Advice for Juniors and Seniors
- Continue to develop and sharpen the skills you
have been working on since you were in your freshman
and sophomore years. Read Professor Corinne Cooper's Letter
to a Young Law Student to remind yourself of the importance
of skill development in pre-law preparation. Consider, in particular,
Professor Cooper's insight on law as a "self-teaching discipline."
- Explore opportunities for enhancing your self-assessment
skills. In order to make an informed choice about law school,
you will need to have the skills to evaluate analytically your
interests, abilities, potential, and goals. You will also need
strong self-assessment skills in law school. Read Steven
Bennett's recent article in New York Law
Journal and note the connection he makes between "candid
self-assessment" and enhancing your performance in law school
and enjoying your professional life. In addition, examine the
self-assessment exercise assigned to second year law students
by BYU Law School Prof. David Dominguez, as explained in his article
Imperfect: Personal Statements Can Renew Motivation, Improve Learning."
Think about why Prof. Dominguez works so hard at teaching
his law students about the process of self-assessment. Think about
how you would answer the question Prof. Domingez presents to his
second year students: ". . . whether there was a time when
they were convinced that becoming lawyers mattered so much that
they were prepared to give unrelenting commitment to legal education."
- Read the description of law school offered
by Prof. Barbara
Glesner Fines (University of Missouri-Kansas City). Her text
reveals a sense of urgency in seeking to address common misconceptions
among first year law students. Allow this text to challenge your
assumptions about what makes for success in law school and what
constitutes intellectual development. For example, analyze her
concept of "suspended learning" and think about ways
to apply this in your classes at UNM.
- Compare the advice offered by Prof. Fines to the expectations that Prof. Andrew J. McClurg (University of Arkansas School of Law) spells out for his first year students. Think of ways you can
improve your study skills and work practices in order to prepare yourself in advance for the transition to law school. For example, which of Prof. McClurg's "10 Commandments" do you think you would
find most challenging?
- Evaluate the best time to take the LSAT.
This will vary from person to person and will be influenced by
your LSAT preparation schedule and your proposed schedule for
attending law school. However, if possible, try to arrange your
LSAT preparation schedule so that you are ready to take the LSAT
in June prior to your senior year; obtaining your LSAT score early
(following the June test) will allow you to apply early in the
Fall and will make it possible for you to select potential schools
with full knowledge of your competitive options.
- Identify individuals from whom you wish to obtain
letters of reference; select individuals who know you well and
who can write strong letters advocating with enthusiasm your acceptance
to law school. When you request a letter of reference, offer to
provide your letter writer with an up-to-date transcript, resume,
writing sample, and draft of your personal statement.
- Set aside extensive time to work on your
personal statement; include time for revisions and feedback from
- Attend New Mexico Law Day
and speak directly with law school representatives about admissions,
faculty-student ratio, library resources, diversity, academic
reputations, joint degrees, clinics, journals, specializations,
scholarship possibilities, full-time v. part-time faculty, law
student associations, and any other criteria you have decided
that is important to you in making your law school selection.
- Do a realistic assessment of your options, given your LSAT score
and GPA and make informed choices when you decide which law schools to which you
will apply. Speak with your pre-law advisor if
you are unclear on how to evaluate safe, somewhat long-shot, and genuine long-shot