pm. Click here for more information. 

September 29:  LSAT Deadline Registration for November Exam

September 29:  MAPLA Caravan (Law Fair) Day 2:  in-person at University of Iowa

September 29: Student Affairs: In Focus Series: First day of the First Fall Series.  This in person series will be offered every Wednesday from 1:00-2:20pm until October 20. Click here for more information.

September 29: Tucker Ellis: Careers in Intellectual Property Law from 3:30-5:00pm. You can join virtually or in-person. Click here for more information.

September 30:  MAPLA Caravan (Law Fair) Day 3: in-person at University of Minnesota

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July 2021 Snapshot

July 1: Harvard Junior Deferral Program Application Deadline

July 2:  LSAT Deadline – August LSAT Exam Registration Deadline

July 5: Designated University Holiday – Offices Closed

July 6: Access Lex Champions Information Session at 12:00 pm (EST).  Click here for additional information.

July 6: Access Lex The Road to Zero: A Strategic Approach to Student Loan Repayment at 3:00 pm (EST).  Click here for additional information.

July 12: PLAS 21-22 Application Preview Workshop at 5:00 pm (CST) via Zoom

July 16: MSU Spartan Law Preview Day from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (virtual). Click here for additional information.

July 25: LSAT Deadline – August LSAT Exam Assistance Request Deadline (for required technology, internet access, or quiet space)

July 30-31:  2021 ASAP: Achieving Success in the Law School Admissions Process hosted by CLEO. Click here for registration information.

 

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Save the Date – Upcoming LSAC Forums

This week LSAC announced the upcoming Forums for the 21-22 application cycle.  LSAC Forms (fairs) provide a tremendous opportunity to meet with law school representatives, discover new schools to consider, and attend informative workshops.  Forums are free to all attendees.

Next year, LSAC will host a combination of virtual and in-person events, maximizing your opportunity to take advantage of these programs.   Below are details regarding the upcoming LSAC Forums.

The 2021 LSAC Law School Forums Schedule

Friday, September 10 – digital
Saturday, September 25 – Chicago
Friday, October 8 – San Francisco
Friday, October 22 – Atlanta
Friday and Saturday, November 5 and 6 – New York City
Saturday, November 13 – Los Angeles
Saturday, December 4 – digital
Saturday, February 5 – digital

In-person forum locations were selected based on geographic representation, scheduling considerations, attendance history, and local COVID-19 safety response. 

Additional Information

      • To minimize health concerns at in-person forums, LSAC will use a timed entry ticketing system that will regulate the flow of candidates into the venue. On a related note, LSAC will update the format of educational programming at in-person forums and make digital forum educational content available to those attending in person.
      • Updates to LSAC.org will be completed in the next few days and registration for events will begin in July.

Please look for additional information in the upcoming weeks!

 

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June 2020 Snapshot

June 1:  Seat Deposit Deadlines!  Starting law school in the fall?  Have you paid your 2nd Deposit? Many schools have second deposits due in the first few weeks of June – be sure you have completed this step by the deadline!

June 2: Registration Open Now for Duke Law School’s D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy (in July).

June 3: Access Lex The Road to Zero: A Strategic Approach to Student Loan Repayment webinar at 1:00 pm (CT).

June 3: Access Lex Building Your Law School Budget webinar at 8:00 pm (CT)

June 3 – June 10:  LSAT Deadline – June Scheduling Deadline (through ProctorU)

June 4: CLEO – Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP) Program registration deadline.

June 4: Application Deadline –  Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-Law Institute summer program.

June 4: Application DeadlineUC Davis School of Law King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP) for pre-law students.

June 8: Access Lex Applying to Law School webinar at 2:00 pm (CT)

June 10: Access Lex Applying to Law School: A Strategic Approach For Underrepresented Students webinar at 11:00 am (CT)

June 10: University of San Francisco School of Law Legal Area Information Session: Environmental Law with Professor Kaswan  webinar from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm PST. Click here to register.

June 12:  June LSAT Administration Begins

June 19 – June 20: CLE 1L Prep – Attitude Is Essential (AIE) Seminar for Fall 21 first year students.  Registration/application is on a rolling basis, register early to attend!

June 21: Application Deadline – Latino Justice PRLDEF – LawBound summer program (in August) for pre-law students.

June 22: LSAC – Law School Unmasked for incoming 1Ls – Session 1: Lawyers as Leaders: Mapping Your Own Leadership Journey.  Click here for additional information.

June 23:  LSAC Workshop Utilizing Khan Academy for LSAT Prep Success at 1:00 pm (CT). Register online to attend.

June 23: LSAC – Law School Unmasked for incoming 1Ls – Session 2: Structure of Law School.  Click here for additional information.

June 24: LSAC – Law School Unmasked for incoming 1Ls – Session 3: Dispelling Misconceptions: Biggest Surprises in IL.  Click here for additional information.

June 29: LSAC – Law School Unmasked for incoming 1Ls – Session 4: Skills Needed for Law School: Critical Thinking.  Click here for additional information.

June 30: LSAC – Law School Unmasked for incoming 1Ls – Session 5: Skills Needed for Law School: Briefing a Case.  Click here for additional information.

Check back throughout the month for updates to listed events and programs.

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Summer Series: Networking and Outreach

This summer we will be sharing tips and suggestions for students beginning law school this fall,  those returning students preparing for law school applications,  or students still exploring their interest in law for a future year!  Be sure to check back throughout the summer for additional topics and information featured in our Summer Tips Series!

NETWORKING

Networking is an important skill-set for future law students and attorneys.  As a law student you will have many opportunities to network with school alumni, legal professionals, and potential future employers.  Many students obtain summer employment or permanent positions through networking activities, and individuals you meet through networking may lead to mentors who can provide invaluable advice and insights as you navigate your educational and professional choices over many years.

Developing networking skills as an undergraduate student will not only assist you in developing potential relationships to assist you with internship opportunities and law applications – but will start preparing you to excel at networking as a law student.  Below are some resources and tips to assist you in this process…

    • Be Brave: Networking can be intimidating and uncomfortable, particularly as you begin developing these skills.   Networking, like any new skill, will get easier over time and the best way to move past anxiety or uncertainty is to just do it! Consider setting a goal of 1-3 networking opportunities this summer.  Keep reading below for ideas on how to create these opportunities…
    • Be Realistic – Set Expectations:  Often individuals approach networking experiences with the ultimate goals of future job offers or mentors.  Engaging in networking with only these goals in mind can increase pressure and anxiety.   Networking experiences do not need to result in these ultimate goals to be valuable.  Consider engaging in networking with these additional goals in mind:
        • Acquiring Skills: Practice makes perfect.  If you are new to networking – think of initial experiences as an opportunity to develop your communication and conversational skills.  Use these opportunities to work on asking meaningful questions and conducting conversations in a way that you learn something about the individuals you engage with, and find ways to share information about yourself.
        • Acquiring Information: Given an opportunity to interact with professionals – it is a wonderful chance for you to learn and gain insights about being a lawyer, law school, or different areas of law that might interest you.  Entering networking opportunities with the mindset of gaining knowledge can help drive your conversations, contemplate topics to discuss, and provide invaluable insights to clarify your own goals.
          • Networking in a group? As opportunities for larger in-person events resume, don’t forget to be a good observer as well.  Observing how others navigate networking opportunities can provide great models for how you may wish to approach situations, or how NOT to approach situations.
    • Identify Opportunities: Networking opportunities come in many shapes and sizes.  They may be one-on-one opportunities facilitated through alumni mentor programs, reception events, or employment fairs.  As you move through opportunities consider who will be attending and what knowledge they may have which could benefit your goals.  Here are some tips for identifying opportunities this summer:
        • Pre-Law Programs: There are a number of pre-law programs during the summer months.  These programs may include law professionals, students, faculty, and law admission experts.  Stay current with the Monthly Snapshots on this blog, LSAC Events, and admissions office calendars for schools you are interested in to identify opportunities.
        • Current Connections: Do you have a friend, relative, or family acquaintance that is involved in the legal profession or law school?   Reach out this summer or ask to be introduced.  Request a meeting to chat over zoom, coffee, or lunch.  If you have previously worked or volunteered in a professional setting – consider reaching back out to a former supervisor or member of the organization to maintain your relationship and work on your skills.  
        • Look Local:  Home for the summer?  Contact the local bar association to ask if they run mentor programs for prospective law students.  Be bold and reach out to a law firm or law office to introduce yourself and ask if an attorney would be willing to have an informational interview with you.  If your courthouse permits public attendance at hearings, consider engaging in court watching.  Be sure to check local restrictions related to COVID.
        • University Programs and Events:  Look to your academic department or college for opportunities to network with professionals, alumni, and senior students.  Is there an alumni mentor program available to you?  Is there an upcoming career event or program?  If your not sure – reach out and ask.  Don’t forget to ask about future events – calendar now to engage in programs next fall or spring.
        • Career Events:  Networking events do not need to be specifically law related to benefit your law goals – is there an opportunity this summer that could give you a chance to improve skills.  Check out the Career Center website for possible options.
    • Develop a Plan:  Networking can take place in many different forms and formats.  Some opportunities will be carefully curated, while others may require you to seize the moment.  Regardless of the opportunity you should approach with intention.  Keep the following in mind this summer:
        • Identify Opportunities.  Whether it is facilitating a one-on-one meeting or attending an event,  determine what type of opportunities you would like to engage in and what your goals will be (gaining knowledge, professional connection, future job or internship opportunity).
        • Manage Logistics. If it is an event, sign-up and calendar the program – confirming in advance you have all necessary software/information to participate.  If you will be reaching out for an individual meeting –  plan in advance by giving several weeks to schedule.   Be sure you suggest a time-frame to meet where you have a wide-range of availability.
            • What will you wear?  Make sure you dress appropriately for your event.  Does the event have a recommended dress code (even if the event is virtual), if you don’t know ask. For individual meetings, plan on business or business casual attire depending on the setting and time of day.
        • Research and Prepare.  Whether you are meeting with an individual, participating in a program or attending a large career fair – you will want to research in advance to gain knowledge about the individual/companies that you will interact with.  Use this research to begin formulating questions and topics you might wish to discuss.  Consider your overall goals and benefits you hope to obtain to focus your questions as well.  Being knowledgeable and prepared will not only demonstrate your interest, but also key professional qualities.
        • Think about Yourself.  What do you hope to share about yourself?  Think about your story – including key personal attributes or experiences you might wish to share.  Determine these aspects in advance so that you are prepared to weave them into conversations naturally as the opportunity is presented. 
            • First impressions matter. Practice introducing yourself, handshakes, and eye contact.  Small things can make a big impression!
        • Don’t Forget Small Talk.  Memorable networking opportunities often include interaction not specifically related to careers or professional topics.  Be prepared to talk about a wide variety of topics.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with local/national/world topics in the weeks leading up to your networking event.  Think about your interests and hobbies and what you might share with others.   These “small talk” aspects of networking are often what set-apart those who are exceptionally skilled at networking from those who aren’t.  This is also a great way to make a connection on a personal level.
        • Get Organized.  As your opportunities to network increase determine how you will maintain information about individuals you connect with.  Consider an online address book or spreadsheet for emails/phone/website information.  Consider adding notes about the individual and your conversation for reference later, particularly for individuals you may wish to connect with in the future.
        • Follow-Up. For individual meetings, always follow-up with a thank you email.  Be sure to include a request to stay in touch in the future if you would like to connect again and make a calendar reminder to make a follow-up outreach.  You could also consider connecting through professional social media – such as LinkedIn.  If you interreacted with an individual at an larger event or listened to a presentation at a program, consider reaching out to request an opportunity to speak individually.  Be sure to reference the event or program for context.
Additional Resources:

UIUC Networking Tips

UIUC Networking Success Stories

UIUC Virtual Networking

ABA Networking Tips

Forbes 5 Best Ways to Network

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Updates and News…

Check out important updates regarding the LSAT examination, newly released information on law school rankings, and a highlight of some new resources for students interested in patent law…

Updates for April LSAT!

Test Scheduling Requirements:

Effective with the April administration of the LSAT-Flex, test takers will be required to schedule their testing day and time by 11:59 p.m. ET of the Thursday prior to the exam.

For example, for the April administration of the LSAT-Flex, which begins on Saturday, April 10, scheduling will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 8. After that deadline passes, test takers could opt to request a date change for a future administration, but will not be able to schedule for the current exam.

New Icon For Online Test Format:

Effective with the April 2021 administration of the LSAT-Flex, a new icon for the “eliminate” button (displayed on the right side of each answer option) will be implemented which candidates may use to indicate for themselves which answers they do NOT wish to choose.  As a reminder, only explicitly selected responses (selections made with the bubble on the left side of the answer option) will be counted towards a candidate’s score.

The new “eliminate” icon will be implemented for Test Prep in LawHub this week so that test takers can get familiarize themselves with the new icon in LawHub prior to the April administration of the LSAT-Flex.  Below are samples of the current “elimination” icon in comparison with the new “elimination” button. The behavior is exactly the same, only the icon has changed.

Current Eliminate Icon – not selected:

Current Eliminate Icon – selected:

New Eliminate Icon – not selected:

New Eliminate Icon – selected:

We strongly encourage those sitting for the April LSAT to review the new icon on LawHub prior to the exam.

NEW Law School Rankings and Profile Data!

U.S. News and World Report (US News) recently released their annual updated graduate school rankings and evaluations for 2022, including their law school rankings.

Rankings and program surveys can provide helpful information and insights into the strength of academic programs and specialties,  LSAT/GPA expectations, and information on cost and financial aid.  These surveys are a valuable place to begin researching schools and to potentially discover schools you may not know about or have considered.    These surveys can also help provide useful evaluations on specific criteria that are most important to you in your law school.

UPDATE! This year US News has added additional data on the amount of debt incurred by law graduates at individual institutions.   Be sure to view this data in context to other factors including –  bar passage rates, placement rates, and median salary figures for students upon graduation!

Caveat Emptor! 

Remember rankings should never by the sole factor in your decision-making process and individual data points should be considered in context with additional information.    Be careful not to limit your considerations too narrowly by ranking alone.  There are many substantive factors that should be considered in your ultimate choice of law school as you will have many priorities, wants, and needs of the institution that is right for you!

Interested in the Patent Law?

PLI (Practicing Law Institute), a nonprofit that specializes in educational programs for attorneys and related professionals, has recently posted a series of informative videos online for engineering or science majors who may be considering an alternative career in law.  This is a great resource for those interested in Patent Law and who may be considering taking the Patent Bar in the future.  Don’t miss out on this great resource!

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