Every Fall, hundreds of law school faculty, staff, students and alumni hit the road for weeks at a time to spread the word about their law schools to potential applicants. Thousands of applicants are simultaneously trying to learn as much as they can about law schools. In a series of posts, we will give an overview of the many different ways to learn about schools, as well as some advice on how to make the most of your time.
One great way to quickly gather tons of information about law schools is to visit a LSAC Law School Forum. Forums are large information sessions offered in, Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco each year. At the forums you can talk with representatives from over 140 law schools, gather materials, sign up for mailing lists, and attend general information sessions on everything from the LSAT to Law School Diversity. While forums can be an excellent way to learn about law schools, it is easy to be overwhelmed at the size, crowd, and volume of information available. Here are a few tips for making a forum work for you:
* Make a List of Goals. Are you looking for a general overview about law school admissions? Do you want to learn more about specific schools? Do you have questions about your specific application?
* Get a Map. At the forums, the law schools are randomly placed in a large hotel ballroom. There are maps available, but it can be difficult to navigate, especially during peak times. Before diving in, make sure and get a map (LSAC handily provides these for you for each forum) and circle the schools you want to make sure and visit.
* Attend LSAC Sessions. LSAC provides a variety of sessions during the forum, including a presentation on making the most of the Forums, “Forum 101,” a general admissions session and a “What Do Lawyers Do” session, both of which are especially useful for those in the early stages of their application process. You can find the schedule of sessions for each forum on the LSAC website by clicking on the "Schedule/Floor Plan" link under each Forum's date.
* Travel Light. It may seem like a good idea to pick up a view book from each school, but bear in mind there are well over a hundred schools and that many schools also post their view books on their web sites. If you do like that new book smell, bring a backpack or sturdy bag to carry everything.
*What to Wear. Remember that even before your first day of law school, you should begin to think of yourself as a professional, and part of being a professional is dressing the part. To that end, many people wonder what is the appropriate attire for a forum. Although there is no hard and fast rule, business casual is the norm for forums. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will be spending quite a lot of time on your feet!
* Be Respectful of the Law School Representative's Time. At the Chicago forum this weekend, we will probably speak to 1300 applicants over two days, so we cannot stop and talk with someone for 45 minutes! Try to keep your questions focused, don't be aggressive, and don't be afraid to have a group conversation with other applicants standing ahead or behind you. Many of you have the same questions and a group chat can be both more informative for you and less repetitive for the representative. Remember a forum is a good place to get basic information, but it's not the appropriate venue for an in-depth application review.
* Follow Up After the Forum. If you have a good conversation with someone, or if you want to establish a connection to a particular school, I think it is a great idea to send a brief email to follow up.