The 2018-2019 law school admissions cycle is just around the corner and law school fairs present a unique opportunity to connect with admissions staff. If you are a first-generation college student, first-generation law student, or have simply had limited opportunities to interact with lawyers, law students, or law school admissions personnel, attending law school fairs can be immensely helpful.
Here are some tips to help you maximize your experience at upcoming law fairs:
- Do Your Research Before You Go
Law fairs provide students with the unique opportunity to interface directly with admissions staff. To make the most of this face-time, and to make the best impression, refrain from asking questions that can be easily found on a school’s website (such as ‘when is your deadline?’ or ‘do you have a part-time program?’). Instead, ask questions that will help you better understand whether the institution is a fit for you or not (such as ‘what types of programs or services does your school offer to foster a diverse and inclusive environment?’ or ‘how challenging is it for students to participate in at least one clinic before they graduate?’)
- Build Your Network—And Follow Up!
If the fair has panel discussions, topics may include financing your legal education, the application process, diversity-related content, or career opportunities as aspiring lawyers. Strive to attend those sessions. Panel discussions or presentations can provide valuable information and give you a chance to network with the speakers. AccessLex staff recently attended The Fifth Annual National Diversity Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair. During one of the panel discussions, a panelist offered to review and provide feedback to students on personal statements. Another panelist, a dean of admissions, shared that several years prior, she met an attendee at this same event who is now a 2L at her law school. Connect with speakers and follow up with them intermittently for feedback, advice and support. Following up could mean something as simple as exchanging one or two emails over the course of the semester.
- Look at Yourself Objectively
Identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. As you think through your highest LSAT score, UGPA, personal statement, resume and letters of recommendation, ask yourself which portions of your application are strong and which can be improved. This will help you narrow the scope of your school search and speak candidly with admissions staff about the best course of action when applying to their school.
- Connect with Current Law Students
Often schools will bring student ambassadors to law fairs to help answer questions. Current law students are an excellent and underutilized resource. What is one thing they wish they knew about law school before they went? Ask them about their experiences at the school and if they are involved in any student organizations. Talking with students can provide you with potentially unbiased opinions about their school.
To really find the right law school for you, it is important to ask meaningful questions of students and administrators. Law fairs give you the opportunity to do that. Connect with the pre-law advisor at your institution to determine which law fairs will be available in your area during the upcoming admissions cycle.
Here you can find a list of various law fairs/forums taking place within the next application cycle. There are also diversity law school fairs catering specifically to underrepresented students. There is a HBCU PreLaw Summit in September and a National PreLaw Fair in November. Use these and other opportunities to gather meaningful information about law schools you might wish to attend in the future.