The Weekend JD program is now about half-way through its second successful year, and with two classes having gone through the admissions process, with a third in the works, I thought it would be a good time to reflect back at the questions I’ve received during this time. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received in the last 2 years.
Prospective law students have always been interested in the bar passage success rates of schools they’re considering attending. After all, while a law degree is a prerequisite to taking the bar almost everywhere, passing the bar is a prerequisite to actually practicing law in almost all states.
What a fun night I had last week with a One L study group from section A. For those who don’t know, the first year class is always divided into sections that stay intact for the entire first year for every class – so essential that everyone gets along! Most One L students join four or five others for a “study group” that helps each other with outlines, exam prep, and general morale. So, this particular group is one of the nicest, most interesting, and eclectic group of people I have had dinner with in some time.
One student is originally from Syria, though his father currently lives in Oman and his mother in Maryland – since the war in Syria he has become a libertarian – skeptical of government, seeking to protect his freedom from government interference. And yet, he is open-minded enough to be close friends with his study partner who is a self-described socialist who majored in Economics at the University of Vermont and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer – we had a great conversation about whether Medicaid should pay for housing. This section A study group is rounded out by a woman from South Carolina (who took her Syrian classmate home to experience his first US Thanksgiving) and a New Jersey native with a Master’s Degree in Political Science who works for his father’s construction company during summers.
As I looked back upon the advice I gave about a year ago on this topic – it struck me that despite some activity on the “LSAT or GRE Issue”, that not really much has changed – and, therefore my advisement is not much different today than it was then. This is why law schools care about your LSAT score.
AN INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR THOMAS HEALY
Many students know from the first day of college they want to attend law school as soon as they graduate. But for others, the decision comes later. They might not decide on law school until they’ve tried another career. They might want to save money and gain work experience before returning to school. Or they might simply need a break from the rigors of studying. Whatever the case, older students often have a different perspective on going to law school and a different experience once they arrive. In this Q&A, Seton Hall Professor Thomas Healy talks about his own unconventional path to law school and the pros and cons of being an older student.
I am often asked if it is worthwhile for prospective law students to invest in Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) Prep. In the past, my answer has often been a ‘soft yes’ because the answer is dependent upon the individual’s study habits, time constraints and most notably their financial situation. I’ve been reluctant to be 'all in' on a test prep recommendation, knowing that for many aspiring law students the financial constraints of commercial prep services are prohibitive.
But I also know that the LSAT is a high stakes standardized test – and applicants should do anything and everything they can to position themselves to have as many law school choices as possible. I am so pleased to finally be able to give a ‘hard yes’ to the question, now that there is free, flexible, fully online LSAT prep.
Law school is one of the most demanding academic challenges that a student can face. Reading dozens of pages to prepare for class, learning a new way of critically thinking and carefully writing, searching for valuable work experience, and establishing relationships with fellow students and professors require lots of time and attention. When thinking about my own law school experience, as well as my experiences with students to date, there are a few key themes that seem crucial to success:
I loved law school. I had great teachers, I made great friends, I was challenged daily with the material we learned in class, and (most importantly) I met my wife. It was a glorious time. And to all of the 1Ls, you’re in for the time of your life.
To help you through your journey over the next three or four years, I’d like to share some tips and words of wisdom that I wish I had when I was I was a law student.
Every great law school fosters an environment where students are allowed to pick a side and argue their position. However, one thing that remains constant in the minds of every law student is that the rigor of law school can be a lot to balance. Whether it be juggling class readings, moot court, work, family, or other commitments, the load can often times feel insurmountable.
So why would I suggest adding the SBA to the mix? The answer is simple.
I encourage my law students to notice what successful law students do and to adopt these behaviors. Savvy learners realize that professors want you to succeed. Professors use a class syllabus and class policies to guide you toward success. Early on in each course, note the professor’s office hours and best contact method. Why? The professor is inviting you to engage with the material outside of class time—take advantage of this invitation.