(Updated October 21,2019) Congratulations! You’ve been admitted to a few different law schools! Now – you just need to figure out how to pay for it! You thought the hard part was over – but, now, it seems like it is just beginning. Let me help you get a realistic vision of what to expect/what not to expect with regards to paying for law school.
As a law librarian, I’ve learned to expect the same response from people any time I get asked what I do: polite bafflement. For most people, law and libraries are two separate professions, and I am often the first law librarian they’ve ever met. So I explain a bit and convey the salient point: they may still have quiet reputations, but modern law libraries are actually hubs of activity and support for law students, law faculty, and the legal community. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the ways the law library at Seton Hall helps its law students.
I’m thrilled to have joined Seton Hall Law’s faculty full-time in January 2019 after 11 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. My hope is that my background will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn not only about the key statutes and case law relating to the various classes I teach, but also to gain insight into life as a practicing lawyer.
The Leadership Fellows Program at Seton Hall Law provides a unique opportunity for law students to cultivate essential leadership skills through experiential learning, teaching, engaging with select readings, participating in the Leadership Speaks series, and planning and executing a dynamic leadership project. Here is how this year's Leadership Fellows Amy Eng ('20) and Deidre Cooney ('20) describe their experiences in the program:
On the first day of orientation, Dean Boozang approached the podium and announced an obvious, but difficult truth to grasp: “Ninety-percent of you in this room will not be in the top ten-percent of your class.” As future lawyers, we know the profound impact grades can have and can get caught in the trap of constantly checking and calculating GPA. Yet it is a sad and undeniable truth of law school: not everyone can be top of the class. But this in no way means that the other ninety-percent of the class has no hope of success. In Professor Paula Franzese’s Leadership Fellows Program and its attendant Leadership, Ethics and Decision-Making class, students learn that grades are only one aspect of a multidimensional you.
My most recent Dinner with the Dean was incredibly fun and relaxed - the upper-class students and I know each other well by now. The first part of the night we shared about the insecurities caused by the economic divide – the challenges of going to school when you feel you have fewer resources than your classmates. The conversation was actually started because Seton Hall Law is establishing a Food Pantry for students living with food insecurity. And that got us talking about resources for students who don’t have a professional wardrobe, for which we also have sources through the Office of Career Services.
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.
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.