So You Think You Want To Be A Lawyer?

So You Think You Want To Be A Lawyer?
Pre-Law Advising
Alejandro Mendoza | Jerry Thomas | Mai Nhia Xiong
• Alejandro Mendoza
– Academic Advisor & Pre-Law Advisor
– [email protected]
– Student Success Center, Suite 202
• Jerry Thomas
– Faculty Advisor & Pre-Law Advisor
– [email protected]
– Sage 4631 (Department Office)
• Mai Nhia Xiong
– Career Advisor
– [email protected]
– Student Success Center, Suite 125
What do lawyers do?
• Lawyers work in various capacities and affect the
lives of people in many ways:
– Help prevent or solve legal problems
– Advise those seeking a divorce
– Prepare mortgages and other loan documents
– Draft wills
– Prosecute and defend
Why do you want to be a lawyer?
• Reasons I often hear as an Advisor:
– My family member is a lawyer
– I want to make a lot of money
– I want the recognition of being a lawyer
– I want to help people
Why do you want to be a lawyer?
• Reasons I’d like to hear as an Advisor:
– I enjoy helping people with significant events or
issues affecting their lives
– I have the ability to objectively analyze issues or
– I am able to express in a clear and concise manner my
analysis of a problem to others, both orally and
– I like reading, writing, and problem solving.
Choosing a major
• There are no prescribed majors or coursework
for admission to law school.
Area of Interest
Possible Major(s)
Computer Law
Computer Science, Information Systems
Corporate Law
Accounting, Economics, Finance
Criminal Law
Criminal Justice
Entertainment Law
Journalism, Fine Arts, Music, Radio/TV/Film, Theatre
Environmental Law
Biology, Environmental Studies
Family Law
Human Services Leadership, Social Work
Immigration Law
Foreign Language
International Law
International Studies
Judge Jeff LaVicka
• UW Oshkosh Alumnus
– Radio TV Film (major)
– Business Administration (minor)
• Obtained his law degree
from University of
Arkansas Little Rock
School of Law
• 2010 Young Outstanding
Top law student myths dispelled
• I don’t need to apply to other schools, I’ll go to
law school at UW-Madison
• Law schools won’t look at what I did my
freshman year
• Lawyers make a lot of money
• I want to run my own law firm when I’m finished
with law school
Skills undergraduates should obtain
Analytic / Problem Solving
Critical Reading
Oral Communication and Listening Abilities
Task Organization and Management
Serving Others and Promoting Justice
What else should I be thinking about?
• Academic issues
– Repeating classes: how will this affect my GPA for admission?
– Plagiarism
• Non-academic indiscretions
Underage drinking tickets
OWI / DWI: Operating/Driving while intoxicated
Drug paraphernalia
Other brushes with the law
• Financial issues
– Credit card debt
– Library fines
Building the application
Letters of Recommendation
Personal Statement
Law School Application
LSDAS Report
• Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
– February, June, October, December
– Optimal: June after junior year
• Do NOT take as a practice!
• Best preparation
Take baseline test (see
Make a study plan and stick to it
Buy a workbook and work through it (entirely)
Taking many LSATs (only real ones)
Pre-Law office resources
• Register for the test: $160.00
LSAT Study Materials: $50 (minimum)
LSAT: $160
Credential Assembly Service: $155
Law School Application Fees: up to $100 each
Transcripts: $8 (plus $2.25 online fee)
Visiting Law Schools: travel budget
Ask for waivers, ask for waivers, ask for waivers
Bare minimum: $423
• Full LSAT range = 120-180
– 163-180 = 10% of test takers
– 144-163 = 70% of test takers
– 120-143 = 20% who might consider retaking it
• Law School Locator (
– UW Madison median LSAT: 161
– Marquette median LSAT: 157
• There’s a law school for (almost) everyone
Credential Assembly Service
• Information sent by LSAC to law schools
– Your entire college experience (transcripts)
– All GPA information
– All LSAT test dates and scores
– All unmet financial obligations / holds
– LSAT Writing Sample
– All letters of recommendation
– Personal Statements
• Makes application process easier on student.
Personal Statement
• The interview you won’t have!
– Recapping your resume.
– I really, really, really, really want to go to law school!
– I’m not as dumb as my LSAT and GPA make you think I
– My life has been full of tragedies.
– Everyone tells me I will be a great lawyer because I
like to argue.
Letters of Recommendation
• Start Early!
• Anticipate what your recommendations will say
– Should include concrete examples of: intellectual
strength, judgment, motivation, leadership,
communication skills, and academic abilities
• Writers should be honored to write on your behalf
– Hesitation from recommender? Walk away.
• Monitor the status of your letters
– Send thank-you letters to your recommenders
• Significant number of law schools require a
resume attached to application.
• Not the same as applying for a job!
• Note specifics:
– # hours worked per week, not what you did
– Overall GPA, major GPA
– Extracurricular, Honors, Service, Hobbies
– Demonstrate time management
Being a Professional starts now!
• How do you present yourself to others in person?
Through email? In large groups?
• If you needed references today, who would you
ask? What would s/he be able to say about you?
Job Shadow
• There are various types of lawyers
• Ask questions!
– What does s/he enjoy about his/her job?
– What would s/he change if s/he could?
– What suggestions would s/he give a student thinking
about law school?
• Use Career Advisors to help you set up job
shadowing opportunities
Ways to get involved on campus
Pre-Law Society
College Democrats | College Republicans
Model United Nations
Student Governance (OSA, MEC, USRH, RAC)
• Please visit the Student Leadership and Involvement
Center (SLIC) in Reeve Union 105 for additional
involvement opportunities
Additional Resources
• Law school brochures and information
• LSAT preparation materials
– Kaplan Test Prep
– The Princeton Review
• Professional Affiliations
– American Bar Association (
– National Lawyers Association (
Need help?
• Alejandro Mendoza
– Academic Advisor & Pre-Law Advisor
– [email protected]
– Student Success Center, Suite 202
• Jerry Thomas
– Faculty Advisor & Pre-Law Advisor
– [email protected]
– Sage 4631 (Department Office)
• Mai Nhia Xiong
– Career Advisor
– [email protected]
– Student Success Center, Suite 125
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