Unpacking Law School “Fit”

November 17, 2022

There are certain skills the legal profession requires: being a strong communicator, a problem-solver, and a self-starter, among others. But building these foundations doesn’t happen overnight, or even while you’re in law school. In this workshop, aimed at students planning to begin law school in August 2023 and/or August 2024, we examined these foundations, the ways they’ll be used in practice, and the ways you can refine them now and in the future. Through a combination of rich conversation, thought-provoking questions, and meaningful exercises, you should walk away from this workshop with a tangible plan for how to improve your foundational skill set.


Full Transcript

COLLIN: Hello everyone and welcome to the LawHub Prelaw Success live event series. My name is Collin Takita, and I am the director of prelaw learning here at LSAC. It’s my job to make sure I give you high quality learning to help you along your journey and help answer some questions for you that you have as you prepare to apply to law school and eventually entered the legal profession. This series is one of many products and services offered to you by LSAC to support you along that journey. But today, we hope to answer some questions as well. In particular, we want to answer some of the questions around Law School fit. What does that actually mean? In fact, a common question we get from people considering law school is its law school right for me, do I have what it takes to succeed in law school? The truth is that a legal education is achievable for just about everyone. Understanding what it takes to be successful in law, the reality is not the myths, including who you are, what you bring, and how you will continue to grow, will help you to achieve a legal education and to thrive in the profession.

So, to help us better understand how to answer these questions today, it will be really helpful to know a little bit more about who was actually joined us today. So, we’re going to send out a poll momentarily. And it’ll ask you when you plan to start law school. So once that poll comes up, I’ll let you put your answers. And so go ahead and fill out your answer when you plan to begin law school. And it looks like just about 50%, more than 50% are planning to start this coming fall, fall of 23 are spring 24. And then another group of you who are about two years out starting in fall of 24, or spring of 25. And there’s a decent amount of you who aren’t sure yet, which is perfectly fine. That’s, that’s good, actually, that we have this variety of people joining us today, because what we’re about to talk about today will cover a lot of ground it’s going to make it’s going to be relatable for just about everyone here, regardless of the stage of your journey. But our presenters today can take that information and inform some of what they’re talking about. So that’s, that’s really, really good. So, thank you for your feedback on that poll. So, with all of that in mind, in today’s workshop, we’re going to unpack some of those myths and realities about the law and your place in it. Moreover, we’ll talk about some of the resources that can help you in making this assessment. There will be a lot of discussion activities and reflection, you’ll get the most out of this workshop, if you work alongside us along the way and stay with us the whole time. But doesn’t I understand if you’re not able to hang out for the next two hours, it’s a long time I get it. So, this session will be recorded and made available to you after the fact if you have if you have to cut out no big deal, you’ll be able to catch up on your own time, no problem at all.

So, today’s session will help you do a few things. First, it’ll help you distinguish between the myths and realities about the rigor of law. It’ll help you to better understand and explain who you are, including your strengths, weaknesses, motivators and pain points, and how these factors influence your sense of belonging and the legal profession. Related to that, we hope today will help you in creating your plan for your law school application, as well as in crafting your personal statement. Finally, this will help you to understand how you can be self-directed in your own development and success as a lawyer in the future. So, I’m just about done, I promise, I recommend that you have a notebook at the ready because we’re going to be covering a lot of ground. As I’ve already mentioned, there’s going to be a lot of enriching activities and conversation and you want to take notes. In addition to that, I’d like to note that the Q&A feature is open. So, if you have questions at any point in this session, make sure you submit them via the Q&A. We’ll do our best to answer the question throughout but there will be a formal Q&A at the end. So, with that, I’m pleased one to stop talking and two to hand things over to our two presenters today. First is that we have Zack DeMeola. And we have Liz Bodamer as well. They’re both joining us today to lead this workshop. I’ll hand things over to them. Liz, Zack, let’s get ahead and get started?


ZACK: Thank you, Collin. And it’s a pleasure to be here. And as Collin said, my name is Zack DeMeola. I am the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives here at LSAC. And I wanted to introduce myself give a little bit of background because I think it’s useful for the discussion we’re about to have. I went to law school and became a lawyer before joining LSAC but I grew up in a family where neither my parents went to went to college and they were very encouraging and very supportive of the journey that that I took in my path through college and eventually law school. But they couldn’t offer me their perspective directly on on what I needed to do and to rely on quite a few other people for that. I graduated law school when I started as a as a an attorney in public interest law. And then I moved to be a litigation attorney in in a big law firm but before I then decided I wanted to stop practice. And I thought, well, after seeing a lot of the legal system and practicing within it, that I could help to improve the system itself. And so, I got involved in a research institute at the University of Denver. And that is to this the Institute for the Advancement of the American legal system, or IAALS, I only mentioned it because I’m going to be relying on some of the work that I did there for part of this discussion later. And, and then I came here to LSAC, where I am working to, to really help to improve legal education and to provide more support to students. And a lot of that my motivation for doing that just comes from from my background. So, I’ll stop talking about my myself and I’ll pass it over to Liz.


LIZ: Hi, everyone. My name is Liz Bodemer as I’ve been introduced, and I am the Director of Research here at LSAC. A bit about myself. I am the oldest of four children. My parents are from El Salvador they they immigrated here during the civil war that was happening in the late 70s. And throughout the 80s. I am the first of what I like to say everything first graduated kindergarten all the way through law school. So similar transaction, I’m forging my way through finding out how can I get to college and law school while pursuing my goals and dreams and aspirations. What’s different though, is within law school or during law school, I learned a lot about myself and my interest that allowed me to pivot my career instead of practicing law. I turned my interest in career aspiration towards research. And so, I’ve dedicated my career to researching legal education and factors that impact sense of belonging for students in law school, and that has brought me all the way through to LSAC where I get to spend my career helping those who are interested in going to law school figuring out how and why all the way through practice. So, with that, let’s get started with this session.

All right, so we are going to get started with a short writing activities. So, we’re going to do is you’re going to take five minutes Alright, going to take five whole minutes and jot down, keep track type up whatever may be the answer to the questions on the slide for yourself. Okay, those questions are why are you interested in law? Why are you considering a career in the legal profession? What are your worries and concerns about law school so let’s take five minutes jot down create a list doesn’t have to be perfect.


ZACK: Welcome back. Let’s continue with this activity. We were going to put in the in the chat a link to a word cloud simulator and if you can’t please go there now click on that link when you look at the answers that you just provided to the questions in our initial activity what are a few of the words that come to mind for you about what’s most important in when you consider whether or not you know you want to start law school or or just you know what withdraw your motivate you to go to school and to three words in that word cloud simulator now please alright, we’re seeing some words pop up on the screen now. Career is coming up on occasion, help.


LIZ: Make my dad proud, LGBTQ plus issues, curiosity, help people.


ZACK: Still sort of taking taking shape here but career does come clearly into focus. And we heard from a few people in the Q&A about what motivated them personally.

Liz I think that that help was one of the big things that motivated me in my career. I knew that somehow I wanted to work with people and I thought that I could help them if I if I were a lawyer.


LIZ: For me, it’s it was community right there right under career that really was the driving factor that fire that really lit my my inspiration, my dreams.


ZACK: And I also appreciate that we’ve got education on here, someone said they were interested in going to school to to learn. It’s certainly a learning journey.


LIZ: Alright, so now let’s go to another question. All right, got a good sense here of what’s the driving? Right. So again, looking back to the initial question he answered, and using the same link that’s in the chat, right? When you think about law school, how sure are you that this is the right path for you?

Oh, great. We have some, some folks here that are very sure this is it? This is your route. So, I’m not so sure. And so, I’m not sure. Maybe right. Now, some of you are saying I am very sure. And maybe in a month, you’re like, I’m not sure anymore. And that’s completely normal, right to fluctuate in and out? And I think it’s for me, no, I don’t think so. Right. So hopefully, today’s session will really drive home some of the important consideration and factors to keep in mind to anchor your reasons why you’re pursuing this career.


ZACK: Yeah, I think our hope is that if you’re not sure, or if you’re somewhat Sure, where there’s some guidance that we can offer to help you understand better, what it is you that you bring with you, actually, they can help you help you really understand what it is you could contribute to the profession, legal profession to the legal field. And for those of you who are very sure, we’re still here to offer that guidance. And I have to say that just a little bit of of intentional thought and sort of assessment right of your own background, your abilities, and in the formative experiences in your life really helps you to highlight and identify, not just for yourself, but also for others. Why you, you, you you would do well as a as a legal professional. Okay, so let’s have you return to your personal journaling. And we want to take five minutes to write down five to seven significant life experiences that reflect why you want to go to law school or pursue a career in the legal profession, just building on what I just said before, start to think about what is motivating you what, what where you got to this point in your life, and many of you are sure that this is the right path for you. How did you get here? What were the life experiences that really formed that motivation? So, if you could sit down, think about that and jot a few down make it make a list of the most important life experiences so far.


LIZ: All right. So, on this slide, what we have our Zacks list in my list that we put together are five life experiences that reflect why we wanted to go to law school, before we attended law school. And so you’ll see some general themes pop up, right, from academic to extracurricular activity experiences, volunteer work, family experiences that really drove our why, right. So how do you make sense of this? Right? How do you make sense of these why these experiences? Which one is more significant? What should we highlight to show others? Why law is for you? Right? How do you hone in on your story that highlights what you bring, and that you have what it takes. So, with that, I’m going to hand this over to Zack, who has a great presentation of how to hone in.


ZACK: Thank you, Liz. That’s right. So, so, we have some guidance, we have some tools, and I want to share with all of you now. So, our mission at LSAC. And this is actually fundamentally built into what we’re offering today. But our mission is to advance law and justice by encouraging diverse, talented individuals to study law and by supporting their enrollment and learning journeys from prelaw through practice. And this next presentation shows you actually kind of builds on that right. So let me share with you now something called Foundations for Practice. And you may have heard some of this already in other LSAC content or programs. But we’re going to do a dive into it. Because this is I think the most comprehensive study we have had helped students understand spot exactly what it is that they bring with them, and why they can how and why they can contribute to the to the legal profession and why they belong in law school. So, this study, this is a study that was conducted by my research institute, I used to work at IAALS. And the big question was, we’ve been hearing for a long time from different judges lawyers, that there was a gap between what new lawyers had when they graduated from law school and what new lawyers needed. And that gap kind of implied that, that that not everything was being taught in the way that it should for new lawyers. And so, we really wanted to look and see well, what is that? What exactly are the things that that graduates need to become successful lawyers right out of law school, and that’s the origin of the study. We thought if we can specifically identify what was in that gap, we could, of course, improve legal education, right, we can inform better ways to teach students and to teach students about the things that are most relevant to being good lawyers. And and we also thought we could improve hiring practices. And that that means that we could help employers in the legal world hire better meaning making hire to the needs that they actually have, more directly.

But we also knew that we could help students get a leg up, if students could understand what was most important to the profession, then they could speak directly to it. And they could communicate that better to the people who are hiring legal professionals. So that’s what motivated the study. And we learned quite a bit, and a lot of it is helpful for today’s discussion.

So, the survey was an is to this at the most comprehensive of its kind, we’re talking about a national survey of lawyers. We had responses from over 24,000 lawyers in all 50 states. And that group of lawyers, those 24,000 lawyers represented just about every practice area, you could imagine, I mean, everything from in house corporate attorneys, to litigation attorneys, to government attorneys, public defenders, and even academics, right. So, this was a wide swath of practice settings, and then also law firm sizes. So those who were in private practice, we had solo practitioners, we had we had people from small, medium sized law firms, regional law firms, and of course, larger national and international firms too. So, we had a lot of information that came back to us. And what did we ask these lawyers, right? We asked them, about 147 different foundations called them foundations. And these were essentially things that were abilities, that we broke into three different types of categories, three different categories, including legal skills. And this is the traditional skills, you would think that a lawyer should have things like drafting pleadings, right, or, you know, drafting a motion, making an argument in court, these these things were the sort of fundamental legal skills, and there was a whole category of those, but we also had two others. And the first was professional competencies. These are abilities that are relevant across professional settings, not just for lawyers or legal professionals, right, but in the professional world writ large. And finally, we had we had a bucket for characteristics, characteristics, meaning personal attributes, things like integrity, and trustworthiness. And we what we asked was, we asked all these lawyers to tell us that which of these 147 foundations were really unnecessary right out of law school, or were unnecessary, maybe further down the line for lawyers to eventually develop to be successful? We also had categories for them to say, well, these things aren’t relevant at all, or, well, they’re not necessary. But but perhaps they’re, they’re advantageous to have right.

So, for all of these foundations, each lawyer would place one into a different priority category, right? So, we focused on Well, what did what did what did law students need right out of law school, it was the first thing that we focused on. And this, this just shows you again, these are the different categories that were available to lawyers when they were when they were prioritizing these foundations relative to one another. Ultimately, what we found was 76 different foundations that were necessary right out of law school. It’s a lot, right. It’s a lot to think about. However, we started to categorize that to make it useful. And we also started to look at trends try to understand and make sense of what the lawyers were telling us. Here are 20 of those specific foundations just so you can get a sense of what was important to lawyers, what did they think was really critical for success? And I’m going to read these because I think some of them might be obvious to you and some of them maybe not so much. But in our list, we have here keep confidentiality, arrive on time, honor commitments, integrity, trustworthiness, courtesy and respect, listening attentively and respectfully, diligence, strong work ethic, attention to detail, intelligence, taking individual responsibility, emotional regulation, and self-control, strong moral compass, communication skills, reading and writing. But also speaking, making decisions and delivering under pressure seeking and being responsive to feedback, exhibiting flexibility and adaptability, exhibiting resilience after a setback, can you get back up and go again, and working cooperatively as part of a team? And one thing you might notice, as I’m reading these off, is that a lot of these are characteristics or professional competencies. And it’s true, actually, there was a focus on these professional competencies that apply across across the professional world, not just to lawyers, and there was also just a great high value placed on these characteristics, these attributes, that lawyers that were critical and we we took that to understand that these really true truly were foundations for practice that these fundamental abilities were what it took for students to then build more specific legal skill sets on top of these were foundations for success later on as a lawyer.

And so, we really paid a lot of attention to this. This demonstrates to you just exactly how what the proportions were, when the lawyers were choosing what was most important to them. And what they what they disproportionately selected over all other categories were characteristics. So, of the characteristics available to them, of the 147 different foundations 70% of the characteristics that were available to them, they placed in that highest priority, necessarily right out of law school, and you’ll see that competencies were in second place, and legal skills at the very at the very last place right there. So, they were they were saying that the legal skills, they exist, they’re important, but these other things they really focused on first. And there’s a reason for that.

So, I just want to return to what I said legal skills are important, right? Do they matter? Yes, you have to have some fundamental legal skills to be a successful lawyer. There were 16, in total of the 76 that were identified right out of law school, and they’re what you would probably expect, critically, evaluating arguments, for instance, is a pretty important one. But they mostly dominated that category of a lawyer must develop those over time, many of the foundations that we’re talking about, were, as I said before, sort of constituted this, these building blocks by which a lawyer could then really, really own in and develop those, those that subject matter expertise, right of the practice, later down the line. So, these abilities are traditionally developed in law school, some of these building blocks, things like attention to detail or writing in a manner that meets legal legal standards, right, of course. But a lot of the things on that list I showed you are things that you’ve probably already started developing and strengthening now. And there are many ways to do that. And we’re going to talk about that down the line here, too. But it was an eye-opening set of data for us to see. Right. And and their implications for you all, when you think about, well, what is it? What is it that you bring with you? What are you bringing forward? And what are you bringing into into law school in the profession.

We said, of course, the student who possesses all 76 of these have the necessary foundations, these foundations necessary right out of law school, we call that the whole lawyer. And so that’s the short term for someone who’s got what it takes. But those conclusions, the data that we found, the 76 foundations, we found, it was a consistent set across demographics in practice areas. So, what do I mean by that? Let me go to the next slide. And I’ll show you, there were 76 foundations overall, identified as necessary, right out of law school, when you break down the responses or respondents according to where they practice, for instance, private practitioners is this in-house lawyers, government, lawyers, and others, what you see is a remarkable amount of overlap, that those groups selected almost all of the same foundations independent of one another, there was overlap in what they prioritized. So, in private practice, for instance, what this graph shows you is that 73 of the 76, overall responses were the same for private practice, they only had three foundations that were different from from the overall results. And similarly, down the line, you had an overlap of 72 for in house counsel, 72, for government, and 75. For for other categories. So not a lot of variation here, when you look at at the foundations that were being prioritized. And this is a similar graph, what it shows you is instead of by practice area, if you just look at private practitioners, and you look to see well, what about people in big law versus solo practitioners? Again, overall results showed us that there were 76 specific foundations that were really important right out of law school. Looking at the overlap here, solo practitioners found that 75 of those same of those same foundations were critical to them. Down the line, I mean, you see, when the when the law firm gets bigger, there’s a little more variation, but 68 out of 76 foundations is still quite a bit of overlap.

So first of all, what is what does all this tell us? It tells us that that kind of consistency means that these are these are foundations that we can rely on, we can rely on the fact that that the profession itself thinks these these are the the attributes, the abilities, the competencies that are really, really important for people to develop into good lawyers, successful lawyers, right. And when I say successful, I don’t necessarily mean you know, financially successful I mean, that, that you’re doing what it takes to be a lawyer that you’re serving people that you’re representing people and you’re facilitating people with their legal problems as best as you possibly can. So, they’re that’s great, that’s helpful. We can rely on that. But how does this matter to students? How can we instill these foundations in students and some guidance that we’ve developed for that, too?

So, we asked lawyers also not just about these foundations, but if they were to hire based on the foundations, they just told us were most important, maybe not necessarily based on the kind of hiring criteria they have now, which tends to focus on things like grade point average or, or other criteria. But if they were just to look for the for the foundations, they identified as critical, what would they look to? What would be the criteria that was most informative to them. And we offer them three sets of criteria practical, academic, and personal experiences. And that came in a variety of different examples that you see here, everything from law school attended or journal experience, to recommendations for practitioners. And we just, we asked them to write these things on a likert scale below from very helpful to very unhelpful, just to see what was more helpful relatively, then among these different criteria. What we learned is that practical experience matters.

I’m going to show you just what what I mean by that in this next slide. So, if if you look to see what fell on the likert scale, in terms of helpfulness, what you’ll find is that legal employment was far more helpful, relatively speaking, than recommendation from a professor. Similarly, recommendations from practitioners weighed pretty heavily illegal externships. One thing I want to point out here, though, is that life experience was also very important to these, to these lawyers to just with regard to whether or not they could identify the foundations that they thought were most important. They would look to life experience, over maybe something like recommendation for a professor as something being more helpful. Now, all these things are helpful. It’s just that relatively speaking, they’re looking at different types of criteria to really get at those foundations. And this has important implications for our discussion today.

What does it mean? I mean, what does it mean to unpack life experiences, and find where those foundations are for you, the individual right now, before you’ve even gotten to law school, right. And I just wanted to show some quick examples. I’m not going to spend too much time with this. But some of the things that these employers these lawyers are looking at are high commitment levels, or overcoming obstacles and adversity. What do we mean by that? Right? Well, it might mean just prior work experience, or working while you’re in school, or even studying abroad, these were things that indicated to two lawyers that you’ve been developing things like resilience, or adaptability, or the ability to take and process feedback. Similarly, high commitment levels might might come through sports, or volunteer work, or just learning a musical instrument, right? These things exhibit diligence, work ethic, resilience. These are other examples. Things like leadership and teamwork can be exhibited through management in job experience, and work experience, community service, team-oriented organizations in school. And these indicate, you know, foundations such as teamwork, those communication skills, things like strong moral compass. This is the kind of work that we want you to do to, we want you to take a look at these foundations to understand better how to unpack your experiences, and really get at what you’ve already developed and what you’re what you’re strengthening along the way. So, what are the strategies that that can guide you? This is usually a talk that I give to law students, because we’re focusing on well, how can they communicate to the lawyers or the legal employers who will be hiring them out of law school, but it’s a strategy, I think that I’d like to share with you too, because it helps us in today’s discussion, based on the writing exercises you just did to really unpack that, and understand what is significant? And what does it mean, not only to you, but how what does it communicate to the people that you’re talking to? What does it communicate to a law school that you’d like to go to? And let’s let’s click through these, please evaluate your own skills and characteristics. And we’re going to walk you through that list. And I have some examples based on the foundations that we’re going to share with you set goals linked to your career plan. Now this is really just understanding, where do you have foundations? Where are you strong? Whether you’ve already been developing these things? And and maybe we’re relatively Are you not as well developed? And how can you find opportunities to strengthen some of those foundations, create and follow a learning plan. This is just the point I made earlier. Once you can identify your relative strengths and weaknesses, then you can more intentionally plan on how to really strengthen yourself and how to really clearly build the abilities it takes to be a good lawyer.

For purposes today. It’s more of that self-assessment and reflecting back and understanding where did you where did you already start developing these things? And and what did that mean? What was the real true meaning of that experience in the language of our foundations for practice, and finally, signal to others that you have those foundations right. And that’s, that’s going to be part of what we work with you today to by understanding really what’s packed into those life experiences and by breaking it out into those foundations, then we can speak directly to well, to what it takes to be a good lawyer and why you have what it takes to be a good lawyer.

Last thing I’d say is you’re not a statistic. We see a lot of statistics. And I’m sure as you apply to law school, or think about going to law school, you’re going to compare yourself to them, but you’re not a statistic. Everybody has their own individual experiences. And that’s why these exercises is so so important. I think what you can see in the life experiences that you’ve already thought about reflected on are that you have been already doing the work, you really truly have, you may not have realized it fully. You may not have realized it at all. But some of what we understand to be the what’s important about being a lawyer or what it takes to to go to law school. It doesn’t address exactly everything that that that the data shows. And I think that’s important.


LIZ: Great, thanks, Zack. So, let’s stick a moment now. Right? So, let’s get turned to that list you created right, those five to seven significant life experiences that you reflected on right as to why you want to go to law school, or pursue a career in the legal profession. Based on what Zack just shared about the foundations, right? The characteristics, the skills, that that’s really important and in the legal profession. narrow down your list narrowed down your list to three items, okay? Or, if now you feel like there are certain experiences that you left out right after hearing Zack that you would like to add in right, or switch in, add them to the list. So, let’s let’s take a few seconds here a few minutes to have you apply what you just learned from Zack.

All right, everyone. So welcome back. As a great refresher on the slide right now we have the 20 important foundations and Zack covered, right. What does it take to be a good lawyer a good advocate. Right. And so, what we’re going to do next is Zack, and then I will, we’ll walk through our list to kind of highlight some of our experiences and how they speak to these foundations. Zack.


ZACK: Here we go. Excellent. Thank you. So, I had a few things in here and maybe a merit a little bit of discussion, I said To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch was was a great motivation. For me when I was when I was younger, I would always tell people that that I just I Atticus Finch, was the first representation of a lawyer or it really made me realize that I can help someone I think somebody in the Q&A might have posted this too, that they could be a voice for people who couldn’t, who couldn’t advocate for themselves, as well or as strongly. And that resonated with me too, and said, this book, this book really captured me. But what does it tell anybody about me other than maybe I have a strong moral compass, maybe right? If I if I had such an attachment to it. Well, Atticus Finch is still a role model for me, and particularly the way Gregory Peck plays him in the movie. But, but this wasn’t a very good example that really revealed much to anyone about me and what it is I had been developing to actually be a successful lawyer. Student Leadership is classic, a lot of people do get involved in, in extracurricular activities, obviously, and you want to think about what what did that do for you, and with student leadership, you know, I identified many more of the foundations here. First, treating others with courtesy and respect, I really did have to be elected for some of these roles. And so, I had to be respectful of the student body and of my peers, listening attentively and respectfully, of course, and it wasn’t just to the students around me, but it was also to, to, to the principal, in high school or to, or to professors in college. I mean, there were so many interactions where that kind of communication was important. Exhibiting tact, exhibiting tact and diplomacy, also part of that, honoring commitments, arriving on time might might be appropriate here too. But, but committing to a certain project or or committing to show up and be a part of, of, of an effort or a collective effort. That was all part of this. And of course, teamwork, good grades. We all think that good grades are important for law school, I think, because grades are an important metric. It’s, it’s still, it’s still out there. It tells me a little bit about myself, I didn’t have an easy time getting good grades, I had to work very hard to do that. So, when I think of good grades, other people may think, Well, that’s an indicator of intelligence. For me, it was always it was a strong work ethic. And in the particular courses that I studied, particularly in college, there was strong writing skills involved with that I did a lot of humanities work. I took individual responsibility to make sure my grades were going to be good. I saw it and was very responsive to feedback whenever I could get it particularly from my teachers and professors and of course, diligence was a big part of that, too. So good grades revealed something about me, but perhaps not what what, what immediately come to mind, to me, it’s not just about it’s not this intelligence thing, there’s so much more to it.

Now, I think this is really interesting. And this is where we kind of turn the tables on what we might expect, and what what might flip past us without us realizing it. I when I was in high school, and when I was in college, my summer jobs, and when I worked in school, I worked in construction and quote unquote, utility work was, which was, you know, I was the guy who was out assisting plumbers and electricians. And that’s because my father was a plumber. And he got me those jobs. That was that was a connection that I had. And I learned a lot about that about myself. And I developed foundations really, through that work that I don’t think I could have developed otherwise not not in the context of my life, arriving on time. Sure, treating others with courtesy and respect, I was usually the youngest guy on the totem pole. So so that that was important to listening attentively, and respectfully, diligence, strong work ethic, work ethic, attention to detail, teamwork, resilience, boy resilience, I did knock down plenty of times and have to get back up. And adaptability being flexible, being asked to do so many different things and learn them on the job. Very important. And there are lessons that I internalized. And I actually think part of why I did well in school was because of the work ethic and the diligence that I developed through this through through through my work my work experience when I was in school, and in high school. And then finally, this is a very personal example. But it’s unique to me. And it means a lot, you know, my parents were… had a divorce… and my mother had custody of my, of my brother and brought him out, and I helped them come back and … and I developed all these things… and doing it and listening to my family and helping them and creating sol… solutions for them. So, so, anyway, that’s what I want to share now. And I’ll pull back out, pass it back to Liz.


LIZ: Great. So, let’s move over to my list. All right. So, I’m similar to Zack right, I have academics completing my senior thesis, right in my junior years, because I was very determined, and very, very passionate about the work I was doing. And so a lot of this similar to Zack, the foundation works that really came to the top for that, that that that particular example, illustrated was strong work, ethics, right outside of just intelligence as knowing how much work it took to write a full research paper, right taking on this individual responsibility of of going above and beyond that diligence, exhibiting resilience after a setback time and time again, coming back editing, changing, interacting with the folks I was doing the research with. And of course, seeking and being responsive to feedback, right, that’s such a big, big characteristic here, as well as communication with writing and speech work primarily with writing extracurricular activities against the much exactly similar foundations from arriving on time to honoring commitments, right, to working cooperatively, cooperatively in a team dynamic. And then I also had down you know, that participated in a sort of pre last summer program and volunteered at you know, local legal services office, kind of thinking through alright, why law, right. And this is tied to oh, this is, this is the space where I was like, yeah, this might be an interesting coordinate, this might be a career path, right. And again, in that particular those experiences, a lot had to do with being attentive, listening, respectfully, responding promptly, communication, right writing and speaking there and treating others with courtesy. So about, you know, seven out of those 20, top foundations really were highlighted, and these three examples, but really similar to Zack, what came to the top right, as we start thinking about how do we narrow down or where do we want to focus in our on our why it’s some of these these are human experiences that really highlight those additional foundations that really sets us apart, you know, good advocates, good lawyers.

And so, with one of them being my experience with community service, specifically, for a number of years in undergrad, I did a help community outreach program with the Latino immigrant, local community. And that was all about arriving on time attention to detail treating them with respect listening, a lot of speaking communication skills, integrity, trustworthiness, right. They trusted me a lot with with some of, you know, their life experiences and health situations, right, honoring commitments. This was a volunteer opportunity. I have to be there. But it was, it was a reflection of my integrity. And the reason why I honored these two meant of giving back to my community. Right? So yeah, I, I’ve listed about eight foundations here out of the 20. And then so much is that, you know, my experiences when it came to family and as you all may or may not remember what I when I introduced with, right, you know, I am dealing with this to foreign, my parents are immigrants. And so, there was a lot of communication skills here primarily writing right attention to details of what they need, and what my siblings need, and everything for emotional regulation, right, all the way down to making some really hard decisions, right, and delivering under pressure. And so, when I think about these five experiences, and Zack and I will dive into, each of us will dive into one of these experiences later on. But when I think about them, these experiences with people, right, actively engaging, and dealing with relationships and real issues. That’s where a lot of the foundations came up and shine that really rose to the top of why law? Why? How can I show that I have what it takes. Alright, so with that, right, as Zack introduced, right, and review those foundations, there are certain things that the legal profession requires, right. So overarching, you know, lawyers have to be strong communicators, they have to be soft starters, they have have to be problem solvers. Right? And now that you’ve heard a little bit about that, can I am in our list, right? You might start thinking, wow, I’m not, I’m not any of those things. When we think about what we stereotypically think of lawyers, right? Maybe I am some of these things. So wherever you are, right, whatever you thinking about as far as the foundations, or how you illustrate that, through your experiences, right? Note that some of these experiences, some of these characteristics, some of these skills will develop over time, right. Um, so seeking out some of those experiences and relationships will be very important moving forward, especially for those of you who are applying the law school and about, you know, two years or a year from now, or you still have time to develop those opportunities, engage in different extracurricular activities engaged with different community service opportunities, and so on. All right, Zack, I’m going to hand this over to you talk about unpacking this whole idea of fit.


ZACK: Right, thank you. Thank you, Liz. And it’s a good, it’s a good hand off. Because while you might be thinking, what else can I do to develop the foundations that are important? It’s also important to understand that you’ve already did to recognize and to identify what you’ve already done, because it goes into this question of fit. And the question, Am I a fit for law school, it really needs to be unpacked. Because it’s oftentimes based on a lot of assumptions, and a lot of myths about what it takes right to be a lawyer. And if you’re, if you’re the right person for it. And the reality is that, that many of you have done so much to to build yourself into that mold, to make law school, a valuable experience for you, but also to contribute, right when you get there. And I mean, the overall message is that the fit is really, it’s really an individual experience, and you get to create and craft it, the more you identify and understand what you have, and what you bring to the table. So, it’s important to do and to not be overwhelmed by the process. And to really, look, look, look at yourself, look at your experiences, and understand truly that there’s value to these things, and that they all come together to construct who you are. And you have more to do, of course. But this highlights and I think helps to understand how can you communicate what it is that you bring with you? Because as Collin said, at the very beginning of this, the law school is, is right for for so many people, just you can’t overlook what you have and what you bring with you. And Liz, would you build on that?


LIZ: Oh, absolutely. Right, because there are the stereotypes of what it takes, right. So, you know, you’ll hear folks say, you know, I’m great at arguing, so I should be a lawyer, right? Or I’m a great public speaker. So, I should be a lawyer. You know, in oftentimes what I wrote this down originally my original original list right before this session, how I had this fear when I was applying to law school, because I wasn’t the captain of the debate team. I didn’t even raise my hand to participate in class, like how do I leave communication skills to show that I have what it takes to be a lawyer, right, how to be a great advocate, or someone who can develop and become that great advocate. Right. So, I think this is a really great spot to kind of illustrate with a really concrete example from our list of a life experience that rose up to the top and for me personally, was woven into my personal statement. So, I think some of you are here for that, especially those of you who are currently applying to law school with the hope of attending in the fall of 2023. So, I didn’t have that stereotypical resume, debate team or anything that illustrated that I was this great arguer or that I had to use, you know, I wasn’t an author of anything big Right? Um, so how could I demonstrate that, that I wanted to be an advocate, right, in addition to be immense amount of community service I did for my community? How else could I illustrate that I had these skill sets. And I sat back and reflected a bit of, you know, what does it mean to have communication skills? What does it mean to speak, or have that speaking communication skill? What ended up happening, at least in my personal statement is I will in how I will have always been this advocate, right. And the story I’ll tell is what I told, which was, I was at the bank. And I was probably six or seven years old. And I remember at you know, at that time, I had my hands on the bank counter. And I was on my tippy toes. So, I was pulling myself all the way up. And I am looking at the bank teller, and speaking to the bank teller in English, I was translating for my mother. And that is where I realized I had been that advocate, I had been that communicator, that is my story. I may not have the stereotypical resume, but let me tell you about your skills I have because of my experiences, right? That is where I illustrated some of these foundational characteristics that Zack went through that attorneys themselves identified. What makes a good lawyer? What makes a good advocate? What makes a good leader? Right, Zack, I’m going to hand it over to you for your story.


ZACK: No, that’s great. I appreciate and I love listening, I love hearing your story. Mine. And mine is, you know, it was personal to and it was it was very family oriented. My family had difficulties. And at the time I was working, it was working in between undergraduate and law school, and I had in mind that I was going to go to law school, but I hadn’t applied yet. And long story short, I just some of my family members had it, they they needed to move back to where I was, they were having problems and family was out of resources. So, I had to I had to help them I had to, I had to pick up the phone and listen, first of all right, and I cared, I had a lot of emotional investment in this. It was most of my my brother and my mom were a little isolated. And, and they needed help. So, I could help them financially. But more important than that, I could help them really just through problem solving, right? We were all lacking the resources that we wanted at the time. So, we had to figure out what made the most sense for them, what can we realistically do? And then what were the steps that we had to take, and I realized that, that I I did an okay job, a halfway decent job at coming up with a plan. But more importantly, coming up with the confidence to step in, and to provide that kind of, I don’t know, leadership within the family in a way that that hadn’t happened before. And to do it in the midst of it a really emotionally challenging time, I think for everybody to bring them back to to give them security, and to kind of keep my eyes on the goal. And and to do all of that, right, even though it didn’t directly involve the law. I mean, I wasn’t advocating for them in court. But the two all that really revealed to me that I could do this for other people that I could use, I mean emotion, of course comes into it. strong moral compass comes into it. So, I motivate I have certain motivations here. But I could still maintain enough focus and control to really look at, look at the problem, understand the solutions, and then listen to people and make sure that we’re doing the right thing for them and what they needed. So, so that was my that was my example. And it wasn’t it didn’t it wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when I thought well, I I’m getting ready to apply for law school, what do I need to tell other people about about what I bring with me, but it was important, it was very important.


LIZ: So, finding that, that why and finding that that particular experience or a series of experience like what for me, you know, I started with, you know, family and that was my wife. That was my motivation, right. And I wove that in to how I transferred some of these communication skills, the fact that I can understand different cultures because of Who I am and my family dynamics, I transferred into, you know, community service, I transferred it into my experience as a thought how law related extracurricular activities, right? You can weave that all in right there. It’s not that all these experiences are not important. But there, there’s always those one or two experiences that really highlight your story of your why and it’s not white, it’s always going to anchor you throughout this journey, right from the moment that you apply all the way through practice. Because it’ll be that thing that anchors you during those hard moments, because it is a very long and hard journey, but it is doable. It’s doable. And having that that why and having those experiences and how those experiences speak to the various skills and characteristics and foundations that you bring that can build up into a great advocate into a great attorney. That’s important to keep in mind, right?

So, I’m going to ask you to return to your list for a little bit here with the concept of fit in mind, right? And so, as you continue to shape this list that you’ve been building with us, right, during this session, right? You want to make sure that when you create them that there are two things you keep in mind, it’s going to keep two things in mind that maybe what you maybe what you made, what made you decide on going to law school or pursue this career and legal profession was not a specific thing. But an experience has spanned several, several smaller experiences. But it’s something that it’s built out over time, right is it isn’t that, you know, you had this one great experience, and that was your aha moment, it just be might be a combination of lived experiences as it was, for me, it wasn’t a big aha moment. But it was one of those when I sat back and reflected on my entire life, and what I have been doing, and I’m not that I wasn’t aware that, hey, I had the skill, the skill set, I am made to become this bridge, right between cultures and communities and anatomy kit, that I realized, you know, what loss for me, and also what I really want to hone in on a very important point here. And this is related to both your personal statement, your diversity statement, whatever you end up doing, right? Be sure that you only share what you are truly comfortable with share. Right? Your experiences are your experiences your story, you get to tell your story, however you feel comfortable expressing right to convey that message to the Law School Admission professionals or to whoever else, right. So, I do want to flag that, that there are certain experiences that might make it to your list that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. You don’t have to.

All right, Zack, we are now going to get to our next activity. So, let’s take our final five minutes here. Okay, and do this last activity to reflect on your answers from the very beginning, from the start of this session, right? You reevaluate and wants to completely reevaluate why law, what motivates you right? What do you bring to the profession that you may have overlooked? In your first original answer, reflect on work, we reflect on life experiences in the various foundations that we now know, right? That you may have been developing, without quite knowing. So, let’s take five minutes from now.


ZACK: Last thing I’d like to say is that these tools, and this this sort of activity, this sort of assessment, are all important. But they’re also offered to you in conjunction with the other tools that you can find on law, for instance, there are a lot of ways that you can continue to shine a light on your learning path on your learning journey, and to understand better the opportunities ahead of you, and the strengths that you bring with you along along that path. And I think with that, we can maybe open it up to to Collin.


COLLIN: That sounds great. Thank you, Zack, I appreciate that you have spent the last hour and goodness 40 minutes talking through all of this with Liz and our attendees today. I hope that those of you who are still with us got a lot out of the workshop here. Because there were a lot of really good questions that Liz and Zack each pose to all of you and asked you to think about really intently. And I think that there’s really a lot of good thinking to be done on these questions. And even after this session has done a lot of reflection as you go through the rest of this, this journey right to applying to law school and ultimately entering the legal profession. So, there are some questions which, which came in and I encourage those of you who are still with us to continue asking those questions so we can pass them along to Liz and to Zack During the last few minutes of the session here, I’m going to start, I think by actually calling out something you said a little while back, which I thought was kind of funny. You mentioned your work on construction sites, and you said that that helps you build foundations. And I feel like that’s a joke, which you should start using from now on. So, take that one for free. But I will ask you, though, on that on the topic of foundations, and I ask that both of you actually respond to this. And how would you say that applicants or potential applicants could use foundations for practice as a source of confidence when they might be feeling a little bit shaken? I’ll start with you, Zack.


ZACK: Yeah, I mean, I think it goes back to understanding what it actually takes not what people fixate on, or what people want you to focus on necessarily, some of it can be noise. And sometimes the noise can convince you that this doesn’t make sense so that you don’t have a role to play here. But the reality is that when you look deeper, and this is what I love about foundations for practice, is that when you actually look deeper, and you look to see what is it that lawyers do, what is it that lawyers need, fundamentally, those things don’t always come from the formula that’s presented to us in terms of success when it comes to academics and law school, and, and I think it’s important to then sort of recenter and anchor yourself back in those experiences and back on the strengths that you’ve developed and understand that may not fit into the formula, it may not directly be the thing that that is shining you and is making you feel uncomfortable, but it can help you to address it. And it can show you that that you do have strengths. And those strengths are directly related to what it takes to move forward. So, so that’s what I would say help, because, you know, help it to be an anchor. Your motivations are real, and your life experiences are significant. In your your path ahead.


LIZ: And what I really liked about the foundations that I didn’t have back in the day when I applied to law school, many moons ago, which is concrete character skills, and factors that attorneys themselves identified as being key, right? Because when I think back to my experience, and I’m going to tell you another story, this is story time. And I was told by someone when I was in that process of exploring my interest in law, and then subsequently applied to law schools, that maybe law wasn’t for me. And the reason, the reason behind that was because I was too quiet. I was too timid. Right? And so, understanding that communication skills beyond speaking, right, there’s also the writing component of it. There are also other ways that communication comes across, that isn’t stereotypically loud, and very extroverted. Right? It’s great to understand and know that, that those skill sets can manifest itself in very various ways. But more than that, and then just how I took it, I didn’t have the foundations back then. I took that as a challenge. I say, alright, you have the stereotype that an attorney has to not be timid, right? What you’re perceiving of me as as quite an Athena is, is he doesn’t have what it takes. I took that as a challenge. When I got into law school, I went on and did moot court, I put myself outside of my comfort zone, to develop those particular skill sets. On top of what I already talked to you all about today, which is I’ve been communicating my whole life between two languages, right. And so, foundations are such a critical tool set for everyone to kind of start thinking outside the box, and concretely anchoring into what does it really take to be a good lawyer from the lawyers themselves?


COLLIN: So, and Liz, what I really liked about that story, and by the way, you can tell as many stories as you want, because they’re always great. So, you called out the fact that, you know, there was this this misconception, right, this the stereotype that you had to be outspoken, you had to be really what they were saying, is that courtroom attorney, right, someone who could get out there and fight and fight and fight, be loud and get their point across. That’s not always the case. Obviously, that’s not the case. And we actually did a webinar a few weeks back, where we did some of this myth busting right, we broke down some of these misconceptions, where we kind of put a an optimist on trial. So, for those of you who might be interested in hearing more stories, like the one that was just told, you can check out that recording, which is available analysis, whatever, because really, there’s a lot of these misconceptions out there about what a lawyer needs to be. And I think that’s what we talked about a lot today too, and what foundations brings to light as well. Which brings me to my next question, which was, if you don’t mind, I’ll start with you just because you were talking about how foundations weren’t around when you applied to law school. And this isn’t it was new to you. When you first saw foundations, what would you say was the most surprising foundation that was recognized as being important to potential employers.


LIZ: So, I got a glimpse of this while I’m on school, but it was great. It was reaffirming when I saw it in in the foundations, but stay emotional regulation. Right? That emotional intelligence that we often overlook, because when we think about even like the law school admission process, it’s all about, you know, performance and showing your best self. But, in fact, when we when we do the practice a lower quite frankly, anything, right? We do have to be emotionally intelligent. Right? We are engaging with folks in some, in some cases, depending on your practice setting, right? You’re engaging with folks is probably some of the worst times in their lives. Right? So how can you execute what you’ve learned how to apply the law, all of that means nothing unless you are emotionally regulated, you know, how to interact and engage with your client, right? And oftentimes, those particular skill sets we learn, while we’re growing up as we engage with various relationships we’re in, but being way more intentional about it, right? Because it makes you a way more way more effective advocate down the road, when you are very self-aware about your emotions and are intelligent in perceive what’s going on when it comes to help people are feeling doing and thinking in any moment. Right. Zack?


ZACK: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I agree with everything you just said. But I think the most surprising thing that I saw, when I when we saw the the results of the foundation study was arrive on time. And evidently, a lot of people are not arriving on time. That’s something you can learn just with having responsibility. But I think what’s more interesting to me is there are when you look at all the foundations, and I hope that everybody gets a chance to do that, we posted the resources, but there, you’ll see so many of them, that factor into this, this, they create kind of a web or a network of these interpersonal skills, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get up there and be an amazing public speaker. But the skills of of empathy, for instance, demonstrating empathy, are so critical, and the lawyers know. And it’s a challenge for a lot of lawyers, it’s challenged for a lot of lawyers in practice, who weren’t taught, and who didn’t focus on developing that skill just sort of assumed that by working with people, in an advocate kind of a position, that that may not be important that you didn’t have to have the empathy so much as the logical, you know, understanding of the problem and the ability to go advocate, but it’s critical. And and it builds a little bit on what you just said, Liz, I think, I think it’s one of those examples of of something that that many of you listening now have are probably they already started building, I saw some of the comments in here. And it’s these overlooked experiences, because they’re not highlighted in the traditional success metrics that we see in law school or for lawyers, when I did this work, and we would do workshops, with lawyers, after the survey, with lawyers all over the country, because we wanted to figure out how to make this information more useful. One of the thing that we we heard from lawyers, constantly throughout these workshops that they wanted to, they wanted to hire students who had customer service experience, and that could have been, you know, sort of, to audit on a telephone trying to make sales or dealing with complaints, or even just a night manager at Denny’s because, and that’s literally an example that they gave to us, because what it demonstrated is that somebody knew how to deal with people, and how to exhibit patience, and how to deal sometimes with the difficulty of handling other emotional responses. And I always say that, that that has always been fascinating to me, because I think it’s been underrepresented or under emphasized when it comes to the formal, you know, legal education or applying to law school. So anyway, that’s, that’s one thing I pull out of it.


LIZ: And that’s, that’s really great, because we just got a question about, you know, do we really need to, you know, have an internship at a law firm or somehow in the legal field, right to apply to law school to really have that bet, to convey that message. And just to build off of what Zack just said, No, right. There are there are all these experiences outside of the traditional internship, you know, being at a law firm or you know, at a courthouse or somewhere in the legal field, that really translates nicely into the profession, right, where you are cultivating those particular skill sets, and in some cases, you know, if you’re, you know, night shift at a Denny’s and you’re dealing with a whole bunch of college students who are drunk, right? The skill, the communication skill set right with it interacting with them is very different and probably more nuanced, right? That really highlights that you can really work under pressure than if you were sitting at a desk doing a small project as a, you know, internship at it, I’m assuming at at the undergraduate level, right? I’m doing a summer internship at a law firm that isn’t going to give you a massive project and you won’t be facing face to face with clients and engaging in that way to really fine tune that particular skill set. Right.


ZACK: Yeah. And I just want to quickly add to that, too, because, you know, it’s not a bad thing, if you get an internship at a law firm either, if you have the opportunity. I know, I know. That’s not what you’re saying. But I mean, if you have that opportunity, sure, right, that can be useful. But I think what foundations also helps you to do is to understand how much more you could make of that opportunity. So I’ll give you an example I at the end of of my undergraduate career, I was a law clerk and a personal injury for the summer before I graduated up to that I’ve done a lot of construction work and different things like that. So I had the opportunity, and they had me doing research. So when they had me looking up cases and then providing them cases, I didn’t think that I could do more with that opportunity. To me, it was sort of enough that I could say, well, I worked at a law firm. But in reality, I wish I had some of these foundations to look to, to see if I could create opportunities for myself in that in that atmosphere, maybe, maybe I could have, for instance, just interviewed some of the clients on intake, at the very least just to hear those stories and to and to sort of spot useful or important information and make those distinctions. That would have been something that an intern should do in some situations, or a law clerk, maybe not an intern. But it would be more than just the road research that I did do for them, I could have developed more and taking more advantage of that opportunity to and so so I think these foundations are useful in a lot of different ways. They help you to spot the opportunities that you might otherwise overlook. And for the opportunities that are maybe more evident to you, or more sort of in the realm of the traditional factors that that we’re taught to look to, I think it helps you to to take the most advantage of those as much advantage as you can and create more opportunities for yourself to develop.


LIZ: So, what I’m hearing are two things right, so I’m thinking about our audience. So, we have a good number of our attendees who are applying to law school right now. So, foundation is great to kind of anchor down and analyze your experiences right now and what you bring to the table based on foundations. But for those of you who have a little bit of time, right? Who can you know, who might land that that law, internship, right? foundations can help inform how to take advantage as act as explaining to that opportunity and really maximize their time there to really build and grow. Right, that will set you apart when you do apply to law school.


ZACK: Yeah, and the last thing I just saw someone asks, is there any advice for an adult professional who’s pivoting to go to law school now, and that is partly, I think I have some some perspective on that I worked for for a little while, not not too long. But I do think one thing that allows that really an opportunity for someone in your position, who’s had some work experience, and particularly if it’s a lot of work experience, then then you I would really recommend take a look at those professional competencies at isles, we broke it out. So, you can see all of the professional competencies versus the characteristics that were really important. And I think what you’ll find is, you’ll find it, you’ll find that your life experience is rife with examples. And you can kind of go down the list and find out how to weave that all into into the story that, that for instance, one of the things you learn with work experience, the more you have, I think the better you get at it, it’s just time management, even just sort of management and organizational skills, which by the way, are reflected in the foundations at different levels. Right. So so there’s something for everyone, I think. And that’s it partly because law is complex. And law is about people and laws about systems. And there’s a lot that goes into it. And that’s also why back to you know, I want you all to feel anchored in yourselves. Because what law actually does, it’s not communicated this way very effectively from our schools or from our judges or from our system or from TV. But what law actually does because it is an industry that exists to serve people, it allows you the individual to create your own path towards that success. Each of you brings those experiences and what foundation shows you is, as I said before, concretely, what can you pluck out of those life experiences to sort of weave a tapestry of here’s my story. Here’s why I belong in this profession, and here’s how I can offer what I bring to others.


COLLIN: Before we transition to our next question, I do want to call out because both of you mentioned a lot of the really good Would the meat of foundations and for those of you who are with us, if you do want to investigate foundations for practice more, we did share that link in the chat, make sure you check that out. In addition, there were two other resources in there. Both of those are from our admission on mass program we ran this summer. So, if you didn’t attend that, and you don’t have access to it, you can certainly access it with the link that is in the chat. Now. You can go through your LawHub account, register for Admission Unmasked and get access to the content on demand. And I flag that not to be self-promoting, but rather to flag the fact that we talked about foundations for practice quite a bit there. I think Zack actually did a lot of the talking. During that section of the program, there is a primer that you can take a look at, which kind of distills a lot of this information. And then on the topic of storytelling, we have a pretty detailed section and admission on master on personal statements. And I think that we can see a pretty clear line between the conversation we’re having today. And personal statements. I know it was called out explicitly several times. And I think that it’d be worth investigating that for those of you who have time. Now, I do want to ask it looks like we have time for about one more question before I give you the opportunity for your closing remarks here. This is kind of a dual part question. So someone asked about what you both answered. And I think that you answered it in writing in a little bit in speaking. But you know, what, if you don’t feel like you have a good story, like the story that each of you shared today, or stories each of you share today. So, two parts here. So how do you go about writing a personal statement, if you don’t believe you’ve got a good story to tell? And how do you go about writing a personal statement, if you feel like you have too many stories to tell? I’ll start with whoever is willing to take that one on.


ZACK: I’ll start with the if you don’t feel you’ve got a story to tell, I think the exercise that we just asked you to go through is as a way to get there. So, you know, and I said this, I answered this in the Q&A and writing was and I both did. But you know, we have we found stories that are heartfelt for us. And because they are authentically we felt those stories and through that emotional experience really developed something important both of us did. But it doesn’t take a heartfelt story to make to signal to others in a compelling way. It goes back to that that self-assessment, there’s a reason why you started thinking about law school in the first place. If you bring yourself back to that time when maybe when it was something that really, really started attracting to you or certainly started to kind of grab hold to just spend some time there. And then bring yourself forward from that moment on, and you’re going to find examples that you can then just do the work a little bit right start to unpack it, start to understand that even the most seemingly mundane experience is rich with meaning, if you give it a chance, don’t overlook where you’ve been, and how you got there. Right. So that’s, that’s my advice on if you feel like you don’t have a story to tell, I just recommend you stop. And you do some of that self assessment and you know, in there are things like foundations that I think can at least help you have a guidepost or a signal to say, Okay, well, these are the things I can look for when I start to do that assessment. You know, similarly, if you have too many stories to tell, I, you know, I think you can well, you know, one thing we did today actually is kind of funny, we started tallying, right all the different foundations that were in our, in our certain experiences that we’ve picked out. I suppose that’s one way you could do it, right. But I think the more you start to assess the foundations that you’ve developed, and if you have these multiple stories, I think, again, sit with that, and try and understand which of these is most reflective of the motivation you have. I mean, the strength of your resolve the strength of your desire, your interest. Some people in the Q&A wrote about passion, right? Turns out passion is one of the 76 foundations, I didn’t we didn’t have it up there. But being passionate about your work is important. So I think I think at that point, it’s it’s again, the more guidance I think you have the tools to make it more concrete the better off you are in terms of being situated for assessing well I have all these different stories but which really is the story that I think I should tell and I think this process of of going through the assessment and really kind of reflecting and comparing can help you to get there.


LIZ: I echo everything Zack just said right? He took my answer y’all bye but along those lines, right. And I kept saying this right you know, What’s your why you really do have to find that motivating factor. Right and that will be your theme that you leave throughout. And then that will help you narrow down what stories to tell. But when you do this, right, when you tell your story via a personal statement statement or a diversity statement or whatever, right? Be sure to use your network, you know, make sure you get feedback and ask them, hey, is this you know, is this conveying my passion? Or my why, like, are these real stories that, you know, that really illustrate that because you might have a friend that say, you know, remember that one time this thing happened? And you’re like, you know what, that’s a better story, right? So, be sure to reach out to faculty, professors, mentors, friends, right? And find resources, find your network and provide that feedback, right, that they can say, yeah, that’s, that’s you. And I totally see why you want to go to law school now. All right.


COLLIN: Thank you, Liz, for that answer. And Zack, for your answers as well, throughout the course of this long, long session, I appreciate both of your time, you shared a ton of fantastic insight with the people with us today. I really do appreciate both of you your expertise and your time today. Thank you. And thank you, to those of you who are still with us. At the end of this session. At the end of this workshop, there was a lot of great information covered. And I know that Zack and was poured their hearts into this presentation to make sure you guys had a really strong sense of the difference between the myths and realities of what’s required for a practicing lawyer what it means to get your degree. In addition, I hope that you have a better understanding and are able to better explain your strengths and weaknesses, your motivators and your pain points, particularly if you think about them in the context foundations, right, what does all of that tell you? In addition to that, I hope that you have a nice clear plan for maybe how you will approach your personal statement. And if it’s not a clear plan, at least you’re getting along the way for some of you, as we saw about a third of you, we’re still two years out from applying. So, you’ve got a little bit of time there. And if you have any questions about any of the content that was covered today or any of your any questions about the application process, please feel free to email us at lawhubevents@LSAC.org. And we’ll make sure that question gets answered either by Zack or Liz, or by some other internal employees here who can answer those questions for you. I will thank you everyone for joining us today. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I will see you all next month for our next live event. Until then have a great one. Bye now.

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