Pre-Law Students Find Their Fit


(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)
(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

They came from all areas of the country and donned black suits and briefcases. Setting up their case materials on assigned tables, the representatives waited for eager students to approach.
These representatives were attendees of the U’s Law Fair, first organized in 1985. The fair was hosted in the Union Ballroom Tuesday.
At 10 a.m., students began arriving and weaving a path through the rows of tables to request more information and fill bags full of viewbooks, fact sheets and other provided literature.
Joan Howland, associate dean at the University of Minnesota Law School, said she is always excited to come to the U for the law fair.
“Utah is the only law fair in the country I attend,” Howland said. “It is always so organized, and the advisors and students are friendly and pleasant to deal with. Utah students we recruit are of stellar quality.”
Howland said, as a recruiter, the goal is not only to find students to bring to her law school, but also to find the best fit for the individual student.
“If someone wants to practice law, they should,” she said. “Everyone has a place, and a law fair is a great place to find it.”
William LaFleur, assistant director of admissions for the University of Notre Dame, said he believes the law fair is a great opportunity for students to explore the options that are available to them.
“It is easy to become isolated and not be aware of the options that exist for you in law school,” LaFleur said. “The law fair is beneficial in that it brings schools from all over and grants students the chance to explore the school and their interests. Students come from all different awareness levels of what path they may want to pursue in law school, and the fair is a great chance to gain more knowledge about programs that may best suit their interests.”
The fair, co-sponsored by University College and the Western Association of Prelaw Advisors, established a caravan of law schools to travel together to various fairs held across the country. The intent is to allow students interested in pursuing a future in the legal profession an opportunity to gain helpful insights into requirements, programs and unique clinics and class offerings provided by each individual school. Over 125 law schools were in attendance.
In addition to law school representatives, there were also individuals providing students with more information about the LSAT and class offerings to help bolster test scores. Students from the beginning to the end of their undergraduate studies were provided with resources to aid them in their pursuit of a legal education.
Marilyn Hoffman, a pre-law advisor, said in 1985 there were only 30 schools in attendance. Most of the schools were from the Western region of the United States. To meet the needs of students wishing to gain more knowledge about schools beyond the western region, Hoffman said the law fair expanded its reach to all areas of the country.
Hoffman said all schools in attendance were American Bar Association-approved. This means the ABA has granted accreditation to the school seeking to confer Juris Doctor degrees upon their students. In addition, a student attending an ABA-approved school may take the bar in any jurisdiction in the country in which they desire to practice law.
Hoffman said there is value in holding a law fair at the U.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for students to be able to have two-thirds of all ABA-approved law schools in the same room,” Hoffman said. “The important thing is to keep an open mind. Students may talk to schools they had never heard of previously. This is fantastic. Students should open up and connect with the representatives to find what school will best fit their academic as well as geographical needs.”
Immediately following the law fair, an admissions panel was held in the Union Collegiate room from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Deans and directors from the University of Miami, University of Washington, University of Las Vegas and Seton Hall University met to discuss various aspects of the admissions process and how they evaluate student application. The event was open to all students and featured a Q&A; session for students to ask specific questions directly to the panel members.
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