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

Moot Court Tournament: Texas Tech Law School, Day One

Even though the competition started at two, most of us started Friday early.  We began preparing for the events, while one of our coaches scouted out the venue (Texas Tech Law School!) and explored some of the Jesus Moroles’ sculptures on campus.

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But by the early afternoon, after countless hours of preparation, our nerves were beginning to set in.  So, we ate.  Our restaurant was a burger place called Spanky’s, recommended by former Junior Fellow Brandon Reese, who also happens to be an alum of Texas Tech Law School.

Spanky’s advertises its “world famous fried cheese,” and after the server told us that one basket is “only six sticks,” we ordered two baskets.  What we didn’t know is that they cheese sticks are the size of a log.

Couvillion_Fried_Cheese_WebBut we got them down, along with some burgers, and that helped quell some nerves.

Armed with food in our stomachs, we headed to Texas Tech Law School. With the intensity of competition weighing on our shoulders, we had a few extra minutes to practice and prepare before the competition began.

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After competing at the UNT Scrimmage a few weeks ago, our team had a better idea of what to expect; however, there are many unknown variables that a competitor cannot control such as: who your opposing team is, who the judges are, or what questions the judge’s will ask you. Today’s preliminary rounds consisted of three rounds where each team argued once on each side (petitioner and respondent) and a final coin toss round to determine which side each opposing team would argue.

The performances in these three rounds will then be used to determine who competes tomorrow, with the top sixteen teams advancing.  Armed with that mission, we awaited the call to compete.

When the time came to disperse to our respective rooms for competition, our team felt prepared because we knew we invested a substantial amount of time into learning the problem case, developing our arguments, and refining our presentation skills. My co-counsel, Alejandra Galvan, and I argued on the petitioners’ side of the case in our first round.

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For us, the petitioner’s side of the case is more challenging than the respondent’s argument. After each round, the judges provide feedback to the teams giving them the opportunity to improve in the following rounds. This proves to be a useful tool in going forward in the competition. As each round progressed, confidence among the group grew because the judge’s feedback was constructive and positive.

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After completing the final round, Texas Tech Law School catered dinner for us which allowed for a reprieve from the stress of the day while we waited on the final results and scores.

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Participating in Moot Court has numerous benefits, one of which is getting to tour law schools during the competition. Dinner allowed us the opportunity to meet and interact with Texas Tech Law students to gain insight on their law school experience. We also had the chance to meet the Associate Dean of Admissions, LJ Bernhard, who gave us advice on law school applications. In addition to the skills you can acquire and refine, making connections and getting information is a benefit to the Moot Court experience.

Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association gives awards to the top twenty speakers for the preliminary rounds.Our entire team was excited when Chelsea King won overall twelfth speaker.

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Also, James Perry and Kristyn Couvillion, tied for the sixteenth spot giving them the opportunity to compete in a “play-in round” (equivalent to the wildcard in sports playoffs) tomorrow morning to determine who will win the sixteenth spot.

First_Day_Dinner_Team_11_Announced_WebFollowing a happy first day of competition, we took lots of photos…

First_Day_Group_Photo_Web…including one in the very cool atrium, below a Thomas Jefferson quote…

First_Day_Group_Photo_SHSU_Atrium_WebWe also got pictures of the group from UNT, a group led by Dr. Kimi King, who organizes the tournament.

First_Day_Group_Photo_UNT_WebUNT has been long-time participants and, as expected, their competitors did very well.

We also relaxed a bit…

Alex_Austin_Web…and enjoyed reflecting on the day while winding down.  Well, James and Kristyn didn’t relax so much, but the rest of us did!

 

 

 

LEAP Center Hosts Law-School/Grad-School Seminar

Almost fifty students attended the Law School/Grad School Seminar hosted by the Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) earlier this month. The seminar featured Karissa Morissey from Princeton Review; Stephen Perez, Dean of Students at Texas Tech Law School; Kathryn Meyer, Director of Recruitment from the Bush School at Texas A&M University; and Thomas Leeper, attorney with Smither, Martin, Henderson, and Blazek.

Students and Panelists at the LEAP Center Legal Seminar
Students & Panelists at LEAP Seminar

Their advice was to the point and useful. Karissa Morrissey provded a helpful overview of the LSAT and GRE, offering a timeline for preparing for graduate school or law school. High points included:

  • The LSAT ranges from 120-180; The GRE ranges from 130-170
  • The LSAT is offered four times a year (Feb, Jun, Oct, Dec), while the GRE offers more frequent tests
  • The LSAT should be taken approximately a year prior to when the students wants to enroll in Law School.
  • The Princeton Review offers Prep Courses at SHSU in the spring of each year.

Dean Stephen Perez stressed the importance of the LSAT Scores and a student’s GPA, while pointing to Tech’s strong rates on bar passage, employment, and the excellent performance of students in Moot Court and Mock Trials.  Also, the National Jurist magazine ranked Tech among the top 10 in the country in both “overall value” and “student satisfaction.” Perhaps not surprisingly, more SHSU students are enrolling in Tech, with four Bearkats matriculating last year.  Dean Perez seems to be intent on duplicating that success this year, offering the students who attended the seminar fee waivers to apply to Texas Tech.

Dean Perez Discusses Law School Admissions
Perez Discusses Law School Admissions

Kathryn Meyer caught students’ attention when she discussed the programs of the Bush School of Public Service. The Bush School is a top 35 Public Administration across the country, featuring broad programs in Administration and International Affairs and endeavoring to keep students’ costs low.  SHSU boasts more graduates at the Bush School than any other University in the nation with the exception of Texas A & M.

Thomas Leeper’s discussion bridged both law and public affairs.  Leeper has served as an attorney in private practice, a city attorney, and a political appointee.  Leeper discussed life in law school (giving particular attention to the Socratic Method), the kind of work that attorneys do, and the importance of public service.

The Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) promotes learning opportunities across diverse disciplines at SHSU.  Over the past seven years, SHSU has significantly increased its efforts in the pre-law field, doubling the number of students accepted to law schools in the United States.  Moreover, last year, SHSU moved in the top five percent nationally in the Law School Admissions Council’s (LSAC) ranking of “Law School Feeders.”

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