“How to get into Law School,” with UT Law

For our first official meeting of the semester, we welcomed all the new and returning members, it was a very informational, yet fun meeting. Heather Barodi, President of the PLS made an introduction by voting on the new officers to be approved as well as the update of the signature card. She introduced the new officers, discussed orglink, upcoming meetings and upcoming activities like the Kat Safety Bash, Old Town Theatre Cleanup/Pizza Party/ showing of “My Cousin Vinny” and the Scare on the Square.

Next, she introduced our guest speaker for the evening, Dave Farnum, the Assistant Director of Recruitment at the University of Texas Law. Farnum is from Rhode Island and moved here for his career at UT. He is immensely proud of his school and even more proud to be a Longhorn. He visited our organization to give us insight on how to get into UT’s prestigious law school, and for the most part, how to get into any law school. It was definitely worth listening to.

After he described the school as the “Top Law School in Texas,” he went on to discuss employment after attending the school. Seventy-five percent of students that graduate from the law program choose to work in Texas after they complete school. Twenty-five percent of students that graduate leave Texas , usually going to New York, Washington D.C or California.

Some unique facts he shared about UT:  

Bar Passage Rates in Texas were at 91%, while the state average is only about 75%.

There is a 10:1 professor to student ratio, with 201 courses offered, suggesting they have plenty of options for students . They have an alumni-mentor program that is hand-selected to match uniquely to the student.

Lastly, UT Law offers many experiential learning opportunities. Examples of this included working with immigrants, indigent suspects, and assistance with the Innocent Project.

Some quick facts are that his year’s class had a median score of 169 on the LSAT, a median GPA of 3.80, and more women than men (for the first time ever!).

Next, he discussed the key factors in the admission process: the LSAT, GPA, personal statement, resume, and letters of recommendation.

Consistent with a philosophy that emphasizes admitting “humans, not robots,” UT tries to delve deep into the applicants’ backgrounds. Indeed, they will accept up to a three-page resume, and Farnum encouraged us to “make use of that space.” Farnum further recommended to freshmen and sophomores to (1) get GPAs as high as possible, (2) make connections with professors, (3) and to stay out of trouble.

For juniors and seniors who may not be ready to apply, Farnum noted that it’s okay to take a gap year, although he did encourage students to ensure that gap year is productive.

During the Q & A, Jade asked whether it was better to get her supervisor at her law firm or a professor to write a letter of recommendation. Farnum suggested that the person who knows the student best would write the best letter, but that the student should submit a letter from at least one professor.

Mr. Farnum concluded with offering the students some swag from UT Law–items that proved very popular!

We are incredibly grateful that he came out to give us this very useful knowledge of all the things to expect when applying to law school.

The Dos and Don’ts of Your Law School Application: PLS in October

Photos and text by Heather Barodi

Our second meeting of the semester went on without skipping a beat. There were very few minor things to take care of before we got right down to business with our guest panel, which included three law school deans or recruiters.

We started our meeting with some housekeeping, which included an acknowledgement and congratulations for our most members (yet) and ended with a discussion on our upcoming volunteer event, Scare on the Square.

Afterwards, we were introduced to our admissions panel. We had Megan Henson (Associate Director of Admissions at University of Tulsa), Shawn Adams (Assistant Director for Recruitment at Texas Tech Law), and Jens Sandberg (Admissions Recruiter at South Texas College of Law).

SHSU, Pre-Law Society, LEAP Center, Center for Law, Engagement And Politics, Texas Tech Law, University of Tulsa Law, South Texas College of Law, Pre-Law

Our president, Sawyer Massie, started our Q&A with a few basic questions, but our members quickly jumped in and had some interesting questions of their own.

SHSU, Pre-Law Society, LEAP Center, Center for Law, Engagement And Politics, Texas Tech Law, University of Tulsa Law, South Texas College of Law, Pre-Law

Our panelist informed on things to put on our applications, what not to put, how to write the “perfect” personal statements, retaking LSATs, and many other things.

SHSU, Pre-Law Society, LEAP Center, Center for Law, Engagement And Politics, Texas Tech Law, University of Tulsa Law, South Texas College of Law, Pre-Law

Each panelist offered their own unique advice fit for their school, as well as their own personal advice that they endeavored when they applied for law schools.  They were very informative, while also injecting some humor into the discussion.

SHSU, Pre-Law Society, LEAP Center, Center for Law, Engagement And Politics, Texas Tech Law, University of Tulsa Law, South Texas College of Law, Pre-Law

The common denominator for that all three came into agreement on one thing: be yourself. That is the one thing most applicants miss on because they focus on what they think the admissions office wants to hear rather than the truth.

SHSU, Pre-Law Society, LEAP Center, Center for Law, Engagement And Politics, Texas Tech Law, University of Tulsa Law, South Texas College of Law, Pre-Law

At the end of this meeting, we can all say we left with more than we expected know and feel a little less nervous for our applications. Our final meeting of the fall semester is November 20, and we expect to have another exciting and educational meeting!

SHSU, Pre-Law Society, LEAP Center, Center for Law, Engagement And Politics, Texas Tech Law, University of Tulsa Law, South Texas College of Law, Pre-Law

Learning the Law–Mock Law Class with Professor Val Ricks

Every Spring, the Center for Law, Engagement, and Politics invites Professor Val Ricks to teach a Mock Law class on the SHSU Campus. He teaches a class on contract law exactly as he teaches it down in his own classroom at South Texas College of Law in Houston. Students that sign up are emailed the cases about a week before the class and are expected to read and brief them by class time. Professor Ricks teaches the class using the Socratic method, a form of interlocutory discussion, which is commonly used in law schools to develop critical thinking in students.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Pre-Law, South Texas College of Law, STCL, Professor Val Ricks, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

The lesson focused on the concept of consideration and how it is an essential element of every contract. We learned all about how both parties in an agreement must each offer something in exchange for the agreement to be considered valid.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Pre-Law, South Texas College of Law, STCL, Professor Val Ricks, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

We answered questions about the facts of the case and discussed several different scenarios in which consideration from one of the parties in an agreement was lacking and how it affected the ruling in each case.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Pre-Law, South Texas College of Law, STCL, Professor Val Ricks, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

It was a unique opportunity for many of the students who had never been exposed to law school to experience what it’s like inside a law classroom.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Pre-Law, South Texas College of Law, STCL, Professor Val Ricks, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

Toward the end of class, Professor Ricks invited anyone who had questions to approach him and ask, to which many students did.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Pre-Law, South Texas College of Law, STCL, Professor Val Ricks, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

Before bidding us goodbye, he shared that we performed about as well as his usual first-year students that he teaches down in Houston. As a group, we thanked him for making the drive up to Huntsville and expressed hope that he’d join us again next spring.

LEAP Welcomes Students Back With Ice Cream and Fun

Written by Staci Antu

The LEAP ambassadors welcomed the fall semester by throwing a party–but not the normal party college students have the reputation for sponsoring. Rather, it was an ice cream mixer filled with delicious ice cream, scrumptious cookies, cold sweet tea, and many different prizes, just what everyone needed some to sweeten up their day, especially with Hurricane Harvey still affecting many of SHSU’s students.. Our annual prize wheel included school supplies, t-shirts, political science bags filled with candy, and sun visors.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

As college kids of course, all prizes would be useful and therefore the wheel was very popular!

Many students, freshman and senior, came not only for the goodies but also to get the inside scoop on what the Center for Law, Engagement, and Politics is and does, as well as to participate in the Pre-Law Society meeting happening right after. The ice cream mixer gave everyone time to mingle with LEAP Ambassadors and Pre-Law Society members.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

It was also an evening of catching up with school friends after a long summer break. Roughly around 60 students throughout the night stopped by!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

However, it wasn’t only the students that were drawn in by the promise for ice cream. Many of professors and staff stopped by to grab a bowl of ice cream as they waited for the elevator.

Right afterwards, we all headed downstairs for the first pre-law meeting of this year. The meeting was a short one, designed simply to cover what the Pre-Law society had in store for its members and to encourage for the students to sign up for the Mock LSAT happening in September 30th. It was great to be able to greet old friends and meet new faces. The LEAP ambassadors are looking forward to this upcoming fall semester, hopefully with more sweet things to come!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Ice-Cream Mixer

Brushing Up on the LSAT

Pre-Law students at SHSU have extensive resources to help them prepare for law school.  Apart from knowledgeable professors, simulated law classes, a Legal Studies minor, full-time pre-law advisors, and a Moot Court team, the LEAP Center also brings in Kaplan Testing each fall and spring to offer a Mock LSAT.

This spring’s test was offered on April 1st.  With 43 students signed up to take the test, the class was full.  That’s a lot of people to show up for five hours on a Saturday.

Pre-Law, Legal Studies, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Kaplan, Mock LSAT SHSU

The test is enormously beneficial to students, and the LEAP Center recommends that pre-law students take the Mock test their freshmen year.  While no score on the mock LSAT determines a student’s future, students will need more time to study if their mock score is low.  Knowing that the additional study time is needed is a necessary part of preparing for the real thing.

Also, knowing the mean LSAT of TX Schools is also helpful, giving students a goal for which to shoot.

UT: 165
UH/Baylor/SMU: 160
TAMU: 156
TXTECH: 153
St.Marys/STCL: 150
TSU/UNT: <148

A student who scores a 140 on the Mock LSAT has some studying to do, and that might be difficult if the student is a junior, with little time to prepare for the test.  Students who score lower than a 140 will need to think thoroughly about a plan for improving their score in the time they have before they take the real test.

Pre-Law, Legal Studies, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Kaplan, Mock LSAT SHSU

And when should you take the real test?  A typical recommendation is to take the exam a year before you plan to enroll in law school.  If you are graduating in the Fall of 2019 and plan to enroll in law school that fall, you should have the exam completed by the end of 2018.

You can find more information about LEAP’s law-related activities (and other activities) here.