Pre-Application Series: July Tips

Welcome to our pre-application tip series.  July marks an important point in pre-application preparations.  By July, many applicants have either recently sat for the 1st LSAT or will be doing so in the upcoming weeks while also taking other active steps to prepare for the upcoming application cycle.  To assist in your efforts, below are a few tips and recommendations for this phase of the pre-application series.

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Law School Insider | Law School Myths: True or False?

Welcome to Law School Insider! In this multi-part blog series, you will hear directly from current law students about their favorite courses, law school myths, best pre-law tips, and more!

In this edition of Law School Insider, we asked fellow Illini about myths they heard before attending law school and whether they are true or not. Check out their answers below!

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Law School Insider: Favorite Law School Activities

Welcome to Law School Insider! In this multi-part blog series, you will hear directly from current law students about their favorite courses, law school myths, best pre-law tips, and more!

Law schools offer a myriad of both academic and extracurricular activities designed to help students grow personally and professionally. These are activities that fall outside of the typical seminars and lecture courses students will engage in each semester. Some activities may include credit earning opportunities, while others may simply provide invaluable opportunities to develop skills, community, and knowledge. Below are some favorite activities of our UIUC alumni currently attending law school!

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Law School Insider: Law Students’ Suggested Read + Watch List

Welcome to Law School Insider! In this multi-part blog series, you will hear directly from current law students about their favorite courses, law school myths, best pre-law tips, and more!

The summer is a great time to relax and engage in some entertainment. What better way to be entertained than with some law-related material! In this post, you will hear about all-time favorite legal-related books, movies, and TV shows from current law students – just in time for summer!

Must Read/Watch

A Civil Actionby Jonathan Harr

-Sanjiv S. | University of Illinois College of Law

Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration-and How to Achieve Real Reform by John Pfaff

-Haydn L. | University of Michigan Law School

On Trial: Lessons from a Lifetime in the Courtoom” by Henry G. Miller, Esq.

-Joseph A. | University of Illinois Chicago School of Law

“I’m not a big reader anymore. A Few Good Men and My Cousin Vinny are great films about the law.”

-Nick S. | University of Illinois College of Law

Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers” by Deborah Tuerkheimer

-Tara S. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein

-Margaret B. | DePaul University College of Law

“For something timely, I recommend When Abortion Was A Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 by Leslie J. Reagan (a UIUC professor).”

-Amanda W. | Duke University School of Law

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

-Matthew M. |UNLV William S. Boyd College of Law

Becoming by Michelle Obama

-Ashley T. | George Washington University Law School

Better Call Saul (Television series)

-Khalil R. | University of Chicago Law School

“I don’t tend to read many law-related books in my free time because I like having a clear separation between school and relaxation, but I am currently reading Martha Minow’s When Should Law Forgive? It’s an interesting take on what the focus of our legal system should be, and is easily accessible to folks who don’t yet have a background in law.”

-Ben T. | University of California, Berkley, School of Law

“Michelle Obama’s Becoming! She discusses interesting feelings about law school and the profession in general. If you’re on the fence about law school, I’d read it to get another perspective.”

-Skylar R. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street” by Sheelah Kolhatkar

-Sydney S. | Georgetown University Law Center

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

-Maciek C. | University of Wisconsin Law School

Barbarian at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco” by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

-Alberto V. | University of Chicago Law School

Lady Justice: Women, The Law and the Battle to Save America” by Dahlia Lithwick

-Erica H. | George Washington University Law School

Looking for additional suggestions?

Thieves of Book Row, by Travis McDade

Torn from their Bindings, by Travis McDade

The Book Thief, all by Travis McDade 

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

The Trial, by Franz Kafka

An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement, by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey

Know My Name, by Chanel Miller

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, by Michelle McNamara

Radium Girls, by Kate Moore

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

My Cousin Vinny – movie

Find Me Guilty – movie

Sleepers – movie

A Civil Action – movie

Amistad – movie

On the Basis of Sex – movie

Marshall – movie

Loving – movie

Bridge of Spies – movie

Partner Track – Netflix series

Erin Brokovich – movie

Legally Blonde – movie

Check out this list of 25 Greatest Legal Movies according to the American Bar Association!

Check out this list of suggested law-related TV shows!

And here is a list of the 25 Greatest Law Novels Ever from Goodreads!

2022 – 2023 Year In Review

The 2022 – 2023 academic year was busy and filled with many successes! To our UIUC pre-law students and alumni, congratulations on a successful academic year and application cycle! Our thanks to our UIUC pre-law student & alumni leaders, law expert volunteers, and all those who helped support our over 1500 prelaw Illini this academic year!

Read below for some highlights from this year!

Advising Appointments

PLAS held over 800 advising appointments (and counting) this year! Individual advising appointments are a great way to explore your individual goals and plans including determining if a legal education and career is the right choice for you! Advising sessions afford the opportunity to receive expert guidance on the pre-law undergraduate experience, ways to prepare for law school, internship & post-graduation opportunities, and the law admissions process. We welcome the opportunity to support you in a successful journey to law school. We loved meeting with all of you!

Workshops & Events

This academic year, PLAS hosted over 50 student workshops and events, including Pre-Law 101, Pre-Law for Parents, Drafting Your Application, Application Roadmap, Selecting a Law School, Strategies for Spring Application Success, and more! Workshops & events are a perfect way to gain invaluable expert insights and specialized topics in a very efficient way. For those contemplating applying during the 2023-2024 admission cycle – be sure to check the events calendar for the summer editions of Application Roadmap & Drafting Your Application! Note – PLAS programming is open to all UIUC current students and alumni!

New Programs

This year, PLAS created four new initiatives: the Pre-Law Advisory Council, APPtitude Certificate Program, and LSAT Jumpstart workshop series, and the I Am Ready: Law Admission Readiness Program co-hosted with the University of Illinois College of Law! Each of these initiatives expanding on existing PLAS resources and services, creating more unique support and opportunities for our UIUC pre-law students and alumni! Thanks to all who participated in the inaugural year for these programs!

Law School Fair & Law Dean Panel

This past Fall, admissions representatives from 85 law schools from across the country visited campus to engage with nearly 400 students in central Illinois. The 2023 Law School Fair was held in-person, on campus for the first time since 2019 and was hosted as part of the annual Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors (MAPLA) Caravan. We also featured a law school panel the night before at the Law Building!

Save the Date for the 2023 Law School Fair on October 5!

Pre-Law Pop-Ups

This April, PLAS hosted 4 separate pop-ups to engage with students around campus. We met with students at Grainger Engineering, Gies Success Lab, Ikenberry, and at IUB to answer questions about the pre-law path and share information about our office resources! We look forward to seeing you around campus again next year!

Blog Posts

We uploaded over 40 articles to our blog this year that covered insights from attorneys, helpful tips & resources regarding the pre-law path, monthly events, and more! We will continue to create content for the blog this summer so be sure to stay tuned and check back for updates!

Legal Expert Volunteers

A huge thank you to the attorneys, law professors, and other law experts who volunteered their time to engage with students through programming and 1:1 meetings this year, including our featured panelists and the 10+ alumni featured on the Alumni Attorney Talks blog series!

Thank you to all our pre-law students, alumni, and law expert volunteers for making it a great year!

Making the Most of Your Summer Internships

As a pre-law student, one of the most important steps you can take to prepare for a career in law is to gain practical experience through internships. Summer internships, legal or not, are a great way to get your foot in the door and learn more about an industry, while also building valuable skills and connections. However, simply participating in an internship is not enough; it’s important to make the most of your experience to ensure that you gain the maximum benefit. Here are some tips for making the most of your summer legal internships:

1. Set Goals
Before you start your internship, it’s important to set specific goals for what you hope to achieve. This could include gaining experience in a specific industry, or in a particular area of law, developing a specific skill set, or building connections with professionals. By setting clear goals, you’ll be better equipped to stay focused and make the most of your time.

2. Be Proactive
Don’t wait for your supervisor to tell you what to do; take the initiative and look for opportunities to get involved. Ask your supervisor if you can assist with a particular project or task, or offer to take on additional responsibilities. By being proactive, you’ll demonstrate your commitment and eagerness to learn, which can help you stand out and make a positive impression.

3. Network
Summer internships are a great opportunity to build your professional network. Take advantage of this by attending events, such as networking receptions or industry conferences, and introducing yourself to other professionals. Ask for their advice, share your own experiences, and exchange contact information. You never know when these connections may come in handy in the future.

4. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about something. Your supervisor and colleagues are there to help you learn and grow, and they’ll likely appreciate your willingness to seek guidance. Asking thoughtful questions can also help you gain a deeper understanding of the profession and the work you’re doing.

5. Take Notes
Throughout your internship, be sure to take detailed notes on your experiences, projects, and assignments. This can be a helpful reference for future job interviews or when writing your resume. Additionally, taking notes can help you reflect on what you’ve learned and identify areas where you may need further development.

6. Seek Feedback
Ask your supervisor for regular feedback on your performance, and be open to constructive criticism. Use this feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow, and apply it to your work moving forward. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from colleagues or other professionals you work with. Their insights can be invaluable in helping you improve your skills and knowledge.

7. Stay Professional
Remember that your internship is a professional experience, and treat it as such. Be punctual, dress appropriately, and always conduct yourself in a professional manner. This includes being respectful of your colleagues, taking ownership of your work, and communicating clearly and effectively.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your summer internships and gain valuable experience and connections that can help you in your future career. Good luck!

Law School Insider: Favorite Specialized Law School Courses

Welcome to Law School Insider! In this multi-part blog series, you will hear directly from current law students about their favorite courses, law school myths, best tips, and more!

In this second post of the series, you will hear about all-time favorite specialized and upper-level (2L – 3L year) law school classes and why your fellow Illini chose them.


“Antitrust law was my favorite law school class. I was an economics major in undergrad, and antitrust allowed me to apply what I learned in undergrad to a legal setting. Antitrust law is one of the most quantitative and policy-focused areas of the law in my opinion, which is a welcome break from most law school classes.”

-Ben T. | University of California Berkley School of Law

Aviation Law

“I loved my Aviation Law class because I am interested in all things aerospace and defense, and it was a unique class that covered a lot of different topic areas in aviation. It was co-taught by two professors who both have extensive experience practicing law in this field (one is even a pilot) and they were both fascinating — it was an honor to learn from them.”

-Erica H. | George Washington University School of Law

Corporate Compliance

“Corporate Compliance. It is funny to see how businesses try and manipulate legal terms.”

-Nick S. | University of Illinois College of Law

Criminal Procedure

“Criminal (Procedure) Adjudications because it tracks a logical timeline from arrest to sentence.”

-Sanjiv S. | University of Illinois College of Law

“Criminal Procedure I (Investigation). Great Professor and interesting constitutional issues that align with my personal interests. It’s a great course for applying very arguable legal principles to diverse facts.”

-Noah S. | William & Mary Law School

“Constitutional Criminal Procedure. I went into law school interested in criminal justice reform, and so learning more about the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments in-depth has been intellectually fulfilling and applicable to my future practice.”

-Tara S. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“Criminal procedure, because there are so many nuances about criminal procedure that everyday citizens may not know about, so knowing some of those things, is not only applicable to representing clients but your personal conduct with police.”

-Maciek C. | University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School

Critical Race Theory

“My favorite law school class is Critical Race Theory. Learning how the law is deeply invested in and reinforces inequitable power structures is essential to my understanding of what kind of advocate I want to be and how I intend to approach the legal field to uplift marginalized communities.”

-Karen C. | UC Davis School of Law

Deposition Advocacy

“Deposition Advocacy. It was a very practical class. I learned a lot and the workload was very reasonable.”

-Vanessa A. | Loyola University Chicago School of Law

First Amendment Law

“First Amendment Law is my favorite! My professor is engaging, knowledgeable, and does a great job facilitating class discussion. It’s really important to try taking classes with good professors if you can help it. The material of the class is really interesting, and I have developed a much deeper understanding of the theory and practicality of the First Amendment from this course!”

-Skylar R. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Information Privacy

“Information Privacy because it incorporates a lot of legal disciplines and is very timely.”

-Alberto V. | University of Chicago Law School

International Law

“I’m taking international law as my 1L elective, which is by far my favorite class. I’m interested in international environmental law, and it’s been wonderful to have an opportunity to study that subject while still in my first year. I definitely recommend taking an elective 1L year, being able to study something you’re passionate about can be a nice break from the required 1L doctrinal courses that you may not feel as personally invested in.”

-Amanda W. | Duke University School of Law

Professional Sports Law

“Professional Sports Law, it is ultimately what I came to school for and gives me real-world insight into the intersection of sports and law.”

-Austin M. | Marquette University Law School

Sovereign Debt & Financial Stability

“Sovereign Debt & Financial Stability. It has been a practical and timely look into lawyers’ roles in preventing and resolving financial crises.”

-Sydney S. | Georgetown University Law Center

Trial Advocacy

“Trial advocacy. It teaches you how to operate in the courtroom and is the first experiential class you can take in law school.”

-Mallory M. | University of Illinois College of Law


Click here to read what current law students are saying are their favorite first-year courses!