The Navigation Pillar of LawReady™: Supporting Students on Their Journey to Law School and Beyond
By Elanda Williams, Rebecca Golay, and Krista Mattern
When envisioning LawReady™, our overarching goal was to create a program designed to open access to legal education and the legal profession. In that process, it was important to create tools to support students, not only academically, but in the additional areas of navigation and engagement. These areas have become the three pillars of the LawReady program.
In the next few months, we will be posting a series of blogs explaining each of these pillars in more detail. For the moment, we would like to focus on navigation.
The navigation pillar centers around supporting students as they explore a potential career in law. This portion of LawReady includes programs meant to increase awareness about different law career pathways as well as assistance in navigating the law school admission process.
LawReady’s navigation component can support and supplement the resources and activities that prelaw programs already provide and allow prelaw advisors to redirect some of their time, knowing their students have access to high-quality information and programming in LawReady.
The program’s navigation component is also something students told us would be valuable to them.
“I have always wanted to attend law school, but navigating the process of getting in is extremely difficult,” a prelaw student said.
Another prelaw student offered similar sentiments, saying the mentorship and networking opportunities drew them to the program.
“Regardless of how this program looks for law school admission, the networking opportunity is enough to convince me to participate. ... I'd like to speak to attorneys of various fields to help me better understand whether or not law school is a good fit for me,” the student said.
Increasing Awareness of Different Law Career Pathways
As part of the LawReady program, we have designed three features — a career exploration module, a mentorship program, and learning communities organized around career interests — which aim to increase student awareness of the many different law career pathways.
Career Exploration Module
The LawReady Career Exploration module will give students the opportunity to explore a variety of legal careers that align with their current interests. Through online, asynchronous, and live webinars tailored to meet students where they are in their undergraduate journey, students will have the opportunity to gain insight into the many facets of a legal career. Topics and activities in the module include completing an interest inventory, watching a “Careers With a Law Degree” webinar, reviewing the trends report in legal education (cost, enrollment, jobs), and watching a “What Do Lawyers Do” webinar.
Mentorship opportunities are great for providing students with guidance, advice, knowledge transfer, and feedback from professionals in specific fields. Because of this, LawReady has developed the LawReady Mentorship Program — a 12-month, national, virtual mentorship program designed to partner students with licensed legal professionals who will share industry knowledge and build awareness of the law school experience and, most importantly, the many careers in the legal field.
LawReady students will meet with their mentor virtually on a monthly basis for 30 minutes, using the LawReady platform. In addition to the monthly meetings, the mentorship program will have monthly activities planned to support meaningful mentee-mentor conversations. These activities include completing a goal-setting exercise, researching different fields of law, watching informative webinars regarding careers in the legal profession, exploring law schools, brainstorming ideas on what to include in a personal statement, and completing a capstone reflection paper.
Learning Communities Organized by Career Interests
Effective learning communities are both aspirational and practical. LawReady has designed engaging LawReady Learning Communities for students, faculty, and mentors to connect, learn, and work across higher education institutions. Peer groups will be offered within the LawReady platform to connect participants who have similar interests or the desire to gain and share new perspectives related to topics such as fields of law and legal careers.
While specific topics will be moderated by the LawReady team, participants will be able to share information, pose questions, and post their own discussion topics, thereby learning from their peers and broadening their perspectives about law school and careers in the legal field.
Supporting Students in Navigating the Law School Admission Process
We have designed two program features to support students in navigating the law school admission process: a law school application support learning pathway and learning communities organized around the law school application process.
Law School Application Support Learning Pathway
The LawReady Law School Application Support Learning Pathway will be offered within the LawReady platform and will provide online, asynchronous webinars to support students navigating the application process. We will curate and deliver personalized content as it relates to where the student is in the law school application and admission process. It will walk students through exploring different law schools and compiling the components that make a strong application to law school, including preparing for the LSAT, applying for financial aid and scholarships, writing their personal statement and supplemental essays, creating their résumé, requesting recommendation letters, and using LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. The learning pathway will also support students during their post-application period with resources to help them decide where to attend, budget for their time in law school, and begin making the transition to law school.
Learning Communities Organized Around the Law School Application Process
Similar to the learning communities organized by career interests, learning communities will be offered within the LawReady platform to connect students and provide support through the law school application process. By connecting students who are at similar stages in the application process, students will be able to share information, pose questions, and post their own discussion topics as well as respond to specific topics and discussion threads posed by the LawReady team to support them on their journey to law school.
Tracking Navigation Components for Law Schools
Throughout the program, students’ participation within the navigation components of LawReady, along with the engagement and academic components, will be captured and displayed in a digital portfolio that students can share with prospective law schools. Information within the portfolio can signal students’ commitment and dedication to pursuing a legal education — a factor that law schools have indicated is very useful as they review applicants’ materials.
In the upcoming months, we will spotlight the other two pillars of LawReady: academic and engagement. Stay tuned!