Finals Prep – Like a 1L

There’s no better time to build the habit of solid finals preparation than now. ¬†So as you prepare for this round of finals see if you can implement these strategies so that 1L . . . and 2L . . . and beyond . . . don’t seem so overwhelming.

Here’s another sip of coffee and another hour of prep – thinkin’ of you ūüėČ

Networking Tips from a Dean of Admissions

Networking is such a buzz-word we fear it has lost its true value.  What is the value of networking?  It is purely about learning.  Building relationships, pushing yourself to strike up conversations, asking meaningful questions, and getting a personal store of contacts cannot possibly be over-rated.  Students who push themselves to do these things well continue to find opportunities Рeven in markets like today.  The Pre-Law Advising Center hosts many networking events Рones to learn effective strategies and EVERY event that we hold which leads to another contact.  Place yourself at the top of the networking game by attending ones like the one where we recently hosted Pam Bloomquist.

Dean Pam Bloomquist, Assistant Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, visited UIUC on March 7th. She stressed the importance of networking and the impact it can make for students interested in law. She gave an example similar to the following: You decide to shadow an attorney and you arrive and he/she gives you a business card. One contact. You ask a question about litigation but the attorney thinks another associate could better answer your question so he/she passes you to another associate. You get another business card. Two contacts. This process could go on the entire time you are shadowing. At the end of the day, you could have multiple contacts. This is something so simple but so significant. Thus, here are some quick tips you can use to build your network:

  1. Ask for business cards: even if you know you don’t want to do that particular job or work at that company, you never know when you might want or need to contact that person
  2. After a job shadowing experience or meeting a professional, take a few notes down about what you talked about or things you had in common. Your notes will come handy in tip #3
  3. Follow-up with e-mails: email the professionals you met, even if it is just to thank them for your conversation. This will help the professionals remember you, allow you to stick out, and could open opportunities for you in the future,
  4. Address an email with a title. Example: ‚ÄúGood morning Ms.______‚ÄĚ. This is more professional and appropriate than¬† ‚ÄúHello‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúHey‚ÄĚ
  5. Take advantage of opportunities to meet law school deans, professors, and professionals.  When they come to campus, go meet them. They might remember you and thus take notice of your application above other applications.

Suzi Blanco is a graduate intern in the Pre-Law Advising Services office and Division of General Studies where she has focused on social media and outreach to students. She will graduate in May 2013 with her Master’s degree in Higher Education and will continue working with students as an academic advisor in the School of Chemical Sciences. 

Financing Law School – Presentation Links

Financial Aid Presentation for Open House13

Thanks to those who came out tonight for our event between the UIUC College of Law and the UIUC Pre-Law Advising Services Center!  We hope that everyone left feeling more empowered in the process of navigating the financial issues that accompany attending law school.

We post this link here for you to take advantage of the incredible resources hyperlinked within Рall you will need to be educated and empowered!  Remember that the Heather Jarvis webinar is available through our recent blog post!

Financing Law School – Workshop & Tools

Are you utilizing all the tools available for financial planning for law school?

Don’t be fooled by all the offers! ¬†Join me at the University of Illinois Financial Planning event next Monday (April “not so fooled” Day), April 1, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.¬†at the College of Law. There will be a unique combination with the presentation by the U of I law school financial aid office and the Pre-Law Advising Office. ¬†I’ll bring the information from the office ¬†and the perspective of a current law student with significant debt and recently going through this process.

LSAC has a simple list of questions that should be answered:

Come with your own questions!  Whether or not your plan for financing law school will include incurring significant debt Рyou should attend and strategize about approaching your offers from law schools!


Pre-Law Day at University of Illinois College of Law!

Maybe you’ve gone to all the pre-law information events and have a clear understanding of the process of getting into law school, all the factors to consider, and even the type of job you hope to pursue with your J.D.! ¬†That’s great! ¬†No matter what law school you plan on attending – spending a day in the law school experience will help you have the confidence to apply and as you begin your own law school journey. ¬†The event is fast-approaching, so save the date and send in your RSVP immediately!

Pre-Law students from around the country are invited to attend pre-law day at the University of Illinois College of Law. ¬†The University of Illinois Pre-Law Day will be April 6 from 9:30AM – 3PM. This annual event is ideal for anyone and all ages interested in attending law school, learning more about the law school experience, and especially the University of Illinois-College of Law in particular. The day will include: a mock law class with the College’s dean, the law school’s admissions panel discussing the application process, panels from both current students and law practioners, and a tour of the law school. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. This is a must-attend event for any pre-law student! If you have any questions please contact: Tiffany at

To register please visit the Pre-Law Day website at:

Greenlight Giving CollegeCONNECT – Pilot Program free and exclusively designed for UIUC Pre-Law Students!

PLAS has a very unique opportunity we‚Äôve arranged with a new networking initiative called ‚ÄúGreenlight Giving CollegeCONNECT‚ÄĚ.¬† This particular initiative of Greenlight Giving started as a project with Yale Law Students to develop what it means to truly network as an individual and within a committed group of similarly-focused peers.¬† The feedback that these students provided was unbelievably positive ‚Äď and many students still report continued success and utilization of skills gained from the experience.

Now some of you may be as connected as Yale Law Students ‚Äď but many of us are not! ‚Äď and that‚Äôs why Greenlight decided to develop a program that can reap the same benefits of smart networking and build it specifically to a constituency of students at a public university with a more diverse group of students.¬† They felt that the U of I was the perfect place to develop the program ‚Äď and have worked for the last year to prepare and develop the program to meet U of I student needs ‚Äď and want to provide it free this year as a pilot to¬† a select group of UIUC Pre-Law Students!

We are looking to create 5 or 6 teams of students composed of 5-6 members per team.  Each team will move the program together and complete tasks and approach challenges together.

If you are interested in participating in this free pilot program that could be the entry to a new and major network for you ‚Äď please visit¬†¬†for sign-up information.¬† The kick-off event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 from 5:30 ‚Äď 6:30 p.m.¬† Please forward this message to motivated and interested students in your group that you could envision taking the initiative to benefit from such a program!

You can read more about Greenlight Giving’s organization at

Looking forward to your participation and success!

Going to a law conference? Law student perspective. . .

Thanks Arian, for being so practical and confident and reminding me of the important factors in attending and making the most of a law conference! ¬†Pre-Law students . . .as you’re exploring your potential areas of interest you might consider attending a local legal conference!

1. Become friends with the organizers, email them, ask for assistance with defraying costs, sharing a room at a hotel. You can simply inquire about other persons or students who will be attending from a specific region you are interested in.

2. Ask to be paired with a mentor, especially if it’s your first time. Make use of that mentor. You may be interested in being paried with someone practicing in a certain area/focus or geographic region.

3. Get a list of the attorneys attending beforehand. You can contact them and plan to meet at the conference. Lots of people attend and not always the same sessions so don’t take it for grated that you’ll run across them.

4. Have an elevator pitch. “Hi my name is _, and I’m a 2L at _.” Ask for their name, ask what they do, and find a connection. If none is forthcoming, speak a little bit more about yourself. ¬†Tell them why you’re interested, tell them why you’re here.¬†Ask where they work, ask what types of issues they see in their line of work.

5. Try to have background information on the people you approach – doesn’t have to be extensive, for example, where they’re from, or where they work. This helps with the quantity vs. quality question – do you try to collect more business cards or have quality communication? Try to have a quality conversation, but that doesn’t mean it has to be long.

6. When you approach people and get their business card, tell them you’d like to remain in touch with them and ask if that’s ok. It shows your intent, and you’re not blindly asking for their business card as part of a collection. Try to gauge whether you could form a mentoring relationship with the person.

7. Take notes. You can make little notes on the back of the business cards you get. Things like what you spoke about or facts you want to remember about the person that can inform future conversation.

8. The follow up email is key. People often forget who they’ve met when they re-enter their routines. A great idea is to include in the follow up email a professional picture of yourself so that they can readily connect the name with a face.

9. Let people (the organizers, your mentor, others you meet) know that you are interested in meeting attorneys in a specific field, or from a specific geographic area.

10. Adhere to the attire requirement. One guy wore red pants, another girl wore hot pink wedges – don’t do that, especially in the legal field. You will stand out for the wrong reasons. Dress so that you will be complimented.

11. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I live my life by asking for what I want.

12. Be confident. Be confident. You’ve got this.

Financial Focus – Join us for an ongoing focus on law school finances – Kick-off tomorrow!

With the significant media attention and the enhanced awareness of legal realities since the recession, increased attention is being devoted to the financial components of attending law school and the related impact on the availability of legal services to all individuals in our state.  The Illinois State Bar Association has been proactive in addressing this issue, and most recently completed a series of hearings across the state to bring together practitioners in both small and mid-size firms, non-urban communities, current law students, scholars, and law school leaders.  Jamie and I were fortunate enough to attend the hearing in Champaign back in November, and the ISBA President John Theiss will be at the law school tomorrow (Tuesday, February 19) to discuss the findings and hopefully present some proactive options.

If you are considering attending a law school in Illinois or practicing in Illinois you should absolutely be in¬†attendance¬†at this event! ¬†When we talk networking this is exactly the kind of event that won’t necessarily network you into an opportunity but will be the talking point for future networking opportunities. ¬†It is from 12:00 – 1:00 in the College of Law Auditorium. ¬†A lunch will be provided for attendees. ¬†What we hope is that increased education and awareness around these realities will not only impact law students but that you can impact this incredibly important movement.

I will be there – and will certainly update you on the information presented – but I truly hope to see a huge Pre-Law presence.

Our next event in this financial focus will be a webinar for UIUC Pre-Law students from the nation’s leading expert in all things financial for law school, Heather Jarvis. ¬†She has been spotlighted in a recent four part cover series in the ABA Student Lawyer magazine and she frequently covers the issues in major media. ¬†You should not even be considering signing up for the webinar – if you are even considering law school this should be a top priority for you.

Looking forward to an in-depth focus on all things that can help develop your legal pursuits with clarity about the financial implications!

Free LSAT Lessons!

This week seems to bring a focus on LSAT prep, and with the number of June test-takers we have it’s time to stop any delay on your LSAT prep. ¬†Not only does the score play a significant role in your admissions profile, but it can really make the difference in terms of scholarship offers! ¬†So don’t delay – start your study routine today!

This website was a dear friend of mine (and clearly on the screens of many of my peers 1L year!) when we were “on call” our first year. ¬†I just realized it had a wonderful LSAT series and thought you might find it helpful as a free starting point.

Let us know if there is any way we can help you in your LSAT preparation!

LSAT Prep – Scholarship Announcements and Pre-Law Study Groups!

Congratulations to our 2013 LSAT Prep Scholarship Winners!

Two Pre-Law students were each awarded full scholarships for Kaplan’s LSAT Advantage On Site, Anywhere, or On Demand courses. ¬†Find our more about these Kaplan programs at: ¬†

One Pre-Law student was awarded a LSAT Weekend Course from PowerScore Test Preparation. ¬†And EIGHT Pre-Lawers each received one of PowerScore’s popular Logic Games Bible books. ¬†Find out more about PowerScore at: ¬†

Two students were each awarded $500 towards the purchases of a Next Step Test Prep LSAT one-on-one tutoring service.  Find out more about Next Step Test Prep here:

We look forward to hearing the success stories from these students and from YOU! ¬†Whether or not you participate in one of these professional test prep programs – perhaps you’d like to connect with another pre-law student to form a study group. ¬†If so, email the Pre-Law Graduate Assistant, Donna Davis, at with your preferred contact information and a general study group interest (1x/2x per week, 2x per month, morning/afternoon/evening) and we will connect you with other pre-law students so that you can have another realm of accountability and partnership as you pursue this important part of the law school application process.

Congratulations Again!  Wishing all our LSAT takers the best!