Illinois Law Open House Feb. 4

Are you interested in the University of Illinois College of Law? Good news: the law school is hosting an Open House event February 4 at the Law Building from 5-7 pm, and you are invited! This is a great chance to learn more about Illinois Law and get a feel for the law school and the student body.

At this Open House you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Meet current Illinois Law students
  • Hear from Dean Smith
  • Meet professionals from Career Planning and Financial Aid offices
  • Take a tour
  • Share a meal! Food will be served.

Please RSVP to by February 1.

To find out more about Illinois Law before your visit, explore their website at

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Law Fair Is Tomorrow — You Don’t Want to Miss It!!

Our biggest Law Fair ever is tomorrow! Over 120 law schools will be here for the Law Fair on Tuesday, October 23 from 11am-3pm at the ARC. Click on our LawSchoolFairNewsletter2012to access our special edition Newsletter for the list of attendees, as well as tips and suggestions for getting the most out of this great opportunity!  This newsletter contains information on what to wear, what questions to ask (page 2), and which schools are coming (pages 5 and 6).  And to help you focus your approach, check out pages 3 and 4 for some possible “target” schools lists.  This newsletter has ALL the details on the fair. 

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at the ARC, 11am-3pm!

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Law Fair — Special Edition!

Our biggest Law Fair ever is almost here! Over 120 (125 and counting!) law schools will be here for the Law Fair on Tuesday, October 23 from 11-3 at the ARC. Click on our LawSchoolFairNewsletter2012 to access our special edition Newsletter for the list of attendees, as well as tips and suggestions for getting the most out of this great opportunity! This newsletter contains information on what to wear, how to target specific schools, what to ask, and which schools are coming! Check it out for ALL the details on the fair.

Why should you attend the fair? Good question; read on.

If you are not yet applying to law school, you may be wondering how it will benefit you to attend. It’s a great opportunity to practice your networking skills. It’s also a good idea to begin building professional contacts of deans and directors who can provide helpful advice about their school’s application process and ultimately accept you into their schools. You can also find out helpful information now, while you are still in a position to build your resume or GPA, rather than finding out the day before you want to apply that they really would have preferred some work experience.

If you ARE currently applying to law school, why should you attend? It’s a great opportunity to meet the deans and directors who will be reading your applications. (I am consistently impressed with their ability to remember prospective students, right down to specific details about what they wore or what their personal statement was about.) It never hurts to make a great impression. You can also find out more about what specific schools are looking for, and even discover a school that you may not have considered but is actually a great fit for you. Finally, this is a great chance to collect some application fee waivers. It is definitely worth your time to attend, even for an hour or two.

Do you have to stay the entire time? No. Even an hour is enough time to target 4-5 of your top choice schools. Think about the schools you want to speak to, and make the most of however long you can attend. Check out the newsletter for lists of specific schools you may want to target based on geography, cost, specific program offerings, etc.

What should I say? We have specific examples of questions for the reps in the newsletter too. Good questions are ones that go beyond the basic “What are your medians?” question. How about asking what their favorite thing is about their school? Or asking the reps to name one thing about their school that can’t be found on their website or viewbook? If you know what area of law you want to specialize in, ask about that. Example: “I”m interested in environmental law and I see you have a clinic about that–can you tell me more about how students are selected for the clinic, and what types of cases they work on?”

Check out our LawSchoolFairNewsletter2012 for much more about the fair, and how you can get the most out of the experience. We’ve also included a list of attending schools and other details on our website here. See you at the fair!

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Law School Lunch Lectures – Get a feeling for law school!

Professor Henderson Lecture at Illinois College of Law- 9/19/12

I hope that any pre-law students who came to this lecture had a great time (and enjoyed the free lunch afterwards with so many of the U of I’s best professors, deans, and students!)  Attending these lectures is a great way to get a feeling for what law school is like, and to ponder legal questions that are presented.  I strongly encourage you not only to find a day that you can make it here on our campus – but to attend a lunch lecture at every one of your campus visits.  Most attendees don’t take notes, but I decided to type up lecture notes so that you could see what one type of lecture notes look like after being heavily influenced by law school note-taking.  I hope they are clear enough to make sense of the topic, and maybe even elicit thought or comment from you!  I’ll be sure to post future lunch lectures and encourage pre-law students to attend the ones that sound especially interesting and relevant.  Jamie and I will be at the Helen Gunnarsson Seminar tomorrow at the law school at 12:00 if you are interested in attending.  Hope to see you there!


 Human Capital Accounting for Lawyers

The issue addressed by Professor Henderson’s lecture is that the economic rules of law practice and legal education are now different due to globalization.  He broadly summarized this with the phrase “Asia, Automation, and Abundance.”  Before diving into any specifics in legal education or the flaws that are a part of the system that was established pre-globalization, he took the time to lay out the basis for his theories and the terminologies and influences that guided this development.

Human Capital Accounting (HCA) is a systematic gathering of facts, assigning significance to those facts, and then using the results to make better decisions.  There is a constant assessment of whether the added value of “better decisions” exceeds the cost of the decision-making process.  Professor Henderson cites C.F. Braun’s insights from earlier in the 20th century, his belief in sharing the “why” or the decision-making process with the people implementing those decisions, and the necessary “tooling” or “white collar tools” that were developed to create a successful field.  All this to say that the same successes can be found if we “retool” and modernize the profession in practice and in the legal preparation law schools provide.

Professor Henderson had a simple framework for the rest of his lecture:

1)       Articulate Goals (modernize legal education / practice)

2)      Present estimated costs and estimation of benefits that move toward that goal.

3)      Compare costs and benefits and make decisions.


To modernize the education and practice, law schools need to move away from a model that is built on creating lawyers for artisan trades and private practices that was established post WWII.  With increased access to legal information, what clients now have are sophisticated legal needs that require non-traditional legal services.  So there is not a clear economic rationale to train lawyers.  The needed human capital (HC) is an ability to collaborate over a complex domain of knowledge including: information technology, systems engineering, fianance, marketing, project management, and law.  The focus in law school should be communication and feedback around this diverse set of elements.  Here Prof. Henderson provided anecdotal evidence from the legal classes he is teaching and the peculiar class design that allowed him to see that predictors of good and successful group work was predicated on communication – useful feedback and an opportunity to understand and listen.

In assessing the costs of this type of system, it became clear that the hidden costs are the emotional costs in shifting to such a communication based model of legal education.  No specific numbers were given to analyze the costs of implementing what he coined as a “competency based curriculm with intensive feedback.”  He did however point to the fact that some states, like Michigan, have integrated competency models into their government programming.  Anyone can get an idea of what a competency model looks like by viewing this model at:

In making the decision to leap forward in legal education to using competency models focused on the domain of knowledge and skills in a modern world, Professor Henderson challenged law schools to step outside the prescribed curriculum and meet these modern needs.  Responding to questions about ABA standards and the “slowness” of change, he left with an explicit call to universities to be bold and willing to make these changes – to which Dean Smith jokingly responded with respect for the advice and a disclaimer that Professor Henderson does not represent legal counsel for the law school 😉

In all, I had mixed feelings about the lecture.  On one hand, I enjoyed hearing how successful legal minds contemplate the need for legal education reform – and on the other hand I listen as an educator (I taught for four years) who finds so much of what is said as glaringly obvious and inadequate in terms of actually leading to actual change.  What will lead to change I then ask?  I suppose a continued effort by scholars and practitioners like Henderson to spread this philosophy will contribute to that change.  Will a free market speak to it?  Can the US continue to be the leading authority?  These are huge questions and are always debatable – and if you have a thought please comment or stop in to chat!

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Inside Admissions deans revealed

Anyone applying to law school will at some point wonder what admission deans are REALLY looking for in applicants. Students tell us frequently that this event, Inside Law School Admissions, is one of the most helpful for understanding the law school admissions process from the perspective of the law schools themselves.

This year Inside Law School Admissions will be held on Monday, October 22 in Lincoln Hall 1027. It is co-sponsored by Pre-Law Advising Services and the Pre-Law Honors Society. Come and join us for a frank discussion with these deans and directors of admission:

Amanda Goldsmith, Assistant Director of Admission at Saint Louis University School of Law
Sir Williams, Director of Admission, University of Wisconsin Law School, and
Michael Burns, Associate Dean for Enrollment Management and Director of Law Admission, DePaul University College of Law

This is a great opportunity to hear straight from the dean and directors. What errors drive them crazy in applications? What personal statement topics do they love or hate? How much impact do letters of recommendation really make? How do character and fitness disclosures affect their decisions?

This is a must-see event for any pre-law student. No registration is necessary.  Bring your questions for the dean and directors. See you there!

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Scholarship Opportunities for Pre-Law Students

Are you familiar with the National and International Scholarships Program on campus? They work with high achieving students to help them apply for (and receive!) a variety of prestigious scholarship opportunities such as the Fulbright, Rhoades, and Truman scholarships. Take a moment to check out their website, as well as these upcoming workshops. Note below that some deadlines are fast approaching.

Do you want to change the world? Our campus is currently looking for exciting juniors* to nominate for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Are you bothered by an issue and trying to make changes to address a problem? The Truman program is looking for the academically strong student who has a passion for public service. Evaluators look for leadership ability, potential for influencing public policies, community service and extracurricular involvement, strong academic performance, and potential to perform well in a premier graduate school program. It awards $30,000 merit-based scholarships to U.S. citizen college students who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in public service.

Public service includes a wide array of career possibilities, such as public health; local, state, or federal government; educational policy; international relations; conservation; and environmental protection. Candidates should be able to demonstrate leadership experiences in campus and community service activities. Truman Scholars have pursued many fields of study, such as agriculture, engineering, economics, education, government, history, international relations, law, political science, public administration, and public health. Scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Foundation funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving funding.

The University of Illinois may nominate up to four students for the Truman Scholarship. The campus deadline is November 15, 2012 to be considered. If you are interested in applying, please plan to attend one of our informational sessions outlining criteria and the application process.

Tuesday, October 16 at 3:00


Friday,  October 19 at 4:00.

Location: 807 South Wright Street, Room 514

Additional information about the award may be found at:

*For the Truman Scholarship, a “Junior” is defined as someone either in their third and final year of undergraduate study, or someone planning to graduate between December 2013 and August 2014.


Are you a high achieving student in a math, science, or engineering discpline?The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship might be in your future! Are you a junior or advanced sophomore?  Do you plan to continue on to graduate school for a PhD? Do you have a strong undergraduate research record? If so, please read on!

The Barry M. Goldwater National Scholarship offers 300 annual awards to undergraduate students (Illinois GPA 3.7 and above) who demonstrate strong evidence of contributing to the technological advances of the United States. The awards cover eligible expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room/board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Current junior or exceptional sophomore students who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or resident aliens may apply.

Applicants should be committed to a Ph.D. in the research fields of mathematics, sciences, or engineering. Candidates who intend to study medicine are eligible if they plan a career in research rather than a career in private medical practice.

The National and International Scholarships Program will be outlining criteria and the process for students considering competing for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship at the following sessions:

Tuesday, October 16 at 4:00


Friday, October 19 at 3:00.

Location: Campus Center for Advising and Academic Services, 807 S. Wright Street, Room 514

Endorsement by the designated Illinois faculty committee will be required.

The Illinois campus deadline for fullest consideration will be November 27, 2012.

Further information and a link to the online application may be found at:



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2 more great pre-law events

It’s a busy week on campus! Here are two more upcoming events that may interest pre-law students.

The Pre-Law Club is hosting its next meeting tonight from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Room 319 of Greg Hall. The featured speaker will be Mike Ramian, the Assistant Director of Admissions at Valparaiso University. He will be discussing the application requirements, admissions process, and a basic overview of Valparaiso Law. After his presentation, there will be time for a Q & A session.

Pre-law students are also welcome to attend the Baum Lecture tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 1:00 at the College of Law. The topic is Civil Rights, and the speaker is Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law. This is a free event, and lunch is provided! Find all of the details here:


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Georgetown Law Interviews–Another session added tomorrow

We have just been informed that Georgetown Law has added another interview session to its group interviews tomorrow. In addition to the session at 3:00 which we previously advertised, they are adding another session from 5:00-6:00 tomorrow in downtown Chicago and some seats are still available.

These group interviews are for people applying to Georgetown this application cycle, and it’s a great opportunity to meet their Admissions Dean, Andy Cornblatt. Students interested in Georgetown are encouraged to attend.Participants will receive information about the exact location when they register.

Registration is required. Please visit Georgetown’s link to register:

Questions can be directed to 202-662-9015 or Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

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This I Believe: A great way to start your personal statement

The current “One Book, One Campus” selection is This I Believe: The personal philosophies of remarkable men and women. I’ve read this book (and several other volumes of This I Believe) and I regularly listen to the podcasts, which challenge ordinary people to distill their personal philosophies into very brief essays.

What do you believe? This could be a great way to begin writing your personal statement. I recommend checking out the book and the podcasts to spark your thinking. (You can get the book for $10.50 at the Illini Union Bookstore, and the podcasts are free if you search for them on iTunes.) It’s very hard to distill our core beliefs into one brief essay, but the value of this exercise is that it forces you to pick what beliefs are the most important to you and then try to concisely articulate why. What better way to introduce yourself to a law school than by speaking to your core values?

The Executive Director of This I Believe, Dan Gediman, is also coming to campus next Thursday, October 4 at 7:00 at the Illini Union. To find out more about this lecture and upcoming events related to the One Book, One Campus program, visit I hope I see you there. And I hope that this exercise helps spark your thinking about what to write on the personal statement.


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