Saturday, October 22, 2011

The law school fairest of them all

Hey, law school fans,

On Wednesday, there was a law school fair in the ballroom of the Wilkinson Center. The BYU Pre-Law office doesn't do a great job of getting the word out...the way I found out about it was a junk email from Michigan State. Then, all my law school junk emails started telling me about this law school fair, some of them from schools I was actually interested in and a few that said I could get an application fee waiver if I stopped by their table at the fair. Awesome.

So I was pretty excited to go. I had all kinds of things I wanted to find out, but at the same time I didn't really know what to ask. But I got some advice from my law school pals Bert van Uitert, Erin Kulesus and Aimee Brown (thanks, guys!). Erin and Allisyn were really excited to go with me too.

Even though I didn't really do that much, for some reason it was really fun. I guess it really is like a fair, or like a carnival. But instead of cotton candy and huge teddy bears, you get to dream about the next phase of your life. Erin and I both became even more thrilled by the idea of a new adventure. And there were so many options!

The ballroom at the Wilkinson Center was full of schools, and there was a pretty good representation. Harvard, Yale and Princeton weren't there. But Cornell and Columbia were. And, it ranged all the way down to the bottom tier schools that send me junk email all the time. It was just cool to see all these great schools from all over the country all at one place.

All of the schools in my narrowed-down list were there, which was a nice bonus. In addition, there were a few more schools that for one reason or another convinced us enough that we'll maybe apply to them too (the fee waivers helped):

Iowa - Because we're pretty much open to moving anywhere in the country, I didn't really know how to choose among all the state schools in the country. I know some state schools stand out, like Michigan and Texas. But I didn't really know the differences among Iowa and Wisconsin and Georgia and New Mexico or most anywhere else. But the guys at the Iowa booth made us feel pretty good about it, especially Erin. Erin, of course, was really big on finding out what family life would be like at each school, and what life would be like for the "law school widows." And she felt really good about Iowa, which means I do too.

Virginia - This school is one of the best state schools, and ranked ninth overall. I've always known it was a great school, and I think it would be cool to live in Virginia. But I wasn't planning on applying because I didn't think I could get in. But, this was one of the schools that had a fee waiver. So, hey, I might not get in, but it's worth $16 for the CAS and $0 for the application. (Plus, Allisyn got some swag from them - a little teddy bear.)

Minnesota - The lady at the Minnesota table was really nice. Kind of a grandmotherly type, and talked about the great family environment there.

We picked up a whole backpackfull of brochures, pamphlets, business cards - plus a pen from Washington and a pen from Notre Dame. And in addition to that Virginia bear, Oregon was handing out rubber duckies holding a gavel and a law book. Pretty clever.

Allisyn at home with her Oregon Law rubber duckie.

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We got stuff from all these schools:

Already on my list
Notre Dame
UC Davis
North Carolina
Arizona State

Will probably go on my list

Ones I would maybe apply to only if my LSAT is surprisingly higher than I expected
UC Berkeley

Ones I got fee waivers for
Texas Tech
Akron (this one I didn't pick up, it was given to me by a desperate University of Akron representative)
(and Baylor and Willamette are already free)

Ones I would maybe apply to only if my LSAT is surprisingly lower than I expected
Ohio State

Others I just picked up for fun (either because they make me think of good college sports, or "The Office")

The guy representing Stanford was none other than Tony Montague, one of my MTC teachers! It was really cool to see him. I've run into him on campus a couple times since being home from my mission, but that's all. I had no idea he was even at Stanford. So that was cool. (Too bad that he can't pull some strings, haha. Even if I could get into Stanford, though, it is super expensive to live there. Tony said the apartment he and his family live in is $1,700 a month. And that's student housing. Yikes.)

Probably the best sales pitch came from Baylor. The girl was super nice, told us her apartment that has three bedrooms and two bathrooms was only $600 a month (that's less than we're paying in Provo for two bedrooms and one bathroom), and that Baylor has a spring term and a summer term, which might be better than finding a job for the nine months between graduating from BYU and moving to law school. Baylor also got me thinking about the benefits of being "a big fish in a little pond." Even if I could get into Virginia or Notre Dame, it might be worth going to a school like Baylor. It would be easier to be in the top of my class (which, one person told me, is noticed by employers no matter what school you went to) or on the law review. So, something to think about.

Anyway, I've got a big stack of brochures to read!

I can't wait for law school.

P.S.: If you want to read Erin's blog post about the law school fair, click here.


  1. So, a couple of things:

    1) I'm glad that you were able to get such a good experience. When I got there last year, I just kind of thought the whole thing was lame. You clearly were able to get a lot more out of it than I was.

    2) Definitely apply to Minnesota. They LOVE Mormons for some reason. I've heard of so many people who were let in even if they didn't look like they should have gotten in based on the grade/LSAT matrix. Also, I have a good friend who went to Iowa and LOVED it. Iowa city, as he put it, might be the only livable city in Iowa.

    3) Just as a caveat to the big fish small pond theory, it really works better on a regional basis. For example, in New York and the immediate vicinity there are like 8 law schools, but most people have only heard of NYU and Columbia. If you're highly ranked in your class at St. John's (Ranked 95th), you'll definitely be able to find a job in New York/Philly/Boston, but people in Texas, Utah, California, who likely don't have many graduates from those schools working out there, won't be as likely to care about you. Basically, just in general, long-term livability should be a huge factor in deciding where you want to go to school because, no matter where it is, the firms that will recruit/work with professional development office/etc with your school are going to be from the surrounding region.

    4). Forget all those other schools and just come to the U. Except for BYU, it's the best bang for your buck.

  2. I can't wait either! I'm so excited about this awesome new adventure. There are so many possibilities, and I love it!


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