Planning Ahead: Summer Internships

Now that the semester is on its way (and hopefully running smoothly), it’s time to think about different ways to bolster your forthcoming law school applications. Internships are a great way to gain experience and exposure to the legal world outside the classroom. Getting experience is important for a number of reasons: demonstrating work and interest to law schools, building connections with mentors (hint: letters of recommendation), and confirming your interest in pursuing a legal career, to name a few. Towards the end of this semester, Pre-Law Advising will provide more information and opportunities regarding summer internships, so keep an eye out!

Timeline

  • Stay Organized. Hiring for summer internships typically happens in the spring; however, the key to landing a summer internship is to do your research, find opportunities, and stay organized when applying and reaching out. Plan early by compiling a list of places you could potentially apply to and get some organizations on your radar!
  • Winter Break. After taking a much needed break after finals, winter break is the perfect time to start researching various internships and potentially even reaching out to some organizations to learn more about a summer opportunity.
  • Deadlines. ALWAYS keep an eye out for deadlines. Though we advise you to apply no earlier than the spring semester, some organizations might be looking to fill out their spots as early as right now. Some organizations may even have a rolling deadline, meaning the positions stay open until they are filled. Stay organized, be cognizant of any deadlines, and work according to the specific organization’s timeline.

Legal Opportunities

  • Be strategic. When approaching different organizations for an internship, you’ll want to consider which types of organizations will welcome undergraduate interns. Unfortunately, many legal employers look to law students as interns who have obtained a basic understanding of legal researching and legal writing. However, that does not mean there are not organizations who readily welcome undergraduate interns.
    • Target organizations that would need the help. Reach out to public interest organizations, legal aid clinics, non-profit organizations, or smaller firms. Although the internships are typically unpaid, you will be receiving first-hand knowledge and early exposure to a legal setting. The skills and connections interns get are priceless!

Legal-Adjacent Opportunities

  • Think creatively. If you can’t find something “legal,” try finding an internship that will still provide you with the transferable skills law schools look for in successful applicants! When considering different opportunities ask yourself: will this internship allow me to develop my critical thinking skills? Researching skills? Writing skills? Analytical skills? Collaborating?
  • Interested in politics? Consider an internship on the Hill! Or a position in your congressperson or Senator’s office. There are opportunities in your hometown, surrounding area, and even Washington, D.C. if that is of interest. There are campaigns popping up all over that might be of interest as well!
  • Government. You may find various opportunities in local, state, or the federal government! Think Department of Justice, State Attorney Generals Offices, and more. Though some of these may be restricted to law students, or might not provide an opportunity in a legal role, they are still of interest and provide plenty of transferable and relatable skills.
  • Credit-Earning. What does your academic program offer in terms of internships? Can you earn academic credit? These internships are a great opportunity to further explore your undergraduate major and career opportunities—while also potentially identifying ways to merge your interest in law and your undergraduate field.

Tips

  • Think virtual. Unfortunately, we are in “unprecedented times,” however, that shouldn’t discourage you from internships. Many internships across the country have moved virtual! Internships that would be difficult because of relocation are now accessible from a home office. Use this time to expand your horizon, apply for positions in locations that seemed unfeasible, and think bigger than before!
  • Pick up the phone. If you don’t find any internship opportunities on an organization’s website—call them! You would be surprised how far a simple phone call can take you. Calling to inquire about an internship can provide very helpful information on an opportunity that might not be broadcasted on their website, or even allow you to connect with an organization who wasn’t thinking about an intern but is intrigued to help. You could be surprised…
  • Email. Nevertheless, always reach out to various organizations or individuals to inquire about potential internships for undergraduate, pre-law students if you can’t find any information. Any information you can get is helpful.
  • Think Creatively & Network. Cast a wide net with your network to see if anybody can help or has any ideas on potential internships. Look at legal organizations to see if they offer internship opportunities for undergraduate students—for instance, the ABA Practice groups regularly offer opportunities for undergraduate students!
  • Resume. Continue updating, editing, and finalizing your resume during the Fall semester so that you are ready to apply when the time comes. Get it done sooner rather!

Stay tuned! Keep an eye out later this semester for more information about internships and potential opportunities. In the meantime, happy searching!


Resources to get started:

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

You’re Invited! 2020 University of Illinois Law Fair

 

Mark your calendars for the upcoming University of Illinois Graduate, Law, and Professional School Fair on October 15th. This year’s fair will be a combined event, featuring both the annual Law School Fair and annual Graduate and Professional School Fair hosted by The Career Center.  Be sure to attend during the specially designated Law School Fair hours from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Registration is open now and completely FREE for students, alumni, and the public- all are welcome! The event will be virtual, hosted through the CareerEco platform. Whether you are considering law school next year, following a gap year, or in the future – the Fair is a fantastic opportunity for juniors, seniors, and alumni to meet admissions representatives and to learn more about law schools and graduate programs! Students and alumni are encouraged to register by October 8th to receive invitation to special pre-fair programs and panels.  

How to Connect During COVID?

Connecting with law schools during the COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges. Traditional in-person visits, panels, and fairs are largely unavailable this year. Thankfully, law schools and organizations around the country have adapted to help create unique opportunities for students to connect to schools and to gain valuable insights about the application process.

Be Proactive!
    • Check-out law school websites for opportunities to virtually visit the school, attend programming, and to sit-in on virtual classes.
    • Attend events for prospective students and the public to get a feel of the school and learn more about their community.
    • Follow schools on social media.
    • Take advantage of opportunities to connect with current students, alumni, or faculty members.
    • ASK!  Reach out to the admissions office and ask how you can connect!

Check out additional advice on connecting during COVID from our recent Guest Blogger – Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law.

LSAC Forums!

LSAC will be hosting virtual forums through the fall semester. In addition to the opportunity to visit with individual schools, there will be series of live and on-demand programd to assist students during the application process. Be strategic – consider attending an LSAC Forum to learn about a wide variety of schools; plan to attend the Illinois Fair for more one-on-one interactions!

LSAC Forums will be hosted on the following dates:

      • September 26, 2020
      • October 13, 2020
      • November 4, 2020
      • December 12, 2020

For more information and to register visit: https://www.lsac.org/lawschoolforums

Additional Resources

For more information about the virtual UIUC Graduate, Law, and Professional School Fair, please visit the Pre-Law Advising website.

To make an appointment with Pre-Law Advising: https://prelaw.illinois.edu/appointments

To learn more about our office or connect with us online, please visit our online resources:

Stay Tuned!  The annual MAPLA Caravan (law fair) will take place via Handshake in late October.  Stay tuned for details in the upcoming weeks.

 

 

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Law School Spotlight!

Perspectives from an Admissions Dean: This week’s guest blogger is
Dean Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law!

University of Illinois College of Law Snapshot*:

    • Total JD Enrollment: 399 
    • First Year Class Size: 130
    • Median LSAT/GPA: 162/3.7
    • Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
    • Website: www.law.illinois.edu 
*The enrollment and profile data given above are as of October 5, 2019. Data for Fall 2020 will be finalized October 5, 2020.

Why did you decide to attend law school?

I grew up knowing that I wanted to go to law school. My father and uncle are both lawyers, so I had plenty of exposure to the practice of law before deciding to go to law school. I worked in my father’s law office during the summers while in undergrad. In undergrad, I considered a number of other careers, including teaching, higher ed, and psychology. Ultimately, however, I felt if I didn’t go to law school, I would regret it, given that it had been such a long-held goal.

Why did you decide to make a role in law school admissions part of your career?

I get asked this question a lot! I loved the practice of law, but my heart has always been in higher education. I really value the energy that undergraduate and graduate students bring to their education, and I love playing even a small role in that.

During my undergrad years, I worked in my university’s registrar’s office. I thoroughly enjoyed that job. The registrar at that time had a JD. I strongly considered going on to get a master’s in higher education, as opposed to law school. Given that one of my mentors worked in higher education with a JD, however, it seemed like a natural fit to continue on my original path to go to law school. You can be in higher ed with a JD; you cannot practice law with a masters in higher education. The JD seemed to allow me more flexibility if/when my career goals evolved. My personal statement was actually about wanting to eventually work in higher ed!

When the job at Illinois Law became available, the timing was honestly perfect. Both professionally and personally, I was ready for a change and the opportunity to work for my alma mater was too good to pass up.

What are the hallmark qualities of a legal education from the University of Illinois College of Law?

There are four words/phrases I would immediately ascribe to an Illinois Law education: Flexible, Practical, Community, and Outstanding Teaching.

Flexible: While the first year curriculum at Illinois Law is prescribed, almost everything beyond that is entirely up to the student. Illinois Law students are encouraged to explore their legal interests and are not pigeon-holed into a practical area of law (unless, of course, they want to be!). I sometimes describe this as “traditional, broad-based legal education,” but that implies stodginess. It’s not stodgy at all. Students can take traditional larger courses like Bankruptcy Law or Federal Income Tax, while also taking small seminars on Judicial Opinion Writing or Race and Policing. The flexible nature of our curriculum allows our students to hone all facets of their legal interests and become well-rounded attorneys.

Practical: Illinois Law students are trained to be ready to practice. What that looks like may vary from student to student, but ultimately, you will leave the law school with the skills to be a successful lawyer. That includes externship and clinical opportunities, learning about the business of law firms in Fundamentals of Legal Practice, or participating in a number of networking and mock interview programs with our outstanding alumni.

Community: While I placed this third on the list, it’s probably the word I hear the most about Illinois Law. There are many tropes about the competitive nature of law school, but our students treat each other with respect — as future colleagues — and form life-long friendships. Our students want to be successful and they are driven, but not at the expense of their future classmates.

Outstanding Teaching: I had to cheat and make this a phrase, not one word. The faculty at Illinois Law truly care about teaching and it shows. It is difficult to convey in a blog post, but the care and attention the Illinois Law faculty puts into both their scholarship and teaching creates a dynamic and energetic learning environment for the students. There is a purpose behind everything they do in the classroom.

How do students learn more about professional development and career resources, academic programs, and alumni mentorship opportunities at your school?

Our website, law.illinois.edu, has a lot of information about all of these topics. Additionally, we are hosting a virtual event on September 24 at 1:30 pm CST to answer prospective students’ questions. Our Executive Assistant Dean for Career Planning will be present for this event starting at 4:00 pm CST to specifically discuss career planning and professional development. We will be doing a series of similar events, so stay tuned to the events section of our website. I will be sure to let Pre-Law Advising Services know about these events, as well. Law fairs (yes, even virtual ones) are also a great place to get answers to your questions about particular law schools. Finally, prospective students are always welcome to email law-admissions@illinois.edu to ask questions and/or schedule a time to speak with either myself or our Associate Director, Suzanne Rogers. You can also make an appointment to speak with a current student or a member of the Career Planning team. During non-pandemic times, we love to have prospective students visit the College to take a tour of the building and to sit in on a first-year class.

What type of experiential opportunities do your students have during law school?

Our students have many opportunities for experiential learning, both during their summers and during the academic year. Illinois Law offers few, if any, traditional courses over the summer term, so that students can get practical legal experience. In addition to paid legal positions, summer experiences include externships for credit and our Corporate Counsel Practicum. During externships, students do legal work for a government or non-profit entity. We have had students work for the City of Chicago, Champaign State’s Attorney’s Office, just to name two common placements. The summer presents a nice opportunity for students who wish to practice outside of Illinois to get an externship in their desired legal market. The Corporate Counsel Practicum includes a ten-day course before students work in in-house legal departments at major corporations.

During the academic year, students can also do an externship for credit or participate in one of our legal clinics. We have a Family Advocacy Clinic, Federal Civil Rights Clinic, Veterans Legal Clinic, and Immigration Law Clinic. Any one of these clinics presents an opportunity to do real legal work for real people with real problems. You are helping the community and gaining important experience.

What is one of the greatest pitfalls or mistakes that you see in student applications?

Applying on March 15. I say this because the timing of the application is the one thing entirely within the applicant’s control that can absolutely have an effect on the outcome of the decision. By the time you are submitting your application, to a certain extent your GPA and LSAT are fixed quantities, as are the personal experiences that will form the basis of your personal statement and resume. There is very little that someone in September of their senior year of college can do to change these things. However, every year, there are people who apply to Illinois in February or March (or even later), who do not get in, but would have had they submitted their application in November or December. That’s not to say that we do not admit people who apply in February or March, but it becomes more competitive at that point in the cycle.

Are there any traits, experiences, or accomplishments that are common among the most successful applicants?

What stands out about one applicant is going to be different from what stands out about the next applicant. We want to build a class that comes from different backgrounds and has had different life experiences. It enriches the classroom experience. That being said, successful applicants fairly uniformly follow the directions given in the application and it is obvious that time and attention was given to the personal statement and resume. We can tell when a personal statement was written at the last minute or the applicant was otherwise rushed. Take your time, start your application earlier than you think you need to, review it, ask others to review it for you, make any necessary changes, make sure you have given the Committee everything they have asked for, and then submit it. Also, from the personal statements in particular, the most successful applicants can demonstrate that they are passionate about something and that their passion is what is driving them to law school. Law school is too hard and too expensive to not have a reason to want to go.

What are some of the best aspects of living in the Champaign-Urbana community?

It really is the best of both worlds. It’s not a big city, but we have the culture, dining, and other amenities that make big cities attractive, without the hefty price tags. For students in particular, Champaign-Urbana is a great place to study in an enclave, while still having easy access to Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis for both career and recreational purposes. During this COVID time, I have been struck by how fortunate we are to live in a community with a major research institution. The advancements that University researchers have made in such a small amount of time and the global implications of those advancements are truly impressive. We get to benefit from that research right here in the cornfields.

What is something unique about your law school that many people don’t know?

The ability to attend law school in a college town with a research university AND have access to the third largest legal market in the country (Chicago) is relatively unique among US law schools. Our Chicago Program is a new innovation that plays to our strength in the Chicago legal market. Second semester 3L students can take their classes in Chicago, while doing an externship for credit or working for a law firm. It’s a wonderful bridge between academic life here in Champaign-Urbana and professional life in an urban setting.

Many students are worried about Covid-19 and how it has affected legal education, the application process, and their own personal circumstances. What would you tell a student concerned about applying to law school this fall?

First, know that admissions professionals are well-aware of the hurdles in the application process due to COVID. At Illinois Law, we will not view an LSAT-Flex score differently than a traditional LSAT administration, particularly for students applying to start law school Fall 2021. Similarly, most universities went to some variation of pass/fail for the spring 2020 semester, so that also will not be held against you when you apply to Illinois Law. Second, if you have concerns about online or hybrid legal education, ask to speak to a current law student (preferably a 2L or 3L who has been through more than one semester and has experienced both in-person and virtual learning). You should get a good sense of how well the process worked for a particular school. Finally, only the applicant can decide whether their personal circumstances would warrant waiting to apply once the pandemic is over. We have worked very hard to continue offering a first-rate legal education, but for some students it may not be the right time to go to law school and that’s okay. Take the time to get some professional work experience and round out your application.

Given the restrictions on events, traveling, and in-person interactions due to Covid-19, how can students continue to connect with law schools and determine if a school is the right fit for them? Are there any special programs at your school students should know about?

I mentioned this in response to a question above, but take advantage of the virtual events. The University of Illinois is having a virtual graduate and professional fair, which will include law schools. The LSAC virtual forums should also be a wonderful way to learn about schools from across the country. The LSAC virtual forums will feature resource “rooms,” where you can ask questions regarding financial aid, diversity, or general applications questions. Don’t be bashful about emailing the law schools you are interested in (don’t just cc all law schools on a message, though) and asking to speak with a student or an admissions professional, if they have any virtual events coming up, or if you can view a virtual class. We have all learned to be flexible in this time and can find a creative way for you to get to know us!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

LSAT-Flex Test Space

Due to the recent change of the October and November LSAT administration to the LSAT-Flex format, we wanted to let you know of a resource available through the Pre-Law Advising Services Office!

The LSAT-Flex exam requires students to take the exam in a quiet, private room with reliable internet access. For students on campus who may be having difficulty in identifying an appropriate space, Pre-Law Advising has arranged for test spaces available on a first come, first served basis.

How it works:  Students can request to reserve a private room to take the LSAT-Flex exam. To help maximize the use of space, reservations are available in three-hour time-blocks, with the expectation that students will have 30 minutes before and after their exam to set up, get comfortable, and sanitize the room after the exam. Students will receive a more detailed email prior to their exam date outlining the protocol and expectations.  Reservation blocks are available at the following times:  7am – 10am,  10am – 1pm,  1pm – 4pm,  4pm7pm, 7pm10pm.  Be mindful when signing up to ensure the reservation overlaps your LSAT-Flex testing time. (i.e., if your exam is at 7:30 am, you would reserve the 7am-10am time-block).

    • If none of the reservations work with your LSAT-Flex time, please indicate that in the sign-up form. We will do our best to accommodate but cannot guarantee there will be an available private room outside of the pre-determined time-blocks.
    • Per campus policy, you will be required to have a current negative COVID-Test to enter the building.
    • We have limited space, all reservations are on a first come, first served basis.

How to Sign Up: To sign up for a space for the October LSAT-Flex, please register at the following link by SEPTEMBER 30: https://surveys.illinois.edu/sec/466546359

For more information and guidance on where to take the LSAT-Flex, check out our blogpost.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to ccaas-prelaw@illinois.edu.

Stay Tuned! Room requests for the November LSAT-Flex will open in October.

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Guest Blogger Spotlight: A Law Student Perspective

This year the Pre-Law Advising Office will be featuring law students, admission deans, and attorneys as guest bloggers to help provide unique and valuable perspectives on law school, the application process, and the legal profession.   Stay tuned throughout the year for our Guest Blogger Spotlights!

Guest Blogger: Courtney Koenig

This week’s guest blogger is Pre-Law Advising’s very own, Courtney Koenig! Courtney is the Pre-Law Advising Services Graduate Assistant and a current 2L student at the University of Illinois College of Law.

  • Law School:                                                      University of Illinois College of Law
  • Class Year: 2L
  • Undergraduate Institution:                     Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Hometown: Lebanon, Illinois
  • Undergraduate Major/Minor: I have a Political Science major and a History minor.

 

Why did you decide to attend law school and pursue a legal career?

When I was narrowing down my career goals, I focused in on what I enjoyed doing. I love to read, write, analyze, and critically think. These are all things that lawyers do every day.  I wanted a challenging career with the possibility of great success and that led me to pursuing a legal career.

Do you know what type of law you will practice?

I am not sure which type of law I want to practice. I am interested in being a litigator and working in a firm. Currently, I am interested in health law, tort law, and commercial litigation, but am open to exploring other legal fields.

What were the most important goals in choosing a law school?

One important goal for me was to obtain a respectable scholarship. I did not want to be constantly thinking about financial stressors on top of all the stress of being in law school.  I mostly applied to schools that my GPA and LSAT score fit neatly into, but I wish I applied to more aspirational schools.

Why did you choose the University of Illinois College of Law?

I choose the University of Illinois College of Law because of the environment. I narrowed my top three schools down and personally visited each one. It was not an automatic decision for me. I ended up visiting the College of Law twice and it was not until my second visit that it clicked for me. I received a good scholarship, the school has a great reputation, and I loved the environment and the people when I visited.

What surprised you the most about law school?

I was really surprised with the people throughout the law school. I have become super close with many of my classmates and we have been able to support and help each other as much as possible. The professors are phenomenal, always willing to help. The administration also does everything they can to help you succeed and learn the ropes.

What has been your favorite class in law school?

My favorite class so far has been criminal law. My teacher was amazing, and I enjoyed learning about the different aspects of the crimes. It was interesting to learn about the different mental states that certain crimes require for a conviction.

What type of experiential opportunities have you had in law school?

I have participated in an expungement clinic where we helped people get rid of some charges on their records to help them obtain jobs and housing. I traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana with the Student Legal Relief organization and worked with the Justice and Accountability Center. I did research and participated in their expungement clinic.

What type of activities, programs, internships, or extracurricular activities did you participate in prior to law school?

Before law school, I was involved in the Pre-Law Society and the Political Science Association. I volunteered at my local food pantry and was a volunteer volleyball coach.

What is the most unique thing you have done during law school?

My criminal law professor took us on a tour of a prison a few towns over. He wanted us to see the lives that prisoners live. It was important to him because he wanted to illustrate that our actions as lawyers have real consequences on people. Our jobs truly impact people’s lives.

What do you like best about being a law student?

I like being challenged when it comes to the material. It is different from undergrad, there are no tests and no written assignments throughout the semester besides your final exam. You do the reading and you have to analyze it and figure out how it applies. Each class is like a puzzle. Every new concept is a piece to the puzzle and you have to put all the pieces together for the final exam.

How did you prepare for the LSAT?

I strongly relied on free prep for the LSAT. I used LSAC for practice problems and tests. I bought Kaplan LSAT prep books to guide me through the questions and problems. I was recommended by my Pre-Law advisor to use varsity tutors which is another free prep resource that was useful.

How did you manage your time and tasks during the application process?

I took the LSAT over the summer to give myself plenty of time to focus on the other aspects of the application. I typically use check lists and to do lists to keep myself organized and I found that to be extremely useful during the process. It was also important to make sure I was paying attention to my school schedule to avoid being in a position where I had many assignments due for school while also approaching application deadlines.

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently during the application process?

I wish that I had taken the LSAT a second time. The first time I took it, the fire alarm went off at the location and I managed to mess up my scantron. I wanted to wait to see how I did on my first LSAT before I scheduled a second test, but by the time I got my results back, they had closed the registration for the next LSAT. I also wish I would have asked the people who wrote my letters of recommendation to do so earlier. I ended up in a position where the letters were the only thing that needed to be done, and I found myself waiting for those to be completed before I could be completely done. 

What is the best piece of advice you would offer someone applying to law school?

Pick the law school that is right for you. It is such a personal decision and it is important to identify what is important to you. Take the time now to determine what you want in a law school.

UP NEXT!  Check back later this week for our first admissions dean guest blogger, Rebecca Ray, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Illinois College of Law!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Where to Apply?

One of the more difficult questions to answer after deciding to apply to law school in the upcoming admissions cycle is where to apply? With over 200 law schools in the country, it can be a seemingly hard process to narrow down the list of schools you could potentially attend. Below, we’ve outline some important factors and information you should be taking into consideration when deciding where you want to apply to law school.

All students will need to set individual goals for the law school they will choose.  There are many factors to consider and every student will have different goals they hope to achieve through the admissions process.  Determine what is most important to you in a law school and base your decision on where to apply using these goals as a guide!

As always, you can  meet with a Pre-Law Advisor to work through your decision-making process and help configure your law school application list!  LSAC also provides helpful information to students exploring law school options. 


Factors to Consider!

Medians – Your GPA and LSAT

They aren’t everything – but they are an excellent guide…

Medians LSAT and GPA aren’t everything, but medians do give good insight on the credentials law schools are looking for when admitting applicants and the general competitiveness of your credentials among previous, successful incoming students.  

      • Let medians inform and guide your decision-making process, but don’t let medians be the sole controlling factor on where you will or will not apply.  Evaluate how your LSAT and GPA compare through the LSAC Law School database search!
      • Apply Sooner, Rather than Later! Law schools have the most flexibility in their admissions process at the beginning.

Location, Location, Location

  • Law schools will assist in placing students around the country following graduation.  However, attending law school in or near the same community you would like to practice in does provide unique opportunities to learn about that specific legal market, engage in experiential opportunities, and develop professional networks both during the academic year and in the summer months.  It also helps demonstrate your commitment to residing in the area post-graduation!

The most important question you may want to ask yourself is: Would I live here?  Consider the type of community (college town, large city, or rural area), activities and resources available, and important personal factors such as proximity to family?  Remember you will be here for three years!

Cost

Law school is an investment. As intimidating as the tuition price may seem, there are many factors that can help make the cost of attending law school manageable, and students finance law school in a variety of ways including scholarships, financial aid, grants, and private loans.  Being well informed is key to being able to make strategic decisions about cost and determining if this investment is one you are willing and able to make.

    • Tuition: Exploring tuition parameters and amounts at each school is necessary!  Public vs. private law schools may also have different approaches to tuition.  Public schools generally will have lower tuition, differentiating in-state and out-of-state students. In-state students will typically receive an in-state tuition rate.  Private schools will have a standard tuition rate for all students, regardless of residency.
    • Cost of Attendance (COA): Law schools will publish their anticipated Cost of Attendance on their website. COA is meant to provide a holistic look at the financial requirement to attend the specific law school.  It includes tuition, fees, living expenses, travel, costs, and book expenses. It is important to review this information for each individual school in advance, and in conjunction with any scholarship or financial aid offers.
    • Scholarships and Financial Aid:  Each law school determines scholarship awards differently.   Most admission scholarships are merit based and are evaluated automatically upon offers of admissions. Some schools will have additional scholarships or grants for incoming students based on unique attributes or financial need.  Investigate each school and learn about their scholarship awards and guidelines!
      • FAFSA:  Students applying to law school who wish to be eligible for financial aid will need to complete a FAFSA.  Schools will calculate your financial aid package upon admission.
      • Negotiating scholarships: Some schools will allow students to negotiate the scholarship or financial aid package they have received.
        • Do > compare offers from all schools, keeping in mind offers are most directly comparable to similarly situated law schools!  Look at the schools cost of attendance rate (COA), do you have unique needs that the COA does not account for? How does it compare to other schools?
        • Don’t > violate any policies that a law school may have, such as final determinations of scholarships and no negotiating practices.

Academic and Experiential Opportunities

Be sure to look curriculums and specific course offerings as they relate to your current or possible interests.  Consider the types and diversity of courses offered, including experiential opportunities.  Be sure to check out clinical and other credit-earning experiential opportunities!

Remember plans change!  Don’t base your decision solely on course offerings as your plans may change and all law schools will offer diverse curriculums to prepare you for any practice area!

Employment & Bar Passage

An important consideration to take into account when deciding on a law school is the school’s bar passage and employment placement rates.  Going to law school should put you in the best possible position to set up your legal career, and passing the bar exam and securing a job are the first hurdles you’ll need to clear before embarking on that journey.  These two metrics will provide insight on how well the law school prepares its students for post-graduation success.

    • Clerkships!  Ask the Check-out the law school’s website  or ask the Admissions office about the schools success in placing students in state and federal clerkships post-graduation!

Class Size

Class size varies by law school. Typically, each first-year class is split up into different sections.  If you thrive in a more personal learning experience, or excel in a large classroom setting, it is important to learn how big the first year class is and what the structure for classes will be. Below are some examples of the recent incoming Class of 2022 sizes:

    • University of Illinois College of Law: 130 students
    • Washington University School of Law: 229 students
    • Georgetown University Law Center: 573 students

ABA 509 Disclosures

Each year, the ABA requires law schools to disclose specific information about their law school. The ABA 509 Disclosure reports are an extremely helpful tool that will provide you a snapshot of much of the information mentioned above. On the report, you can find bar passage, employment, class size, scholarship, tuition, and cost of attendance, living expenses, and much more! Each law school will have a compiled report. You can access the ABA 509 reports here.

 

CAST A WIDE NET

Ultimately, law schools will be making admissions decisions based on criteria and goals that you will not know and from an applicant pool that looks different every year.  Casting a wide net optimizes your chances of an acceptance for the current application cycle and allows you to thoughtfully send out applications to schools you have targeted and determined would be a good fit for you.Therefore, determine your own personal goals and consider applying to a broad range of schools: dream schools, target schools, and safety schools.

The chart below illustrates what general range you will fall into, based on the total number of schools you submit applications to:


Credential Referral Service (CRS) 

CRS is offered through LSAC and will require separate sign-up, including  your permission for LSAC to release your information to schools that you did not apply to.  The CRS may help you gain greater exposure to law schools, particularly ones you may not have considered.  CRS provides law schools the ability to pursue potential applicants that did not apply directly through general information or individual outreach. Some may also extend fee waivers for your applications!

Debunking Myths

“Ranking is most important, I must go to a ‘T14’ law school to be successful, or work in ‘big law,’ or work in a big city.” False. Many schools not in the ‘T14’ place students all over the country at many different jobs ranging across the spectrum. You should not have the “higher ranking = more prestige = more successful” mindset, as that might prevent you from discovering amazing opportunities and incredible schools.  Remember to check the 509 reports and talk with schools about their career placement!

“I have to go straight through to law school to be a desirable candidate.” False. This is the perfect time to weigh all of your options and consider taking a gap year, or more, to get valuable work experience. Law schools do not discriminate against non-traditional candidates, and some law schools even value a gap year of experience.

“I have the best chances of getting into my alma mater’s law school.” False. Law school admissions take a holistic approach, considering each aspect of your application when making admissions decisions. Though your alma mater’s law school maybe more familiar with your coursework, the rigor involved, and certain academic achievements/campus opportunities;  that does not mean you have a better chance at admission. Cast a wide net

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Planning & Preparing your Law School Application

Tips and suggestions to help you through the 2020-2021 application cycle… 


THE LAW SCHOOL’S PERSPECTIVE
    • Schools will set institutional goals each year for their entering class. These goals may include maintaining or advancing median LSAT/GPAs, class diversity, class size, balancing out last year’s incoming class, or achieving representation from a large variety of undergraduate institutions and degrees. These objectives are meant to support the institution’s overall goals and to also create a dynamic and diverse class that will enhance the learning experience for all students.
    • Every application cycle is different based on the school’s goals,  expectations, and the applicant pool.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME?  What Should I know?
    • Ultimately a school’s individual goals are unknown outside of the institution. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to enhance your application by being well informed and following some of the best practices we have outlined below!
    • Rolling Admissions:  Law schools have rolling admissions – meaning they begin making decisions from the start of the admissions cycle. The later you apply the fewer seats remain – apply early and maximize your potential to be extended an offer!

The Application:

    • Your law school application is comprised of many components. It can be a long, arduous process and can be difficult to balance with a full course load or full-time job. Therefore, it is important to strategize and plan your application by setting a timeline, sticking to it, and putting in the necessary effort to get it done and submitted!  Being organized and efficient is one of the best things to do to support your application success!
    • Generally, each of your applications will include seven (7) primary components: resume, personal statement, LSAT, GPA, letters of recommendation, transcript(s), and optional addendums.  Registration with the LSAC Credential Assembly Service is required to apply to law school.  CAS serves as a central administration to assist you for each individual application. Please note that each law school will have their own individual application you will need to complete – good news, these are available through CAS!
    • TIP! Remember each law school may have unique requirements, review websites in advance!


RESUME


    • A one-page, well-formatted document summarizing your education history, accomplishments, work experiences, leadership activities, and special skills and interests. TIP! Be sure to list in reverse chronological order…
    • Your resume should be formatted into distinct sections. This could include: Header, Education, Experience, Leadership & Volunteer Activities, and Skills and Interest.  Sections should be unique to your resume and support your individual experiences and credentials.
    • A well-crafted, well-organized resume leads to effectiveness and readability.
    • TIP! Look at the law school’s websites for resume requirements, but also to get a feel for what they are looking for (buzz words, traits, etc. you can incorporate into your resume).

Personal Statement


    • An opportunity for you to highlight your candidacy to the admissions committee and to tell them something they cannot find in other sections of your application.
    • What do you want the admissions committee to remember about you? Show the admissions committee why you want to go to law school, why the law, and how your life experiences have led you to pursuing a career in the law.
    • TIP! Plan sufficient time to write your personal statement because it will take multiple drafts and many revisions before perfecting your final draft!

Letters of Recommendation


    • 2-4 letters from professors or supervisors, that support your law school application.
    • Reach out now! You want to determine who will be writing your letters as soon as possible and reach out as soon as you can. Professors will need ample amount of time to write a good letter.
    • Law schools want to see letters of recommendation that speak to you, personally, as a candidate, highlighting your academic capabilities and aptitude.
    • Consider setting a deadline of at least one (1) week before you need them. Recommenders must submit the letters to LSAC -CAS
    • TIP! Some schools will have specific criteria or caps on the total number of letters they will review.  Be sure to check in advance.

Addendums/Supplemental Essays


    • Law school specific, brief essays or statements that provide an opportunity for you to clarify and expound upon aspects of your application. Some common types of application addendums are:
        • Diversity Statement –  An opportunity to highlight your diversity as a candidate.
        • GPA/LSAT/Academic Explanation – An opportunity for you to provide additional information regarding “low” scores or grades.  For example, extenuating circumstances or disruptions in your schooling that create credentials that you feel do not fully reflect your ablities. Think objectively.
        • Character & Fitness – An opportunity to provide additional information regarding citations, arrests, convictions, etc. Note! Read the language carefully – if you have questions clarify with the admissions office prior to applying.
    • TIP! Be sure to check the law school website to clarify their guidelines on addendums.  Some addendums may be optional, others may be required!

GPA – Transcripts


    • You will need to provide transcripts for all programs attended – plan ahead!
    • Keep medians in mind. Medians aren’t everything, but they are an excellent guide that will certainly help give you an idea of what the law school is looking for in a candidate.
    • The “Law School” GPA. In order to provide schools with a uniform basis to compare candidate credentials,  LSAC will configure a “new” GPA for each candidate.  This conversion will take into account a number of factors, including norming all GPAs to a 4.0 scale.  Be sure to review the LSAC Transcript Summarization page for details.   Schools will see both your LSAC GPA and GPA provided on your transcripts – in some instances they will be the same.
    • Gap Year? Would your academic abilities and skills benefit from an additional year to develop prior to law school and application to law school?  Taking a gap year can enhance your application and help prepare you for law school – don’t be afraid to consider this option

The LSAT


    • Similar to median GPAs, a school’s median LSAT score is an excellent guide that will provide helpful insight into what the law school is looking for in a candidate and their goals for your admission cycle.
    • The LSAT is offered multiple times per year.  You will need an LSAT score prior to applying to law school.
    • The LSAT Writing portion is completed independently but is required to receive a score.  You do  not need to complete a new Writing portion for every exam and there is no additional fee.
    • Upcoming Dates and Deadlines:

    • GRE:  Some law schools will accept the GRE as an alternative to an LSAT score, however, the LSAT remains the primary admissions test.  There are also limitations on how many GRE applicants may be accepted each year.  TIP: If you are applying without an LSAT score, be sure to follow-up with your law school to confirm there are not unique steps given you are a GRE candidate and that they received your GRE and CAS Report from LSAC!  You will still need to register with CAS.

Credential Assembly Service (CAS)


    • Transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other documents required for each of your law school applications only need to be sent one time, to LSAC – CAS.
    • All ABA-approved law school applications are available electronically through your CAS, saving you time and effort!
    • All applicants must sign up for CAS separate an apart from LSAC and the LSAT.
    • The CAS fee is $195. Additionally, there is a $45 processing fee per law school application.  You let CAS know which law schools you want to apply to.
    • TIP! It takes approximately 2 weeks to process a transcript in CAS – plan ahead!

Upcoming Programs!

Application Excellence: A Guide to Perfecting Your Law School Application

This workshop will provide specific guidance on how to optimize elements of the application, including resumes, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and addendums. This program will look at best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and suggestions for achieving an excellent quality submission.

This program is highly recommended for students and alumni applying during the 2020-2021 academic year!

This program will be offered on the following dates:

The registration deadline is by Noon (CST) the day prior to the program. 

Question?

To make an appointment with Pre-Law Advising, please sign up at: https://go.oncehub.com/PreLawAdvisingatIllinois

For general questions and resources, connect with Pre-Law Advising:

 


Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Welcome Back!

We hope that the semester is off to a great start and that you are staying healthy!  The Pre-Law Advising Services (PLAS) office will be operating on a virtual basis this semester, but we look forward to hosting online programming and appointments to connect with you throughout the semester.  Our services are available to all University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students and alumni.

Below please find a quick guide for working with our office and a snapshot of important dates and events for September. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Connecting with PLAS

In addition to our Blog, there are many ways to connect with the PLAS Office and we encourage you to check these resources regularly throughout the week for updates and new information.

Advising Appointments

Individual advising appointments remain available throughout the semester on a virtual basis (zoom or phone). To help ensure that appointments are most productive in addressing your individual question and needs, students are asked to attend a Pre-Law 101 session prior to scheduling an individual advising appointment.  There are two types of appointments available for students: (1) Pre-Law Advising Appointments, and (2) Document Review (Personal Statements, Resumes, and Essays).

Please visit our online Appointments page for more details and a link to our online scheduling system.

Upcoming Programming

Programming for the Fall 2020 semester is already underway! Be sure to review the online PLAS Calendar for the most current information on programming and events.

    • Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Applicants! Be sure to check-out our upcoming Application Excellence: A Guide to Perfecting Your Application program. There will be four sessions throughout the semester providing detailed recommendations and strategies for your personal statement, resumes, letters or recommendation, and addendums/supplemental essays.  Anyone applying to law school during the 2020-2021 academic year are encouraged to attend.
        • Next Session:  Wednesday, September 9 at 4:00 pm. Register by Tuesday, September 8 at Noon.

September Snapshot:

Below please see a list of important dates, upcoming events, and reminders for September 2020…

    • Thursday, September 3: PLAS Workshop – Application Roadmap: Navigating Your Fall 2020 Applications
    • Sunday, September 13 – LSAT Deadline! Assistance Request Deadline for October LSAT
    • Wednesday, September 23 – LSAT Deadline! Registration Deadline for November LSAT
    • Wednesday, September 23: LSAC Digital Forum Registration Deadline (Free)
    • Friday, September 25 – LSAT Deadline! Test Date Change Request for October exam – No Charge

 Be sure to check the Pre-Law Advising Calendar for upcoming programs and events!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Updates for November LSAT!

Below please find the recent announcement by LSAC regarding the November 2020 LSAT Administration…

Given the continuing COVID-19 emergency, LSAC has made the decision to offer the online, remotely proctored LSAT-Flex in November, instead of the in-person LSAT scheduled for November 14 in the U.S. and Canada.  The LSAT-Flex gives candidates the opportunity to earn an LSAT score and continue their law school journeys despite COVID-19 restrictions on travel or public gatherings. You can learn more about the LSAT-Flex and see answers to frequently asked questions on our website.

The November LSAT-Flex will be administered the week starting Saturday, November 7 (please note this is a change from the previously announced November 14 date). Most test takers will test on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, with a small number of tests occurring later in the week based on specific remote proctoring requirements. Due to the demands of the LSAT-Flex administration, this will be an undisclosed test. The November LSAT-Flex will count toward the annual, multi-year, and lifetime limits on taking the LSAT. We are targeting Tuesday, November 24, as the score release date.

Key dates for November test takers

      • Registration for the November LSAT-Flex is open through Wednesday, September 23. Candidates currently registered for the November LSAT may either take the November LSAT-Flex or opt out and receive a coupon that can be applied to any future test between January and April 2021. Candidates should visit their LSAC account and submit the online form with their choice. Candidate who do not contact LSAC by September 23, will be automatically registered for the LSAT-Flex on or about September 26. They may withdraw from the November LSAT-Flex by October 30 and receive the coupon. After the October 30 deadline, coupons are not available.
          • Because the November LSAT-Flex is an online, remotely proctored test, LASC is able to offer a variety of test start times for test takers to choose from. LSAC will open the scheduling sign-up process about two weeks before the first day of testing in November, so test takers can select the available time that works best for them. Test takers will receive more information and instructions prior to that time.
      • LSAC is working to help every test taker in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Canada have the equipment and other resources they need to take the online, remotely proctored exam and do their best work. Any candidate who does not have the necessary equipment or an appropriate place to test should submit an online form in their LSAC account no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, October 18, 2020, so that we can work with them to address their needs.

Visit www.lsac.org for additional information on the upcoming LSAT-Flex exams.

October & November LSAT-Flex Exam Space:

LSAC will be offering resources and support for students who have equipment needs and/or are unable to identify an appropriate test space for LSAT-Flex administrations. You must contact LSAC via online form located in your LSAC account before the following dates to be eligible for resources:

    • October LSAT-Flex: Sunday, September 13 no later than 10:59 PM (CST)/11:59 PM(EST)
    • November LSAT-Flex: Sunday, October 18 no later than 10:59 PM (CST)/11:59 PM (EST)

Campus Space: Pre-Law Advising Services has secured campus test space options for the October and November LSAT-Flex administrations. Test space is limited so rooms will be available on a need-based, first come, first served basis. Please stay tuned for additional details in the upcoming weeks!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email

Where to take the LSAT-Flex?

Due to important safety guidelines related to COVID-19, space availability on campus for study and coursework is more limited than prior semesters. Planning ahead and identifying an appropriate place to sit for the exam will be a critical part of your LSAT-Flex prep process this fall.  Please keep in mind that any space that you identify will need to adhere to very specific criteria provided by LSAC.  The good news!  We are here to help and have compiled information and resources below aimed to assist in your planning for the August and October LSAT -Flex administrations!

General LSAT-Flex Parameters:

    •  The LSAT-Flex is comprised of three, 35-minute sections. We recommend planning a 3-hour window to take your exam (allowing for approximately 30 minutes before and after).
    • The exam is online and will be proctored remotely.
    • You will need a computer or laptop with webcam.
        • October Examinees: If you do not have access to required equipment (Windows/Mac computer or laptop with a webcam), please reach out to LSAC via online form found in your LSAC account BEFORE September 13, 2020 at 11:59 EST (10:59 CST). LSAC will work with you to try and provide a loaner device for the exam.
    • There are NO breaks during the exam.
    • You are the only person permitted in the room during the exam.

Please carefully review the LSAC website for a full list of testing requirements and information.

Selecting a location to take the exam…

You will be the only individual permitted in the room during your exam therefore you will need to identify a private location to take the exam. LSAC also requires a flat, hard surface to take the exam on (table, desk, etc.) and has provided a detailed list of materials that you are allowed to have on your desk during the exam.  Before beginning the exam, you will be required to show the proctor a 360° view of the room via your webcam.  Be sure to carefully confirm that your test space meets the LSAC guidelines and that all prohibited items have been removed from your desk.

Additional things to consider:
    • Reliable Internet Connection/Technical difficulties: Very few individuals have experienced technical issues during the prior LSAT-Flex administrations, however, it is very important that you ensure your test space has a good, reliable internet connection. Should you experience difficulties during the exam, LSAC has provided procedures for individuals to work-through connection or technical issues and then resume the exam. In situations of repeated or prolonged issues, the proctor will have discretion. Please visit the LSAC website and carefully review details regarding exam day issues.
    • Noise:  Is the space relatively quiet?  Can you control the level of noise in the room? Is the noise level different at different times of day? Only soft, non-electronic, non-corded/banded, generic foam ear plugs will be allowed during the exam.   Earplugs must be shown and approved by the proctor on the test date.  Be sure the noise level is conducive to your ability to concentrate on your exam and to be responsive to instructions from the proctor.
        • Pets (it happens): Pets are permitted to enter the exam room during the exam, however, even the most well-trained pet can display unexpected behavior. Once the test begins,  you cannot move out of the view of the camera to address a pet issue if it should arise. We love pets too, BUT… avoid unnecessary issues or distractions by planning to remove pets from your testing space in advance (the goldfish can stay).
    • Interruptions /Individuals Accidentally Entering the Room: You will be the only individual permited in the room during your exam. If someone enters the room, you must ask them to leave immediately. The proctor has the discretion to determine if the exam may continue after the interruption.
        • TIP: Consider creating a “Do Not Disturb/LSAT Exam in Progress” sign to post on your door during the exam.
    • Room Set-up: Plan ahead and physically arrange the testing space to fit your needs before the exam. Be sure that anything you need is within reaching distance on your desktop. Once the exam starts, you cannot move around or move out of view of the webcam.
    • Trial-Run: Make sure you are comfortable with the test space you have created and are comfortable with all of your materials fitting on your desk surface. Create a zoom call with a friend or family member to “test” your exam day experience.
        • Tip: Be sure to plan your trial-run at the same time of day that you have scheduled your exam!
    • Accessibility/Location: Where is the test space located?  Is it fully accessible to you?  Is there parking available, can you park for up to 3 hours?  Be sure to plan for travel time to your test location taking into account possible delays or unexpected issues.

Possible locations for your test space…

  • There are a variety of locations that could potentially serve as test space for your exam.  Below are a few common locations to consider.
Your Campus Residence:  

Your campus residence can be a great space to take the exam as you likely already use this space for your academic work and may have an ideal set-up in your bedroom or designated office.  When deciding if your campus residence is the right place for your exam be sure to consider the following…

      • Roommates:
          • Will you have the residence to yourself? If not, identify potential issues (ex: loud video games/tv in common areas during the exam time).
          • Be proactive – approach roommates at least 1-2 weeks prior to the exam and arrange an agreement for the time of your exam (plan for a 3-hour block to give plenty of time).
          • Be sure your roommates are aware of the potential consequences if your exam is interrupted or flagged for further review by the proctor due to disruptions.
          • If your roommates are unable or unwilling to make an agreement with you about potential concerns, consider another space.
          • Tip: Be sure to remind roommates 1-2 days prior to your exam.
      • Neighbors:
          • If you know your neighbors, or know they have a tendency to make noise, reach out to them 5-7 days in advance to make them aware of your situation.
          • Let them know your plans and request that they try to keep the noise level low during the exam time.
          • Though it won’t guarantee a completely silent exam environment, it could definitely help!
      • Internet Connection:
          • Test your internet connection beforehand to ensure you have a secure and strong connection.
          • Tip: If you are aware that your test space internet is spotty or unreliable, try using an Ethernet cable or WiFi booster. If your internet is not reliable, consider taking the exam somewhere else.
      • Be Creative – is there a space within a space?
          • Consider common rooms or study space provided by your apartment complex, residence hall, or fraternity/sorority house.
          • Be sure to consider privacy, availability (you need at least 2 hours, 3 preferably), and internet reliability – test it out in advance.
          • Tip: Does your building  have vacant offices you might be able to use? Reach out to management, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Libraries:
    • Champaign Public Library: Beginning Monday, August 24, individuals may reserve study rooms at the Champaign Public Library, NO library card is required. Rooms may be reserved for 2 hours exactly.  Please call the library to make a reservation (217) 403-2000.  The Champaign Public Library is located at 200 W. Green St, library hours are: Mon-Thu 9-9 | Fri-Sat 9-6 | Sun 12-6. 
    • Campus Libraries: Due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, campus libraries are currently unavailable for space reservations. We will continue to monitor any changes to space availability through campus libraries and provide updates if space becomes available.
Hotel Rooms:

Hotel rooms could also provide a suitable location for your exam and there are many options available in the Champaign-Urbana area. Be sure to confirm the internet access in advance. For hotel and motel options in Champaign, please visit https://www.visitchampaigncounty.org/.

Additional Resources:

August LSAT-Flex: If you have been unable to secure a location for your LSAT-Flex exam, please email the Pre-Law Advising Services office at ccaas-prelaw@illinois.edu subject line “Test Room” by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, August 26.  A member of the PLAS office will be in touch with you to provide further information and guidance.

October LSAT-Flex Resources:

    • LSAC will be offering resources and support for students who have equipment needs and/or are unable to identify an appropriate test space for LSAT-Flex administrations. If you will need support or assistance for the October LSAT-Flex, you must contact LSAC via online form located in your LSAC account before Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 11:59 EST (10:59 CST).
    • Pre-Law Advising Services is currently working on securing on campus test space options for the October LSAT-Flex administration. Rooms will be available on a need-based, first come, first served basis. Please stay tuned for additional details in the upcoming weeks!
Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email