NAPLA - The Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors

Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday, June 19
1:45-3:00    Concurrent Sessions
A.    Compliance as a Purposeful Path for Law Students
        Boston University School of Law, Room 101
This presentation will address the question, “What exactly IS Compliance?”, as well as survey programs currently offered and emerging at law schools across the country.  Learn how careful planning can properly position students interested in Compliance, and how Compliance can be an ideal role for those interested in Corporate Law, who do not want, or are not qualified for, a big firm career and lifestyle.  Pre-law advisors can play a crucial role in exposing pre-law students to the area of Compliance as a realistic space for a successful law career.
  • Peggy Garte, Esq., Associate Director of Admissions at St. John's University School of Law
  • Gisele Joachim, Dean of Enrollment Management, Seton Hall Law


B.    Advising the Applicant with a Disability
        Boston University School of Law, Room 102
As more people with physical, mental, and learning disabilities seek a career in law, what should a pre-law advisor know about helping applicants with disabilities navigate the application process?  How might a pre-law advisor work with an applicant to assure that their needs are met in law school as well as for the bar exam?  Is law school a good investment for those with disabilities, and what should be taken into account in guiding the applicant through this consideration? This panel discussion will cover these areas and explain how accommodations and services offered by law schools might differ from those offered by undergraduate schools.
  • Dianne McDonald, Pre-Law Advisor; Lecturer, Career Development, College of Management, Bucknell University
  • Katherine Perez, Director, The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation and Visiting Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  • Leanne M. Shank, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary; Senior Vice President for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Law School Admission Council
  • Jennifer Cerny, Executive Director of Student Affairs and Assistant Dean of Students at UConn Law School

C.    Adapting to the Digital LSAT
       Boston University School of Law, Room 103
This summer marks the end of an era for law school admissions. Students registered to take the July 2019 LSAT will either take the traditional pencil-and-paper LSAT or be one of the first to take the new digital LSAT on a tablet. All exams afterward will be fully tablet-based....and that's only the tip of the iceberg. Learn about all the changes coming to the LSAT this summer and how they will affect your students at this session led by an expert LSAT instructor.
  • Kevin Lin, LSAT Test Preparation Instructor, Blueprint Test Preparation

D.    Understanding the Different Ways in Which Prospective Law Students Navigate the Decision of Whether and Where to               Go to Law School: Exploring Before the JD and Other New Research
        Boston University School of Law, Room 212
The Before the JD Research Project from the Association of American Law Schools, was carried out by Gallup, Inc. and made possible by support from the AccessLex Institute, the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education, the American Bar Foundation, the National Association for Law Placement, the Law School Admission Council, and more than 18 leading law firms and corporate legal departments.  It provides unique insights into the decision-making processes of prospective law students with emphasis on motivations, sources of information on which prospective students rely in making decisions, as well as the factors that carry the most weight in making decisions about whether and where to attend law school.  A slightly different research project conducted by CJ Ryan, looks at the extent to which students at four different “types” of law schools approach decision-making regarding law school from different perspectives.  This presentation will combine these perspectives and offer pre-law advisors new insights on the extent to which differently situated pre-law students approach the decision-making process regarding law school differently.
  • Jerome M. Organ, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
  • C.J . Ryan, Associate Professor of Law, Roger Williams School of Law, Affiliated Scholar—American Bar Foundation

Thursday, June 20

9:30-10:45    Concurrent Sessions
A.    GRE® 101
       Boston College Law School, Room
This panel discussion will advance the understanding of the GRE® General Test and how GRE scores are used for law school admissions to foster diverse backgrounds to improve the legal profession. The discussion will review what the test measures, resources available to advise students and the tools available for potential candidates to prepare for the GRE General Test.  Attendees will hear from admission officers who have been using the GRE scores for admissions and learn:
                          -Why law schools are accepting the GRE General Test as an alternative to the LSAT
                          -How the GRE General Test provides law students with flexibility
                          -What critical skills the GRE General test measures that are important for law programs
                          -What resources are available to advisors and test takers
  • Julie Shurts, Associate Director, Global Client Relations at Educational Testing Service-GRE
  • Eulas Boyd, Dean of Admissions, Brooklyn Law School
  • Alex Feinson, Assistant Director of Admissions, Harvard Law School
  • Alissa Leonard, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, Boston University School of Law

B.    Not in it for the Money: Public Interest, Debt, and Loan Repayment
       Boston College Law School, Room
Although many prospective applicants say they are interested in public service work, are they fully informed and prepared for these careers?  What do public interest lawyers really earn, and can graduates really service law school loans on those salaries?  Who has the temperament for long-term public interest work – and who is at risk of burning out?  What should applicants know about LRAPs, income-driven loan repayment, and public service loan forgiveness before they choose a law school?  What keeps financial aid officers and law school public interest professionals up at night, and what do they wish students would do differently to increase their chances of a fulfilling and financially secure future?
  • Sherry Mason, Director Pre-Law Services, AccessLex Institute
  • Dr. Angela Joseph, Director, Financial Aid, CUNY School of Law
  • Laurie Barron, Director, Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education, Roger Williams School of Law
  • Shelly Barron, Clinical Instructor & Supervising Attorney, Tenant Advocacy Project, Harvard Law School


C.    Beyond the Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Statements:  Partnering with the Experts to Help Students Create Strong                 Personal Statements
       Boston College Law School, Room
As pre-law advisers, we know that personal statements are an important part of the law school application process and we can easily rattle off the list of Do’s (i.e. “Do follow the instructions”) and Don’ts (i.e. “Don’t summarize your resume”).  Partnering with the experts at law schools and with the English Departments/writing experts at our institutions can help us create tools beyond these Do’s and Don’ts to help students generate strong topics and write more effective personal statements.  In this session, we will share the strategies and resources that we have developed through these partnerships and discuss how pre-law advisers can use them in their personal statement workshops and personal statement reviews.
  • Katherine E. Garren, J.D, Senior Undergraduate Studies Adviser, Penn State University, University Park
  • Amanda DiPolvere, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, Penn State Law


D.    Co-curricular Prelaw Preparation: Debate, Moot Court, and Mock Trial Teams
        Boston College Law School, Room
Advising prelaw students on how to get into law school is great, but that in conjunction with preparing them to succeed once they get to law school is even better!  Co-curricular activities such as debate teams, mock trial team, and moot court teams can provide students with research, critical thinking, argumentation, speaking, and presentation skills needed to succeed in law school.  This panel will focus on discussing the benefits of these co-curricular activities as well as advice on how to encourage your school to support these activities and how to recruit students to participate.  
  • Dr. Heather Frederick, Associate Professor of Political Science, Prelaw Program Coordinator, Slippery Rock University
  • John Katsulas, Director of Debate, Boston College
  • Michael Vitlip, Director of Legal and STEM Professions Advising, Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development, Franklin & Marshall College
  • Dr. Paul Weizer, Professor of Political Science, Fitchburg State University

4:15-5:30    Concurrent Sessions
A.    Looking Beyond Application Mainstays: Understanding the Résumé and “Off-book” Application Pieces
        Northeastern University School of Law, Room
Every school has a published list of application requirements and frequently provides detailed information about those requirements. However, schools also have optional or even unspoken “application pieces” that might have an impact on an applicant’s success. These pieces include additional addenda, resumes, impressions from campus visits, impressions from meetings with alumni, and interviews. A pre-law advisor and law school admissions deans will explain  ways which these pieces are used and how applicants can best utilize these optional “admissions pieces.”
  • Jenny Branson, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Baylor Law
  • Erin Van Dorn, Director of Admissions, USC Gould School of Law
  • Michael Vitlip, Director of Legal and STEM Professions Advising, Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development, Franklin & Marshall College

B.    Supporting the Mental Health of Pre-Law Advisees
       Northeastern University School of Law, Room
We know that our pre-law students experience high levels of stress as they prepare for law school and go through the application process. Once they become law students, the situation will be exacerbated, as rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use explode in law school and persist in the profession. How can pre-law advisors, who are not mental health professionals, support our students and alumni in addressing the stressors associated with law school and the legal profession in healthy and productive ways? What resources can we guide them to, and what kinds of advising would help them identify and address vulnerabilities before they embark on the road to this profession?
  • Diane Curtis, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science
  • Dr. Kathryne Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Assistant Professor, Sociology
  • Dr. Katherine Bender, Programming Director, Dave Nee Foundation

C.    Service Learning in Pre-Law Programming
       Northeastern University School of Law, Room
Pre-law service learning is a powerful tool to help students gain professional experience and skills by working with attorneys, promote social justice in the community, and develop as civically engaged citizens. This presentation will provide an overview of service learning, which is distinct from other types of experiential education such as volunteerism, field education, internships, or community service. Participants will learn best practices in identifying reciprocal community partnerships, designing and implementing service learning experiences, guiding student reflection, and assessing projects. We will provide ideas for implementing service learning in pre-law programming, and discuss a recent project at Kansas State in which pre-law students assisted Kansas Legal Services and our local bar association to host a successful one-day community-wide expungement clinic.
  • Dr. Chance Lee, Assistant Professor, Staley School of Leadership Studies, Kansas State University
  • Tracey Lee, Coordinator of the Pre-Law Office, Kansas State University


D.    Law Degree Versatility: Careers Beyond the Courtroom & Boardroom
       Northeastern University School of Law, Room
The face of the legal hiring market is changing rapidly, and an ever-increasing number of law school graduates are entering into legal careers not even fathomed a generation ago.  Given this, you may be asking:  What does that legal landscape look like now?  What are the jobs of the future?  How do I advise my students on how to prepare themselves for being a lawyer in these new practice areas? This program will present a data and anecdotal driven picture of the present status of legal hiring; discuss the legal careers that are on the rise and that will continue to grow as our millennial students enter the workforce; and then offer some best practices and identify some resources that can help your students remain knowledgeable about all aspects of the legal employment market.
  • Jeff Becherer, Associate Dean for Admissions and Professional Development, New York Law School
  • Karen Reagan Britton, Ed.D., Assistant Dean of Admissions, University of South Carolina School of Law


Friday, June 21

9:00-10:15    Concurrent Sessions
A.    Utilizing Engaged Learning to Develop and Enhance Pre-Law Curriculum: Best Practices in Building Experiential                  Learning Opportunities for Students
        Northeastern University School of Law, Room
Experiential learning moves students toward an immersive method of instruction. Students “learn by doing,” applying knowledge to experience to develop skills or new ways of thinking. Students must learn subject matter content, build professional skills through the experience and recognize how and when they can apply this knowledge in a professional setting.
During this session, experienced faculty mentors and advisors will share insights about building experiential learning opportunities for students and the significant educational value these programs provide for a pre-law student.  This session will help faculty and advisors understand best practices when it comes to leading and mentoring students as they participate in real world challenges that enhance learning. We will discuss two popular and successful programs: Furman University’s Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) which formally connects the University, the Greenville Health System, and South Carolina Legal Services in work to improve health outcomes for people throughout the region and St. Thomas Aquinas College’s IACBE Case Study Competition team, where students analyze a business case study (including legal and ethical analysis) and present critical analysis both orally and in written form.
                          -Participants will understand best practices when it comes to leading and mentoring students as they participate in experiential                                 learning opportunities.
                           -Outcomes associated with these programs that contribute to student success will be shared.
                           -Participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues on their campuses with presenters and the group to develop strategies                                  and generate ideas.
  • Maya Russell, Pre-Law Advisor, Furman University
  • Kirby Mitchell, Senior Litigation Attorney at South Carolina Legal Services/MLP MayExperience    Instructor/MLP Attorney and Internship Supervisor
  • Christine Cahill, Pre-Law Advisor and Assistant Dean, St. Thomas Aquinas College

B.    Stats, Reports and Hunches – How Do Trends Impact Admission Decisions?
       Northeastern University School of Law, Room
Pre-law advisors and admission officers have access to abundant amounts of quantitative and qualitative information in the form of statistics, graphs, detailed reports and summary reports.  This information can be further analyzed for us to recognize, justify, declare and predict trends.  Do trends shape the strategy of the law school admission office? Do trends impact admission and scholarship decisions?  Do pre-law advisors use trends to advise advisees? Are new variables introduced into the process which affect trends?  Join a panel of experienced law school admission officers and pre-law advisors as we explore the bounds of admission trending and its impact on admission office strategy, application strategy, timing, scholarship offers, scholarship reconsideration and wait-list strategy. 
  • Joseph G. Kenny – Moderator, St. John’s University
  • Dorothy Moran, Associate Director of Admissions, St. John’s University School of Law
  • Michael States, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  • Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco, Associate Director of Admissions, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

C.    Preparing Undergraduates for 1L: Hitting the Target or Missing the Mark?
       Northeastern University School of Law, Room
This panel will focus on how prelaw advisors and professors prepare undergraduates for law school.  This includes implementing a deliberate prelaw curriculum; best practices in teaching legal research and writing to undergraduates; and the results of a survey of law school faculty concerning the skills, knowledge, and preparation law professors believe are important for prelaw students’ overall success in law school.  Ultimately, the goal of this panel is to discuss how advisors, professors, and universities can best prepare undergraduates to succeed once they are in law school.
  • Scott Boddery, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Gettysburg College
  • Brad Deel, Assistant Professor, Political Science Program Director, University of Charleston
  • Heather Frederick, Associate Professor of Political Science, Slippery Rock University




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