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!

Favorite Academic Activities

“Clinics! You can gain real-world client experience while still in law school. You can help people, it sets you apart, and it gets you out of the classroom.”

-Mallory M. | University of Illinois College of Law

“I think internships/externships are the best opportunities for students to get experience in a given area. They allow you to make connections in a professional field that will be invaluable in the near future.”

-Noah S. |William & Mary Law School

“I am involved in the Review of Intellectual Property Law – which is ranked in the top 5 intellectual property law journals in the world. I am on the board as a lead articles editor and I get to read and recommend articles to publish written by some of the brightest thinkers. I’ve read articles about the metaverse, crypto, etc., and find it very hard not to like them. Aside from that, the rest of the board is comprised of good friends—some that I’ve known from UIUC.

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

“Last semester, I worked with a pro bono client to get his criminal record expunged. Out of dozens of charges, we were able to file for almost all of them to be removed from his record under North Carolina law. Some of the charges had affected his searches for employment and housing, and it was extremely rewarding and humbling to be able to alleviate this burden and help him turn over a new leaf.”

-Amanda W. | Duke University School of Law

“Negotiation Competitions. Opportunity to compete and develop real-world skills.”

-Austin M. | Marquette University Law School

“Mock Trial. I love learning and applying the federal rules of evidence. I also lean into the natural theatrics of building a case theory and presenting an argument in a trial.”

-Vanessa A. | Loyola University Chicago School of Law

“Studying, 1L law students don’t have time for much else lol.”

-Matthew M. | UNLV, William S. Boyd School of Law

“Law Review because it provides you with practical skills when it comes to legal writing.”

-Maciek C. | University of Wisconsin-Madison

“I am very interested in moot court, which is not an activity I would normally think I would be interested in but I am interested in competing in moot court in the future!”

-Dan S. | Loyola University Chicago School of Law

“My favorite law school extracurricular activity was journal. I enjoyed being able to write my Note on any topic that I found to be interesting and dedicate an entire school year to researching and perfecting it. Very rarely do we get the choice to choose what we want to write and research during law school, so it is fun to be creative and work on something you are interested in!”

-Ashley T. | George Washington University Law School

“I enjoyed participating in the Negotiations Team because I got to practice a form of settling disputes without litigation. I particularly appreciated that negotiating was a lawyering skill that focused on working with the other side to find mutually beneficial solutions.”

-Karen C. | University of California, Davis School of Law

Favorite Extracurricular Activities

“School softball league because it is the perfect blend of casual and competitive.”

-Sanjiv S. | University of Illinois College of Law

“Lunch talks. The school and various student orgs bring in speakers from all sorts of backgrounds and legal practice areas — I’ve learned so much from hearing practicing attorneys talk about what they do.”

-Haydn L. | University of Michigan Law School

“Anything active. If you don’t move around, you will lose your mind. Remember all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.”

-Nick S. | University of Illinois College of Law

“I love softball here at the College of Law, it is super fun and exciting. It’s also a great way to meet people and bond. It’s always a good time!”

-Cierra M. | University of Illinois College of Law

“The Justinian Society is an organization for Italian lawyers. It is a close-knit community and the attorneys are very involved in the careers of the law students.”

-Kayla C. | DePaul University College of Law

“Northwestern’s ACLU chapter! Although I enjoy being involved in other activities, such as law review and moot court, ACLU has been one of the few opportunities to make friends with my colleagues. Additionally, it’s rewarding to facilitate campus-wide activities to collect donations for abortion funds and set up educational lectures with top scholars in civil rights reform.”

-Tara S. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“I am not as involved in extracurriculars because I work part-time with school. I am involved with our student government, and appreciate the monthly brunches and networking events.”

-Margaret B. |DePaul University College of Law

“This is a non-conventional answer, but I made a point to get more involved in the community outside of law school. I’m slightly older than the average 1L (I’m 27), so I have career experience. I’m more focused on succeeding in the classroom and making the most of my time in LA than filling the resume with extracurriculars. I got involved at my church and started playing guitar in the band there. These have been great activities that help me feel like a whole person and not just a law student.”

-Grant L. | University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

“Entertainment Law Society (ELS) and volunteering at a homeless shelter to cook breakfast. ELS – very fun to meet people who are equally as passionate about pursuing the entertainment industry. Volunteering – Feels good to give back and meet alumni in the process.”

-Justin M. | Loyola Marymount University Law School

“Black Law Students Association. It’s good to be a part of a group outside of your section you can relate to and see a lot to help you through 1L.”

-Khalil R. | University of Chicago Law School

I am on the steering committee of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, which has been my favorite law school extracurricular. The journal allows students as early as their first year to become acquainted with legal scholarship, introducing them to novel ideas that they wouldn’t see in their classes. Participation in the journal also helps students hone their citation skills, which is vital for anyone thinking about becoming a litigator after graduation. Perhaps most importantly, the
journal provides a community for like-minded individuals to meet each other and form friendships over common interests and beliefs. For instance, nearly everyone who participates in the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law is focused on promoting workers’ rights and supporting labor unions, so we routinely hold social and community events to foster those shared beliefs.”

-Ben T. | University of California – Berkeley, School of Law

“My favorite law school extracurricular activity in law school was BLSA. I enjoyed creating a community and establishing relationships with future attorneys that look like me.”

-Darius C. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“I have enjoyed serving as a 1L representative with the Public Interest Law Group, as it’s a great community of like-minded folks. It’s nice to have connections with peers who want to go into a similar legal field! I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed representing my section in the Student Board Association (our student government). I’ve met great people there as well!”

-Skylar R. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“Softball! Not legal at all, but it’s been such an organic way to form lasting friendships outside of class.”

-Sydney S. | Georgetown University Law Center

“I serve on the executive board for a pro bono organization, Outreach for Legal Literacy, where we visit local elementary schools and teach students about the law. It is exciting to share what we learn in the law school while getting involved with the local community.”

-Stella G. | Indiana University Maurer School of Law

“Hanging out with family and friends.”

-Jillian W. | New England Law Boston

“Outside of law school activities, my friends and I go bowling every Wednesday, which is a nice distraction from the day-to-day. The SBA activities are always really fun too, and 2 of my best friends are our 1L reps.”

-Clara T. | Southern Illinois University School of Law

“Law school softball.”

-Jason S. |University of Illinois College of Law

“We have something called Coffee Mess which is basically just free coffee on Wednesday mornings in the student lounge. I enjoy it because the professors make it a point to attend and interact with us students, which I’ve heard isn’t necessarily the case in other law schools.”

-Alberto V. | University of Chicago Law School

“I’m involved in Decalogue Society, the Jewish club at school. While we don’t have as many activities or meetups as other groups on campus, it is a group I feel supports one another tremendously.”

-Michael B. | University of Illinois Chicago School of Law

“My favorite law school extracurricular is softball. We typically play once a week when the weather permits, and it is great to be able to play with all of my friends and get a break from law school. In addition, it is always nice to get outside and get fresh air.”

-Mackenzie M. | University of Illinois College of Law

“[Attending] receptions. Although I have to find it myself more often than not, the ability to talk to a practicing lawyer can help shape my perspective in the future. Plus, the informational gathering is satisfying in its own nature, good for interviews too.”

-Randy X. | Chicago-Kent College of Law

“I serve as a Dean’s Fellow, which means I help teach a first-year legal writing class. At GW, Dean’s Fellows specifically focus on teaching Bluebook citations to their students, and we have a large mentorship role as well. Mentorship is a huge priority for me, so I have loved the opportunity to meet first-year students and to be a resource for them however I can.”

-Erica H. | George Washington University Law School