New to UMass and interested in law?

So you just arrived on campus (welcome!) and you’re trying to figure out this pre-law thing.  Law school seems like a distinct possibility for your future, or you’re kind of thinking about a legal career, or you just always thought you’d be a lawyer.  What’s next? What should you be doing to get on, or keep on track?  What is the track, anyway?

The answers all depend in large part on whether you just arrived as a freshman or as a transfer student.  Let’s start with the first years.

Freshmen, the most important thing you should be doing right now to further your lawyering aspirations is . . . focus on college.  This is a big transition you’re making, and too many students underestimate just how tough it can be.  One of the most common conversations I have with law school applicants is the one that starts off with, “So, my GPA really suffered my first year of college….” I’d like to not have that conversation with any of you.  Remember: there is little you can do this first year of college to either help or hurt your law school admission chances. For a few more tips, review my Welcome Class of 2015 post from earlier this summer.

Transfers, your main order of business is to get to know your professors (and let them get to know you).  Participate in class.  Visit office hours and engage with your instructors about their topics.  In as little as a year from now, you may need letters of recommendation for law school, and those professors will be the ones to write them.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re in big classes or small ones—seek out your profs, especially those in your major(s).

For all of you new to campus, visit the pre-law website for answers to all of your questions. “Like” the Facebook page (that’s where you’ll find all the news about law school, law-related events on campus, the legal profession, etc.). Check out the regularly updated Events page of this blog. And stop by my office to introduce yourself.  During the fall semester, I prioritize appointments with current applicants, but I’m always happy to welcome new students.  And whenever you have a question, don’t hesitate to email me.

And keep your eyes open for completely revised and redesigned Pre-Law Advising website, coming in just a few weeks!