Well, it’s that time of year again. With the holiday season comes law school exams, and the anxiety that inevitably comes along with that. It is important, however, not to let stress carry you away. You have worked hard all term. Think of exams not as a trial but as a chance to demonstrate your mastery, to show your professors just how much you know about Contracts, Civil Procedure or whatever else has filled your brain over the last few months.
Plagiarism — the use of someone else’s words or ideas in writing without proper attribution — is one of the easiest ways to ruin your academic or professional reputation. Just ask Senator John Walsh, whose Master’s degree from the United States War College was rescinded after it was discovered that he copied large portions of his final thesis without attribution. Or Benny Johnson, the BuzzFeed writer who was dismissed after Twitter users pointed out dozens of examples in his articles of “sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites.”
As a law student, being scrupulous about avoiding plagiarism is particularly important, as a plagiarism violation could be used as evidence of poor “character and fitness” when you apply for admission to the bar. For lawyers already in practice, plagiarism can be grounds for professional discipline.
(Post updated August 7, 2017)
Now that you have written a superb personal statement, I want to focus on another aspect of your law school application – Letters of Recommendation (LOR) are another way that an otherwise average application may rise above the pack.
Although you do not have control over what your letter writer(s) may write, you certainly have control over ensuring that you select the individual(s) with the most relevant and positive things to say. Ideally, your recommender(s) should speak thoughtfully to your strengths and, if necessary, address any weaknesses your application may reveal.
It is also important that your choice of recommenders ‘makes sense’.
Law students hoping to practice in the area of Family Law can position themselves to achieve that goal by following this advice. While no one thing will guarantee a successful career in one specific area of the law, a combination of multiple experiences and associations will make the likelihood of employment in that area increase. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Tip #1: Build your network.
Applying to graduate school for a master's degree can feel daunting, particularly if you are a mid-career professional who hasn’t been in the classroom for a while. Most graduate schools will require that you submit a personal statement as part of your application, but don’t be intimidated by the task.
If your goals of returning to school include developing new skills to better position yourself for new or expanding opportunities within your industry or related industry, a compelling personal statement can be the key factor in the school’s decision to admit you. Graduate schools desire diverse students with a variety of personal, professional and educational backgrounds.
Think of the graduate school personal statement as your opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants and to highlight something that the admissions committee would not otherwise know about you.
Last year, an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Compliance Officer: Dream Career” discussed the massive growth of compliance jobs, emphasizing hiring for new compliance positions in the financial services industry. Just last month, New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli identified hiring in compliance as driving growth in Wall Street employment in the first half of 2015.
Employment opportunities in financial services compliance are booming for two interrelated reasons.
It seems appropriate to title this post with questions because questions are the heart of the so-called “Socratic method,” which is the distinguishing characteristic of law school instruction. Or at least it used to be.
(Post updated August 17, 2017)
I am often asked how to write a personal statement for law school so that the application stands out from the rest. Submitting an outstanding law school application may seem like an unachievable ideal, but consider a few simple recommendations and your application will get full attention!
To get your law school application to stand out you should focus on three components: the personal statement, letters of recommendation, and additional addenda.
Fall is a busy time for us as we hit the road to meet with pre-law advisors and prospective students at law school and graduate school fairs all over the country. Although all the travel is exhausting, I think many of us consider the opportunity to meet all the amazing people at these events one of our favorite parts of the job! I know I do.
If one of us from Seton Hall Law has already met with you in our travels, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by our table. I hope you found the conversation helpful! If you have not yet been able to meet with us, don’t worry! You’re not too late. Although things wind down as the holidays approach, Seton Hall Law Admissions is still extremely busy in November.
Here’s where you can find us on the road this month: