Why We Have too Few Women Leaders

Why We Have too Few Women Leaders

Champion of Champaign: Benefits of Being a Double Illini

With all the different aspects of applying to law schools choosing where to send your application is probably one of the least stressful, but is a very important decision. There are some very helpful materials put out on law school websites and LSAC, listing law school stats. The information is out there, but before you look you need to know what you are looking for in a law school.

As a junior at the University of Illinois junior, checking the box on my LSAT to apply to U of I was a given. A top 25 law school? And it is close to one of the three largest legal markets (Chicago) without the big-city cost of living?

I know some people have the soybean-field blues after several years in Champaign-Urbana in undergrad. However, I would urge you not to dismiss all the things that go on the “pro” side of your list about being a Double Illini. For example, in typical law school outline fashion:

1. Not having to adjust to a new city = less stress

  • 1L year is stressful enough without having to think about housing, parking, doctors, etc.
  • Undergrad study spots that you used during finals can be your go-to study spot away from the law school
  • Bus system is already mastered – we all know how to get around on the 22

2. Fantastic alumni

  • If you thought U of I Undergraduate Alumni  were eager to help out, wait until you meet College of Law alums. Many of them have offered themselves as a mentor to U of I students. Women’s Law Society (“WLS”), for example, has a mentorship program that pairs female alumni with current law students.
  • Our alumni are spread out. Of course you can find the greatest number of them in Illinois, but our alumni mentoring program can link you with an alum in nearly any state or major city.
  • There are alumni panels practically every month, provided by our diverse collection of student organizations. For example Corporate Business Law Association (CBLA) had an alumni panel to discuss the 4 major Midwestern legal markets (Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Milwaukee) and what it is like to practice in these cities.
  • Illinois also has a Student- Alumni Career Conference, which I definitely recommend attending. The day consists of numerous breakout sessions regarding the career paths an attorney can take. Students can also participate in a mock interview with a current practicing attorney.

3. The sense of Community

  • We all hear horror stories of law school. Ripping pages out of books? Not here. I remember being cold-called on in my 1L contracts class when I was, ahem, a little under-prepared. Before I freaked out, I let my neighbors know this and a neighbor’s case brief popped up in my inbox before the teacher finished his question.
  • Not every law student can say that they play softball with the faculty. If you decide to play (competitively or taking it in stride), over half of the school is involved in softball. It’s always fun to be engaged in some stress relief from studying by participating in softball.
  • Softball isn’t your style? You’ll find the rest of your classmates at Beer League Darts. Or basketball. Or the running club. Because we’re not a commuter school students are constantly looking to participate in activities together. Commuting can prevent friendships from forming – whether over bus rides to school, soft drinks and cookies at Peer’s Pub (every Thursday in the Pavilion), study rooms in the library or any of the various clubs.

4. The Professors

  • Our faculty could teach anywhere in the nation, but they choose the University of Illinois. One of my professors clerked for Justice Powell and another clerked for the current Justice Sotomayor. These professors chose to come to U of I for its accepting atmosphere, brilliant faculty and eager students.
  • One of the major factors in my decision to stay at U of I was my first experience in a law school classroom. One professor allowed me to sit in on his criminal law class when I was trying to decide on which law school to attend. Thankfully he didn’t call on me, but after that he made himself available for any questions I had about the law school. I was amazed that the professor made the time to answer my questions when he did not have to.
  • The faculty is well-rounded. Bankruptcy? Criminal law? International law? Corporate law? We’ve got it all. You can read how impressive they are at the new College of Law website.

I hope this article assists students who are thinking about going to law school at their undergraduate alma mater. I would love for anybody who is thinking about coming to University of Illinois College of Law (regardless of where they are studying or working now) to post a comment and ask questions.

– Kate, 2L

Symposium

What is Symposium?

It is an annual event hosted by WLS that brings speakers to discuss a particular topic.  This year, we are collaborating with a number of student organizations to discuss the theme of EQUALITY. The first day will feature a keynote speaker who will discuss issues of gender equality, and the following day will include speakers on other aspects of equality (e.g., equality in healthcare, religious equality, etc.).

When is Symposium?

February 23-24

Why come to Symposium?

It is a great opportunity to discuss an important topic in the law while also connecting with current students and enjoying good food.

 

We hope that you will join us!

 

RSVP to Women In Law Day

RSVP today to attend Women in Law Day!

The Women’s Law Society at the University of Illinois would like to assist females interested in law school by hosting Women In Law Day on November 6th from 9:30am-2pm at the University of Illinois College of Law. Women In Law Day is an opportunity for females to ask questions about applying to law school, the LSAT, the personal statement  and what it is really like to be a law student. Attendees ask current law students what worked for them in their application and speak with Dean Pless, Assistant Dean of Law School Admissions, to receive practical insight into the admissions process. There will also be an opportunity to ask professors questions about their experience in the legal field and what you can look forward to when you are in law school. This is a great opportunity for students interested in law school to meet UofI law students and receive unique insight into the admissions process that will be invaluable.

Make sure to RSVP today!


Professor Stories on November 15

Interested in learning more about your professors?  

Interested in gaining insight into preparing for finals and managing law school?

Come to Professor Stories for a Q&A with Professor Wexler and Moritz on November 15 at noon in Room B.

Professor Moritz currently teaching Legal Writing, Introduction to Advocacy and Employment Discrimination. Before coming to the College of Law she practiced Labor & Employment at Mayer Brown.

Professor Wexler is one of UofI’s recent hires and focuses on employment discrimination. She recently was at Florida State University where she taught torts, employment discrimination and international law.

Thinking About Graduating Early and Going to Law School?

For those of you thinking about graduating early and going to law school, WLS has some tips for you!

Graduating early and going to law school is possible. Illinois has a variety of students who are coming back after long careers in the workforce and some who have graduated one year, even two years early. People who graduate early are not at a disadvantage in law school as long as they work hard. However, graduating early and attending law school is not for everyone. Some questions you should ask yourself and some insight from students who have gone to law school early.

1. What else do I want to accomplish in undergrad?

If you still have some unfinished business in undergrad such as you want to be the president of your organization then you should think hard about graduating early. This isn’t a rush to the finish line. Law school will be there this year and next year and if there are things you still want to participate in or accomplish then graduating early might not be the right fit.

2. Are you ready to go into the “real world”?

Some people tend to say to themselves – I’ll go to grad school it’s not like I’m going out into the real world. While law school can be extremely fun, especially Barn Dance, it is the first part of your professional career. To be successful in law school, most students treat it like a job and not undergrad. Make sure you are ready for that because for some it can be a large change. Realize that you are also going to be in a different place then your friends who are still in undergrad. Even if you attend the same law school as you did in undergrad you will not be able to hang out with your friends as much as before. Sometimes they don’t understand your busy schedule especially around finals because they don’t have the same time commitments.

Some insight from students who graduated early to attend law school:

-I was worried at first that it would be more difficult for me to succeed in law school because of my age. I did not find that to be true. In some aspects older students who have prior work experience can relate better because of their experiences, however, law school largely depends on your hard work. If you dedicate yourself to your studies and put in 100% effort you can be just as successful as your classmates who are older. Older students might not have to spend as much time to learn the material as younger students, but as long as you put in hard work you will be fine.

Graduating early and going to law school is doable, but you need to step back and evaluate before you make that step. If you are interested in asking more questions about going to law school early and applying, attend Women In Law Day!

Looking for a Mentor?

Are you a current Illinois law student looking for a mentor?

If you want to find out about a city that is new to you, a specific area of law or a mentor you can feel free to reach out to Chris Higgins.  He is the Assistant Dean for Advancement and said that they are more than willing to help students connect with alumni.

Also, if you are a member of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI) you can be set up with a mentor. Go to their website and click the career tab to sign up. Please sign up quickly! They will only be able to provide a certain number of mentors for each law school in the state. If you are not a member of WBAI you can still sign up today through their website!