Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Law School Recruitment Forum Review, Part 2

The following is the second part of one of our client's experiences while visiting the Boston LSAC Law School Recruitment Forum. The first part dealt with more general questions about when to take the LSAT and pet peeves about law school applications.
  • Diversity Panel
The Diversity Panel session might have been a poor choice on my part, especially as a follow-up to the Forum 101. This session was geared towards minority students. Minority was taking in its most general sense and encompassed race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability/differing ability, weight, etc. We watched a video that might have been made in the early 90’s and was way too cheesy to be shown to adults. However, the panelists were very engaging and had great responses to sometime mediocre questions.

  • Q: Diversity Statement v. Personal Statement

A: The Diversity statement is an opportunity for background explanation and will help pinpoint how you as a minority student can benefit from the school and vice versa. The Personal Statement is more a way to highlight skills, strengths and ability. Most of the time, these two are squished into one and many people don’t see the need for a diversity statement. However, they made a point to say that everyone could and probably should write a diversity statement. One of the panelists said that “you could be a white male and still be able to present a diversity statement” because everyone applying to law school brings something diverse with them.

  • Q: How personal is too personal in your personal statement?

A: Basically it boiled down to, if the information is relevant to your personal statement and getting to know you as an individual, USE IT. If you just throw it in there and then forget about it, or don’t use it as a spring board for discussion, get rid of it. Be yourself.

There were two phrases that came out of this session that I loved. The first is that the application process for law school is competitive and comparative. Not only are you competing for a limited number of spots, you are being compared to metrics, each other and to a certain degree past graduates. The other phrase was “survive and thrive.” Panelist Sehee Foss, Associate Director of Admissions for U of Iowa College of Law, said the “most people can survive at any law school. You want to find the law school that will help you thrive.” I couldn’t agree more!

  • Financing a Legal Education

This was the most complicated session, yet it was by far the best. Everyone thinking of going to law school, going to law school should be FORCED to take this session. It was phenomenal and was way informative. I am not going to go into specifics, but if you are able to take this session, DO.

  • Speaking with Representatives

After I had attended the three sessions first thing in the morning, I decided to make my way into the expo room. It looked like an anthill that some misfit of a child had poured water down. I had a game plan about what Universities I wanted to visit, so I knew exactly where I was going beforehand. But like all good plans, they only last until the first shot is fired, or in my case, until I stepped through the door. I went to all of the school on my list, and found that they all had long lines and didn’t look like they were moving quickly at all. So I did what Adam had suggested earlier in Forum 101 and visited a school that I had no intention of going to but that was empty. I spoke with the admissions rep about general questions that I had about law school and she helped me refine my questions for later. It was a great strategy: I got to practice and learned more about a school that I had never even heard of. I swung back to the schools on my list and met with a few of them. I swung by the tables of some of the panelists that had been great. It made me jump the fence: law school was for me.

Overall What I Learned:

  1. Proofread
  2. Prepare
  3. Be Yourself
  4. Ask Your Questions and make sure that you get an answer
  5. Take Business Cards
  6. Underwater Basket Weaving will be talked about at least 10 times

This might be the second most import step of your law school preparation (the first being the LSAT prep) so take the time to go, ask questions, and have a good time. And best of all, it's free!