The 2019 Law Fair is Tuesday October 8 - will you be ready for it?
Attending a Law Fair requires more preparation than simply knowing when (11am-2pm) and where (Ohio Union Ballroom) the event is taking place. Depending on your year and how far away you are from applying to law school, there are different steps you can take to be as prepared as possible so that you gain as much as possible from the experience:
- First and second year students are invited to take it all in - pick up literature from schools you think might interest you and listen to some of the questions upper-class students are asking (and the answers they are getting). Be sure to identify yourself as a first or second year student so they know you're not someone who has applied or is about to. Feel free to engage law school representatives with questions of your own; if you are the only person at a table you can get away with slightly more general questions such as "what would you suggest students look for in a law school?" but they are not there to guide you through the process generally, they're there to talk about their law school specifically. Be mindful of any line forming behind you - you have every right to be there and to ask questions, but don't monopolize a representative's time. Attire for 1st and 2nd year students - Business Casual. You don't need to wear a suit, but law schools take note of who they meet and how you present yourself.
- Juniors should use the fair as a resource to figure out what you are looking for in a legal education and to start identifying which schools interest you. Be sure to do some preliminary research on schools you think you might apply to, but also feel free to stop by any law school table randomly. Identify yourself as a Junior and let them know if you plan to apply to law school next year or take time off, and if you're honestly not sure, let them know that as well. Questions should be focused on the school and their opportunities, though asking for their insights and advice is fine. Again, they're not there to guide you through the process, but most law reps want to encourage students to be the best candidate possible. Attire for Juniors - consider going with a suit or comparable business dress outfit, however business casual is acceptable at this stage.
- Seniors should use the fair as you need to. If you are in the process of applying, try to stop by each school you're applying to and introduce yourself. Let the law rep know you are an applicant (or are about to be). All law schools track all connections with students, whether it's via email, phone call, or in-person contact, as one way to gauge a student's interest. Ask questions designed to help you make your decision should you be accepted, but also try to ask questions that invite them to ask about you: "what makes someone a competitive candidate for your school?" could give you an opportunity to talk about your background and experiences. A Law Fair is not a proper interview, but it's still an opportunity for the school to get a quick read of who you are. Attire for Seniors should be a business suit or comparable. It may sound old-fashioned, but the career is one of representation - how you present yourself reflects not only on you but on your client (or in this case your school and colleagues/classmates). If you do not have a business suit or comparable outfit, think "job interview appropriate" attire.
For all students regardless of year, do not just do a "fly-by" - do not walk to a table, pause just long enough to pick up literature, and then walk on without talking to the law school representative. While the literature might be nicely packaged, chances are you can find everything on their website that is in the literature. The point is to engage with the law school representatives. If they are talking with someone, stop for a moment to listen to the conversation and pick up insights. If they are not talking with someone, stop and chat! And if you've run out of time and you're hurrying to class, take a few seconds and be honest about it and ask for a card so you can follow up with your questions later (but don't interrupt if they're talking with someone else).
For other thoughts on how best to be prepared, the following suggestions are shared by Janet Hein, Director of Admissions at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law:
Before the Fair
- Research which schools will be attending.
- Have at least 3 questions prepared (pointed and that reflect you did your research on each school).
At the Fair
- Do not be too familiar (treat the representatives with professional respect).
- Be calm and pointed in asking questions.
- Actively listen to the representative (do not just wait for your turn to talk).
- Be respectful of the representative’s time (they would like to talk to as many students at they can).
After the Fair
Email a thank you to each representative that you talk to (within 24 hours). Protocol for emails:
- Use Mr./Ms. or the representative's title (Dean, e.g.).
- Do not use foul language (not even casually).
- Be patient for a response.
- Treat your email as if it were a writing sample.
- Be precise and concise in your message.
- Do not bombard them with too many emails.