What should you do this summer?

So your exams wrapped up last week.  You are now surfacing from extensive sleep recuperation.  Now is the time to decide how to use your summer.  Here are some suggestions.

1. Shadow an attorney(s).  Before you take the plunge and decide to go to law school you should have an understanding of what lawyers really do (Hint — watching countless hours of TV shows featuring lawyers doesn’t count).  Do you have lawyers in your family?  Do you or your parents/roommates/classmates know lawyers?  Now is the time to network and meet these people.  Start by inviting them out for coffee or a soda and ask them to talk about a typical day; what they like about the law; what they don’t like about being a lawyer, etc.  Then ask if you can spend a day shadowing them so you can experience/witness what they are telling you. 

2. Research law schools. You can always conduct research on line.  However, another option to get more information about specific law schools and the application process is to attend an LSAC Law School Forum.  

The forums are a series of free law school recruitment fairs, each of which attracts an average of 160 law schools from across the nation, representing public and private, large and small, rural and urban law schools. The Law School Forums give students an opportunity to talk informally with law school representatives and get firsthand information about admission requirements, course offerings, campus life, and financial aid.

The LSAC will be hosting a Law School Forum in Chicago on Saturday, July 13, 9am-4pm at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 540 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Admission is free and registration is easy, and you can register online here

In addition, as we mentioned in last week’s blog and email, you should mark your calendars now for another great opportunity to meet law school admissions folks.  On Tuesday, October 22, PLAS will host the annual Law School Fair, 11am-3pm on campus at the ARC!! Last year we hosted over 110 law schools from around the country so this is a must attend event!!

3. Start working on your applications. If you are applying to law school in the fall, work on the parts of you application that you can.  Your top priority should be preparing for either the June or October LSAT. Next, if you haven’t already done it, you should open up your Credential Assembly Service account with the LSAC.  Go here for more information. http://www.lsac.org/jd/apply/cas.asp. You should also request your letters of recommendation.  June LSAT takers — once the test is over, start working on your personal statement and resume.  October LSAT takers — in between studying for the LSAT, work on your personal statement and resume.  Check out the PLAS web page for suggestions on how to prepare these items. http://www.prelaw.illinois.edu/applying/index.html.

Remember: Law schools will start posting their applications online in mid-August.  Admissions is rolling so it is always a good idea to file your applications as early as possible.  Do not wait until fall to work on these important application elements!

From the PLAS Office — Pre-law advising appointments will be available later this summer.  After June 24, call the PLAS Office at (217) 333-9669 to schedule an appointment for early July.

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Attention Seniors — Chicago Law Firm Kirkland & Ellis Looking to Hire Project Assistants

Attention Seniors!

Decided not to go to law school but still want to explore the field? The Project Assistant (PA) Program at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, in Chicago (www.kirkland.com) is a 1-2 year program where the PAs work with legal assistants and attorneys on specific projects in any number of departments within the law firm.  Participants in the program are typically individuals that are thinking about going to law school but who want to work in a legal setting first.  No prior legal experience is needed, but the K&E folks want people who are not afraid of technology, who are comfortable working with Excel, PowerPoint, etc., and who are willing to work hard, take initiative and be creative.   The salary is described as competitive. There is no identified deadline for submitting a resume, but as openings occur (late spring/early summer is a big turnover time for this program so they are looking now) candidates are contacted.  If you are interested in this program, please email your cover letter and resume to:  Nicole Kopel, Recruiting Specialist, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP (nicole.kopel@kirkland.com)  and mention your interest in the Project Assistant Program in your cover letter.


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A Few Thoughts for Future 1Ls from a UIUC Alum at Yale Law School

This posting was written by Stanley Richards, UIUC Class of 2012. He graduated with a BA in Political Science and BS in Public Policy in Law. He is a Student Director for the Yale Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and Online Editor for the Yale Journal of Regulation. He is currently trying out for the Yale Law Journal.


I am glad I did not consult many online “resources” before coming to law school. Any basic Internet search on “law school preparation” or some variant of this yields a plethora of links to websites and posts created by people and institutions of questionable credibility. Much of the advice and “myth-busting” does more to encourage anxiety than to mitigate it. I was excited by this opportunity to blog because I want to tell those of you who are applying to law school or that have already been accepted a little bit of inside knowledge that I have gained as a Yale 1L. Most of this will ease any concerns you future lawyers have; I have selected mostly those things I wish I knew before going to law school.

I think the most important discovery I have had is this: three years in law school is a very short amount of time. The timeline for firm jobs and clerkship placement makes this time even shorter and more hectic. If you are gunning for a firm job you will be likely be interviewed for it the summer before your 2L year and be extended a permanent offer of employment the summer before your 3L year. Interviews for clerkships in the federal courts continue to be moved further and further earlier in the calendar. Law students, therefore, will have only about one year to really make their mark and build their resumes to impress their future employers. For instance, the firms that will interview me this coming summer will only have two semesters worth of grades to look at (in fact, only one semester of “real” grades because Yale Law does not do traditional grades first semester 1L year)! So, 1Ls are well advised to be prepared to do a lot their first year. It is not like undergrad wherein one can cruise the first year doing Gen-Eds and getting acclimated to campus life, planning to pull up their GPA in subsequent years if need be. You will be rewarded later for getting involved in clinics, secondary journals, and doing meaningful substantive research your 1L year.

Secondly, there are so many opportunities in law school. Popular myth has it that law school is a combative and a zero-sum game. This is just not true. Do not get me wrong, there are passive-aggressive people. There are “gunners” who just ask too many questions in class and do not give others a chance to talk. But, on the whole, considering law schools tend to be full of ambitious people, the atmosphere is relatively collaborative. With the numerous journal offerings, research opportunities with professors, clinics, and courses, there are plenty of places where people can succeed and make their mark. I remember being concerned that I would lose in this zero-sum game and being intimidated by the numerous students from very elite schools or who seemed to have saved the world three times over before coming to law school. I realized within a few weeks such anxieties were ill-founded and that there was plenty of opportunity to succeed.

Third and finally, write early and write often. Student scholarship is a big deal and it is not limited to the particular institution’s law journal. Professors are often eager to work with equally eager students, and it is excellent in interviews to be able to speak about one’s research.

These are just a few of the many things about Yale Law that have surprised me. I will admit that some of these observations may speak more to the reality at Yale than at law schools generally, but I think many law students who were very anxious before 1L year will agree with a lot of what I am saying.


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Spring Break Edition: Things To Do

Spring Break starts at the end of this week.  Here are some suggestions for how to use the break wisely.  

Seniors Applying This Cycle

1. Applications. If you haven’t already done so….submit your applications!!!!!  I know several law schools have extended their deadlines but this is a rolling process and many schools have few if any seats (or financial aid) left to give to applicants.

2. Decision Time.  For those of you that submitted applications much earlier this cycle and consequently are now weighing all your options — really evaluate your offers and try to come to a decision in the next couple of weeks.  Those of you who have been in to see me have been advised to create a table or spreadsheet listing the items most important to you (i.e., cost/scholarship, employment numbers, bar passage rate, location) to help you decide among your offers.  Also make plans to visit the law schools if you haven’t already done so — you would be surprised about the number of students who love a school on paper but are not thrilled with the school once they visit.  Law school is a HUGE investment — find the time to visit the schools!!!!

Juniors Applying in the Fall

1. Letters of Recommendation. Start thinking about whom you should ask to write your letters of recommendation and plan to request your LORs BEFORE you leave campus for the summer.  Applicants frequently make the mistake of waiting until fall to approach their professors and then find themselves waiting quite a while.  Your professors are busy so you need to plan ahead to give them enough time to write your letters… and the letters that others are requesting.

2. Attend PLAS Programs! Attending our upcoming PLAS programs will help you get a jump start on your applications.  Remember — most law schools admit applicants on a rolling basis so the earlier you apply, the better!

  • Financing Law School, Monday April 1, 5-6pm, College of Law, 504 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Classroom A. Our Financial Aid Series continues! With so many different aid offers from various law schools….how do students choose? Julie Griffin, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the College of Law, and Donna Davis, a current 2L and Pre-Law Advising Graduate Assistant, are here to walk you through it! Ms. Griffin and Ms. Davis will show you what a law school financial aid offer looks like and demonstrate how to evaluate aid packages and make fair comparisons among schools. No registration required. 
  • Applying to Law School — A Workshop for Fall Applicants — Monday, April 15, 4-5:00 pm, Room 1027 Lincoln Hall. Applying to law school early in the application cycle can result in more admission offers, more aid, and much less stress. This workshop is designed for students who will be applying to law school this fall and want to maximize their law school opportunities. We will provide an overview of the law school application process and share a timeline for optimal application results. No registration required.
  • Personal Statement Workshop for Fall Applicants — Thursday, April 18, 12-1:00pm, Room 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building.  Law school applicants consistently say that the personal statement took much more time to write than they expected. This workshop will provide an overview of the personal statement and the resume for law school applications. Please register by clicking on this link http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/2508 to our Event Calendar. Once there, please select this event and then click on “register.”  Registration is required so that we can provide enough seating and materials for everyone.

All Pre-Law Students

1. Find and apply for summer internships NOW.  Not sure where to start?  Go here, http://publish.illinois.edu/prelawadvising/2012/12/20/internship-newsletter/, to access our Internship Newsletter that was originally posted on December 20.  It contains 17 pages of information on internships and jobs.  Many of these postings have March deadlines so start looking now!

2. Stay informed… about all of our PLAS Programs, information sessions, updates on the legal profession, etc.  How???

 Enjoy your break!

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Financing Law School — Audio File for Webinar Available!

Were you unable to attend the Heather Jarvis webinar, “Realities of Financing a Legal Education” last week? Good news — click on the following link and you can find out what you missed! https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/9083015.  Just enter your net id and password and you will be able to access the presentation. Once there, click on the “view presentation” link.  The audio and slide presentation should begin.

In the webinar Ms. Jarvis, a nationally-renowed financial aid expert, explains student loan options at the law school level and shares information about recent changes to loan repayment options, including loan forgiveness programs . This is a must-see for students entering law school. Find out more about Heather and her excellent resources at http://askheatherjarvis.com/. The webinar link will only be available for the next month so check it out now!!

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Today at 4pm — Dean Pamela Bloomquist of the Loyola University Chicago Law School

Interested in attending law school in Chicago?  Join Pamela Bloomquist, Assistant Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, TODAY at 4pm, Room 514 Illini Union Bookstore Building, as she provides an overview of information about life at Loyola. She will talk about what Loyola is looking for in applicants, what the student body is like, and what’s new at Loyola. Dean Bloomquist will also answer any of your questions about life at Loyola. No registration is necessary for this event. All students interested in learning about Loyola are welcome.

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Financing Law School: Heather Jarvis Webinar Monday, March 4!!

I know, I know — I sound like “Debbie Downer” when pre-law students come into my office with stars in their eyes, excited about law school admissions offers and I ask: “Have you figured out how you are going to pay for it?”  But folks, this is a huge issue!  Law school debt and the student loan crisis have made it imperative that pre-law students thoroughly understand financial aid processes and options at the law school level. As such, PLAS has put together a two-part series on financing law school.  Our first program in the series is a webinar set for next Monday, March 4, 5pm, entitled “Financing Law School: Understanding Debt and Student Loans” featuring financial aid and student loan guru Heather Jarvis. 

Heather Jarvis is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on the complexities of financial aid and student loans. During this webinar, she will provide a detailed overview of student loan options at the law school level, and share information about recent changes to loan repayment options, including loan forgiveness programs. This is a must-see for students entering law school. Find out more about Heather and her excellent resources at http://askheatherjarvis.com/This event is FREE and exclusively for UIUC students.  Note — PARTICIPATION IS LIMITED and participants must register in advance. To register, click on this link to the PLAS event calendar: http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/2508. Once there, select the March 4 event and then select register and follow the instructions which will ultimately direct you to Ms. Jarvis’s registration system. This is a must see, not to be missed opportunity so register today!!!!
So just exactly who is Heather Jarvis?
As she shares on her website, Heather graduated from Duke University School of Law cum laude owing $125,000 in student loans and facing 30-years’ worth of $1,200 monthly payments.  No one ever told Heather that she couldn’t afford to go to Duke, even though, um, she couldn’t.  Her mother was a modestly paid executive assistant and her father a mostly unemployed Shakespearean actor.  Heather didn’t realize she couldn’t afford an expensive education until after she got one.  

At one time, people who earned fancy grades at fancy law schools got offered fancy jobs with fancy paychecks.  Having become all fancyfied, Heather had to decide: take the job she had been dreaming about all her life that only paid $25,000 per year (representing people facing criminal prosecution), or make a boatload of money.

Duke Law’s generous loan repayment assistance program made it possible for Heather to eschew the money without defaulting on her student loans.  She will always be grateful that Duke enabled her to continue ignoring her own financial security in pursuit of her irresistible urge to stand up for people in trouble.

Heather has practiced public interest law for more than a dozen years.  Beginning in 2005, Heather focused her advocacy work on reducing the financial barriers to practicing public interest law.

Heather has contributed to student debt relief policy for the House Education Committee and others in Congress, and has dedicated her professional efforts to advancing public service loan forgiveness which allows recent graduates to dedicate their careers to the greater good.  Heather leads efforts to establish and expand student debt relief programs and to inform borrowers, schools, and employers about how to benefit from available debt relief programs.

Widely recognized by school professionals and media representatives as an expert source of information, Heather has trained thousands of students and professionals and is sought after for her sophisticated legal knowledge and accessible teaching style.  Mark your calendars now and register for this event ASAP!!

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Career Connect Networking Opportunity — Saturday, March 2!!

Still not sure what to do about a summer internship?  Or are you interested in talking with someone about your longer-term career goals?  Then this Career Connect event is for you! 

On Saturday, March 2, 11am-1pm, Illini Union 314 B, you can network with members of the Dads Association and other parent volunteers.  Learn about their career paths and how to find job and internship opportunities in the fields of Law, Business, Engineering, Education, Computer Technology, Philanthropy, Medicine, Government and more! Talk one-on-one with these mentors and get valuable tips and advice regarding your own major and career interests.  Here’s your chance to build up your network!  Space is limited so register by February 25 at http://is.gd/CareerConnectThe event is FREE and refreshments will be provided!  For more info, contact uofiparents@illinois.edu or 217-333-7063.  This event is co-sponsored by the Career Center, the Illini Union and the U of I Dads Association.

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LSAT Test Prep — Free Practice LSATs

Hello pre-law students! Planning on taking the June LSAT?  Have you taken a practice LSAT yet?   Scroll down to find out about some free practice LSAT opportunities this week and next. This is a great opportunity for you to see how you might score on the real thing, and also to become familiar with the kinds of questions that will be on the real test. Note: PLAS does not endorse or support any specific test prep company.  We are simply passing this along for your information. 

Kaplan is holding a FREE Practice Test for the LSAT. The next LSAT campus event is taking place on Wednesday, February 20,  at the Kaplan Center on Green Street.  

If you would rather take the LSAT practice test from home, the library, a coffee shop, or even an open computer lab on campus? Then take your practice test live and online in the Classroom Anywhere environment, available from anywhere you have internet access.  Reserve your spot at:  bitly.com/UofIPracticeTestSpring2013

Each test will last up to 4 hours and will be proctored like an actual exam. Immediately following the exam, you will be able to receive your score report, with full comprehensive feedback on your individual performance. To register for this free event, sign up at the following web form: bitly.com/UofIPracticeTestSpring2013Before the event, we will send you an email confirming your registration and providing you with instructions for how to get started.

Princeton Review is offering a free live practice LSAT tomorrow, February 12, beginning at 6:30pm, at the University of Illinois College of Law.  To register for this practice LSAT, go here: http://www.princetonreview.com/ChooseProducts.aspx?&zipcode=61820&testtype=TFA&producttype=FRE&productdetail=LSATEventsNearYou.

PowerScore offers a free online practice LSAT.  Click on the link for more information. http://www.powerscore.com/lsat/LSAT-Starter-Kit.cfm.


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New Opportunities!

The Illini Union Office of Volunteer Programs (OVP) Ambassador Program applications are due Tuesday, February 12th.

This 8-week non-credit course is open to first-year and sophomore students from any college or major. The program focuses on introducing students to the fields of volunteerism, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship from a theoretical perspective with experiential learning opportunities.

Students will volunteer, assist in planning volunteer opportunities for other Illinois students and community residents, provide support to the Campus and Community-Wide Day of Service recently promoted in the Chancellor’s January 22nd email, and complete a project related to the field. Sessions include training on leadership, communications, diversity, career development, innovation, and planning large-scale service events. 

Course meets Wednesdays February 20th-April 27th from 5:30-7:30p (excepting March 20 and 27). For more information contact OVP at ovp@illinois.edu or call 217-333-7424 and ask for Kati.

 To apply, complete the form at: http://go.illinois.edu/ambassador.      

Illinois College Advising Corps

Attention University of Illinois Seniors or December 2012 graduates: Are you still thinking about working for a year or two before going to law school?  Here is an opportunity to consider!

The Illinois College Advising Corps (ICAC), a non-profit organization run through the University of Illinois, is looking for people interested in working as college advisors at several Illinois high schools. ICAC is a unique college access program that seeks to increase the number of low income and underrepresented students applying to and attending a post secondary institution. Daily advisor work includes reviewing personal statements, helping students apply to colleges, understanding FAFSA and Award Letters, advising on retaking the ACT, and making sure students graduate on time. The advisor benefits include a $30,000 salary and an additional $5,000 towards your graduate school of choice.

If you would like to become a College Advisor, and you are a University of Illinois senior who will graduate in May or  who graduated in December 2012, then you are eligible to apply. ICAC recently began its fifth year and has expanded its reach to include 23 high schools across the state. 
Feel free to go to the ICAC website at icac.uillinois.edu, and apply! The final date for applications is  FEBRUARY 22nd, 2013.

Please feel free to contact Dan Choi via email at dchoi23@uillinois.edu or by phone at 630-270-6658 if you have any additional questions.


 Deadline: Noon, Friday, March 1, 2013

The English Department sponsors and administers two annual undergraduate literary competitions in Short Fiction and Poetry.  Depending on available funding, there will be 3-4 prizes in Fiction and 2-3 in Poetry this year.  Past prizes have ranged from $100 to $1000.  As soon as we have specific funding numbers available, we will announce them at our website: http://creativewriting.english.illinois.edu/undergraduate/awards/

 Contest rules are as follows:

 Short Fiction:  no contestant may submit more than one story (7500 words, maximum length)

 Poetry:  no contestant may submit more than 200 lines, as a single poem or a group of poems

 Only University of Illinois undergraduate students are eligible to compete. 

 For more information, please contact Steve Davenport at sdavenpo@illinois.edu.



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