- How would you describe preparing for the LSAT, in three words or less?
I applied to a number of law schools—all on the East Coast. I was looking for a school that would give me a broad selection of courses and opportunities. I was looking for a quality faculty that would prepare me for practice but also possessed an intellectual curiosity since I did not know what type of practice I was interested in. I had attended Virginia as an undergraduate and enjoyed Charlottesville. I had heard wonderful things about the law school and had asked a number of practicing lawyers their thoughts of UVA. I applied before the US News rankings had really taken off. All paths led me to the University of Virginia.
- What did you do after law school?
- Why did you decide to change careers from corporate to education?
- As Dean of Students, what type of interactions do you have with law school students?
- What issues do you see 1Ls struggling with the most as they adjust to law school?
- So you’re saying that law school changes the way a student thinks?
It is an eye opener for many. Law involves thinking, not just memorizing.
- What activities/accomplishments/demographics of applicants do you think best predict success at law school?
I have seen a significant portion of students who have work experience after law school do very well. I want to stress that students need to approach law school in a different way than they did college, which might be a bit easier for folks who work before applying to law school.
- Do you think that students should stop trying to please admissions officers by choosing a certain major?
You DO need lots of experience writing, analyzing facts and thinking critically about issues. English, Philosophy, Art History – all fit the bill as well as many other majors.
- So a high GPA, passion and depth of commitment, and working before applying are bonuses; any negatives?
- If you could advise students beginning in their first year of undergraduate work, what should they do to prepare to succeed in law school?
Lots of engineers and other hard science majors have done well in law school. In fact, if you are interested in going into patent or other areas of Intellectual Property, that background is essential. Those disciplines fit my advice well – they require a student to examine facts or issues ritically (and logically).
I would also suggest students get involved in activities that will help them find their passion. They should not, however, join every group they can, just to pad a resume. Padding doesn’t work because admissions can tell and it often burns a student out. Students should join groups that will help them develop who they are as a person and to determine what they can do to contribute to society.
- Thanks so much for your thoughts! We know it will help our readers think about law school in more terms than just LSAT and admission cycles.