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.

The Law School Experience at SHSU

By Victoria McClenden-Leggett

Many students are faced with the daunting challenge of whether to continue with their education once they graduate or simply enter the workforce. For those wanting to continue their education, they often wonder if they’ll actually be able to handle the workload–particularly if that continuation involves law school. On March 30, a select group of students at Sam Houston State University had the opportunity to experience a mock law class taught by South Texas College of Law Professor Val Ricks.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Professor Ricks was cheerful and patient with all of his students…even when such patience was pushed.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Professor Hicks ran the mock class in much the same way that he’d run one of his own at South Texas College of Law.

http://www.stcl.edu/

The students were expected to be familiar with the details involving two different contract cases. In each of cases the contract was declared invalid by the court, and it was the students’ job to use the rules included in the case brief to figure out exactly why. He called on students at random…

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks, Staci Antu

…asked them about the various facts of the case, why they thought the case resulted in that particular outcome, and what principle of law applied to each.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

He also presented some hypothetical cases and asked the students to apply the principles they had just learned to them.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

All in all, we had a great time getting a taste of what their future law school experiences could be like, and we learned some valuable lessons.

First, we should speak up when answering or asking questions…

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Second, read outside of class.  Having a large vocabulary and understanding usage will be helpful.  Otherwise, we’ll get turned around….

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Third, we should ask questions when we are confused.  The alternative is just to carry our confusion with us as the Professor is lecturing, instead of identifying the material we need.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

They were able to ask Professor Hicks questions about class sizes, test formats, and bar passage rates, and he happily answered them all. The students were able walk away from the mock law class with a much better understanding of exactly what they could expect once they made it to law school.

Law School Informational: Texas Tech Law

By Beatriz Martinez

Thirty or so bright- eyed students attentively paid attention to Danielle Saveedra, the Associate Dean of Recruitment for Texas Tech University’s School of Law.  She was presenting information on the next stage these aspiring attorneys-to-be were contemplating: applying to law school. Crucial questions such as where to start when considering law school, the application process, and what to look for in a law school, were  all discussed during the presentation and absorbed by the students.

TX Tech Law School, LEAP Center, SHSU

Ms. Saveedra had come to SHSU to guide us through the process of preparing for law school.  In a nutshell, she walked us through:

  • A timeline for law-school preparation
  • Taking the LSAT
  • Deciding which law schools to send applications
  • Applying to Law School, including
    • sending in transcripts, reference letters, the resume, and the personal statement

This may sound quite simple, however it is in fact considerably challenging. A law school’s environment whether cut-throat or nurturing, emphasis on certain types of law, and cost of living, Ms. Saavedra told us, will influence where a student may decide to go. Decisions on what law schools to apply to (each application has a fee), or choosing between a good law school that costs less versus a more prestigious at a higher cost can pose challenges even to a well-prepped student.

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However, all of these decisions were weighed and measured during the law school informational. Ms. Saveedra covered every single possible piece of information needed to be successful in law school and gave constructive tips. Every prospective attorney left reeling with information, but departed knowing they were now better prepared for the challenging journey ahead. Law school will now be less intimidating, allowing students to further their education in the legal field.