NAPLA - The Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors

Conference Panels

 The first day of the conference, Monday, June 18, will feature a training session for new Pre-law Advisors. There will be five tracks of panels with four sessions each. For more information, see below.

New Pre-Law Advisor Training

The New Pre-law Advisor Training track will take place on Monday, June 18 from 1:00 until 5:00 pm, and on Tuesday, June 19, from 9:00-11:00 am. This track is directed at attendees who have little experience with prelaw advising and will cover basic information necessary to effectively advise students who are contemplating careers in the law. Among the topics that will be covered are: background information on the LSAT (and now GRE), timeline of the application process, deciding where and when to apply, components of law school applications, letters of recommendation, financial aid, and deciding where to matriculate. The Track Coordinator is Victoria Turco, who can be reached at 

Last year, NAPLA introduced the Prelaw Pedagogy track to assist teachers of prelaw students better understand the skills, knowledge, and practices essential for success in law school and the legal profession. This track aims to bring together undergraduate and law school faculty to discuss issues such as how specific subjects are taught at both levels (e.g. constitutional law, legal process/civil procedure), what assignments can best promote skill development, and what specific skills are most helpful in mastering law school and becoming a good lawyer. The Track Coordinator is Prof. Tom Rozinski, who can be reached at

NAPLA is also continuing its Prelaw Programming Track. The mission of this track is to promote diverse and creative programming that provides students with a holistic understanding of legal education and the legal profession, as well as opportunities for self-reflection and personal development. Among the topics that will be considered for panels are how to encourage law schools to visit, running a law fair, facilitating LSAT study with outside providers, creating a prelaw club or fraternity, and running other events for prelaw students. The Track Coordinator is Greg Shaffer, who can be reached at

A third continuing track is Career Planning. The goal of this track is to make pre-law advisors aware of the skills and preparation necessary for a legal career to (1) advise students as they determine whether a legal career is an appropriate choice and (2) help guide advisees to take control of their career development. The content of the track will focus on the ARC of career planning—Assessment of skills, Reality of practice, Career exploration. The Track Coordinator is Rita Callahan Ralston, who can be reached at

Finally, NAPLA is also continuing a track on the Nuts and Bolts of Prelaw Advising. This is an advanced version that builds on the information presented in the new Prelaw Advisor Training. This year’s theme is “What you don’t know you didn’t know.” The track is open to all aspects of the prelaw advising process that are not covered by the other tracks. The Track Coordinator is Lauren Dropkin, who can be reached at

NAPLA Panels 2018

Updated 6/12/2018

WEDNESDAY JUNE 20 10:30-12:00, Yale Law School
Career Planning I: Is Law School Right for You? (Room 128)
Panelists from law school admissions, law school career services, and undergraduate career planning will focus on the skills and experiences that are helpful for success in law school, the skills needed to meet employers’ expectations, and the tips and techniques used in career advising to help students explore their interests, reflect on their experiences, and consider their decision, whether or not that decision is to pursue law school. This session is designed to be particularly helpful to advisors who are not situated in a career center as well as those who are seeking to enhance their advising practices when working with students who decide that law is not the path for them.
Kali Odell, Assistant Director for Career Advising, Amherst College
Meredith O’Keefe, Director of Career Planning Center, University of Connecticut School of Law
Gregory Shaffer, Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising, University of Maryland
Katherine Sims, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Baylor Law School
Moderator: Michelle Shaw, Associate Director/Pre-law Advisor, William College Career Center

Hot Topics I:
The Future of Law (Room 110)
Undergraduate students with backgrounds in data analytics, robotics, computer programming, medicine, the sciences, and engineering (to name a few) should be mentored to consider legal education. The legal industry is evolving and now needs knowledge and experiences beyond the stereotypical humanities and social sciences major. A panel of law professors will discuss these skills, how they are increasingly being utilized in legal practice, the growing array of opportunities in law for students with such skill sets, and ways in which we can work together to encourage students from diverse academic backgrounds to consider legal education.
Tim Glynn, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law
Brian Sheppard, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law
Najarian Peters, Assistant Professor, Seton Hall Law School
Moderator: Gisele Joachim, Dean of Enrollment Management, Seton Hall University School of Law

Nuts and Bolts I: How to Effectively Address Blemishes and Navigate the Waitlist (Room 129)
Law School Admissions professionals will discuss the use of addenda to disclose and effectively explain less than favorable information relating to a criminal past, academic integrity issue, or academic performance.  The panel will also provide guidance in the advising for the waitlist.  Recognizing that every law school is different, the presentation will focus on best practices about being on the waitlist, and offer recommendations for students who are in those situations.
Jessica Fonseca-Nader, Assistant Dean for Enrollment and Scholarships, St. Thomas University School of Law
Michelle Heck, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Missouri Law School
Matthew Kerns, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Scholarships, and Enrollment Data, University of Arkansas School of Law
Denée Page, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management, Syracuse University College of Law
Moderator: No moderator

Pre-law Pedagogy I: Constitutional Law: Appetizer, Main Dish, or Both? (Room 127)
Prelaw students often wonder if they should take courses in constitutional law since they will have to study the same subject in law school. This panel explores the similarities and differences between teaching con law at two different levels, what knowledge about con law is most helpful to an aspiring law student, and the extent to which political science scholarship on con law is helpful to law school study.
Akhil Amar, Professor, Yale Law School
Kyle Kopko, Assistant Dean, Elizabethtown University
Linda Meyer, Professor, Quinnipiac School of Law
Rodney Smolla, Dean, Widener University School of Law
Moderator: Tom Rozinski, Associate Professor, Touro College and University System

Pre-law Programming I: Personal Finance (Room 120)

What do your students know about personal finance? How much do they understand about concepts like budgeting, saving, investing, credit, and debt? How do knowledge gaps impact their confidence about borrowing for law school, and their anxiety and stress in everyday life? What are law schools doing about it – and what still needs to be done? This session will share surprising research spanning more than 40 law schools and almost 5,000 law students. You’ll hear about approaches that have worked – and those that haven’t – to help students think about money. You’ll learn about some best-in-class tools and resources. And, you’ll get to strategize and brainstorm some ways you might help students get smarter BEFORE they sign the loan documents.
Sherry Mason, Director of Pre-Law Services, AccessLex
Moderator: Michael Vitlip, Director of Legal and STEM Professions Advising, Franklin & Marshall College

WEDNESDAY JUNE 20 3:30-5:00, University of Connecticut School of Law
Career Planning II: Advising First Generation Professionals (Thomas Meskill Law Library, Room 202)
As more first generation college students are applying to law school, many law schools are developing or expanding their First Gen Professionals programs and support systems. Pre-law advisors may benefit from learning about these programs and considering ways to develop opportunities on their own campuses for their pre-law students. The session will examine successful networking programs, support programs, and ways to engineer mentoring relationships through strategic programming. Advisors will leave this session with ideas they might put into action on their own campuses as well as thoughts on ways to partner or collaborate with law schools.
Yannick Brookes, Director of Student Services and Advising, Cardozo School of Law
Heather Frederick, Associate Professor of Political Science and Prelaw Program Coordinator, Slippery Rock University
Rita Ralston, Pre-Law Academic Advisor, Boston University
Moderator: Rita Ralston, Pre-Law Academic Advisor, Boston University

Hot Topics II: Advising Students about the GRE (Cheryl A. Chase Hall, Room 210)
Hear from both prelaw advisors and law school admissions officials on how to advise students who have taken or are considering taking the Graduate Record Exam instead of the LSAT. Panelists will review a GRE score report and discuss how compare applicants with a GRE score with those who have an LSAT score.
Ian Drake, Associate Professor, Montclair State University
Alicia Meehan, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Recruitment, St. John’s University Law School
Madhavi Menon, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Georgetown University Law Center
Moderator: Ed Egan, Director of Pre-Law Program, Mount St. Mary's University

Nuts and Bolts II: Tale of Two Facilitators: A Collaborative Approach to Law School Admissions (William F. Starr Hall, Room 108)
A discussion of the benefits of close relationships between undergraduate pre-law advising and law school admissions offices, and ways to go about effectuating such relationships.
Michelle Shaw, Associate Director, Williams College
Alexandria Peachey, Assistant Director of Admissions and Communications, Temple University Beasley School of Law
Michelle Yingling, Pre-Law Advisor, University of Pittsburgh
Moderator: Peggy Garte, Esq., JD Admissions, St. John’s University Law School

Pre-law Pedagogy II: Learning about Contracts in College and Law School (Knight Hall, Room 135)
How does the teaching of contracts differ in college and law school? The panel will discuss how goals, teaching methods, assignments, and assessment differs between college and law school, as well as the extent to which taking a class in business law helps students in first-year contracts.
Jack Graves, Professor, Touro Law Center
Joe Kenny, Professor, St. John’s University
Suzanne Palmer, Professor, Albright College
Jane Wynn, Professor, University of Washington Law School
Moderator: Tom Rozinski, Associate Professor, Touro College and University System

Pre-law Programming II: Approaches to LSAT Testing from Test Prep Professionals (Cheryl A. Chase Hall, Room 110)
We have heard about the LSAT from all different angles, but this is a chance to learn from the experts. Test prep professionals will address the exam from their own, unique perspectives, on topics as wide ranging as: recent ABA decisions and their impact on the LSAT, the emergence of free, online test prep through LSAC, the rise of the GRE in law school admissions, and more. This session will provide valuable insight into the world of LSAT prep and attendees will leave with up-to-date information that will allow you to better advise your students in this quickly changing landscape.
Jeremy Wright, LSAT Instructor, PowerScore Test Preparation
Chad Chasteen, LSAT Content Director, The Princeton Review
Jay Thomas, Executive Director, Pre-Law & Pre-Graduate Programs, Kaplan Test Prep
Claire McCall, Director of Marketing, Blueprint Test Prep
Moderator: Gregory Shaffer, Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising, University of Maryland

THURSDAY JUNE 21 9:00-10:30, Quinnipiac School of Law
Career Planning III: Preparing Students for 21st Century Legal Careers (Law Library 221)
While many of your students will graduate from law school and take "traditional" legal jobs, the face of the legal hiring market is changing rapidly, and an increasing number of graduates enter legal careers not even imagined a generation ago. This session will present a data informed picture of the present status of entry level hiring, discuss careers on the rise as current students enter the workforce, and offer best practices and resources you can use with your students to remain informed about the legal job market.
Jeff Becherer, Associate Dean of Admissions & Professional Development, New York Law School
Karen Reagan Britton, Assistant Dean for Admissions, University of South Carolina School of Law
Moderator: TBD

Hot Topics III:
Changing Markets, Changing Opportunities (Room 312)
Has the increased applicant volume altered the relationships and shifted the priorities of the law school admission office? A panel of experienced admission officers reviews the shifting market and answers inquiries as to changes in admission standards, scholarship offers, scholarship reconsideration, timing of applications, wait-list opportunities, and the transfer market.
Joseph G. Kenny, Prelaw Advisor, St. John's University
Michael J. States, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, The Moritz College of Law Ohio State University
Yvonne Cherena-Pacheco, Associate Director of Admission, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Dorothy P. Moran, Associate Director of Admissions, St. John’s University
Moderator: Joseph G. Kenny, Prelaw Advisor, St. John's University

Nuts and Bolts III:
Evidence-based Advising: Using Data to Counsel Students (Room 354)
In this panel discussion, join a pre-law advisor, a law school admissions professional, and a representative from a non-profit that conducts large scale research on the legal profession.  We’ll talk about the data that advisors and schools find useful, the missing information we wish we had, and the institutional challenges and opportunities that come with collecting data.  By comparing notes and sharing best practices, we’ll all have the chance to better evaluate the assumptions underlying our work.
Sherry Mason, Director, Pre-Law Services, Access Lex
Gregory Shaffer, Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising, University of Maryland
Alissa Leonard, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Boston University Law School
Moderator: Prof. Mark Miller,  Director, Law & Society Program, Clark University

Pre-law Pedagogy III: Legal Writing in the First Year: Contrasting Perspectives (Room 314)
Times have changed from when the only legal writing that first year law students did was in a stand-alone course. This course presents a variety of different models of integrating legal writing into the first-year curriculum.
Margaret Hahn-Dupont, Professor, Northeastern School of Law
Jennifer Herbst, Professor, Quinnipiac School of Law
Florence Kerner, Professor, City University of New York Law School
Jessica Rubin, Professor, University of Connecticut School of Law
Moderator: Tom Rozinski, Associate Professor, Touro College and University System
Pre-law Programming III: Maintaining and Promoting a Welcoming and Supportive Environment for Members of the LGBTQ Community (Room 350)
This session, will examine the ways advisors can help provide a supportive environment for LGBT students who are interested in law school. Specifically, the panelists will discuss non-discrimination policies, strategic recruiting events targeting members of the LGBT community; appropriate counseling, mentoring and support services, and much more. Attendees will receive tips and strategies that will allow them to better support and advise your LGBT students and alumni.
Jay Austin, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Financial Services, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Jose Bahamonde-Gonzalez, Associate Dean for Professional Education, University of Maryland Carey School of Law
Bekah Saidman-Krauss, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, Penn State Dickinson Law
Moderator: Michelle Yingling, Pre-Law Advisor, University of Pittsburgh

THURSDAY JUNE 21 10:45-12:15, Quinnipiac School of Law

Career Planning IV: Experiential Pre-Law Learning: Thoughts from the Field (Room 350)
Through the voices of experts in the field from a variety of professional settings and perspectives, who have experience working with pre-law and law school students, this session will offer insights into how to identify experiential learning opportunities, how to be chosen for these opportunities, and how to make the best use of them both in the midst of them and moving forward.
Erica Buckley Esq., Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP
Hon. Rita Mella, New York County Surrogate's Court
Professor David Reichard, Chair of the Division of Humanities and Communication and Professor of History & Legal Studies, California State University Monterey Bay
Moderator: Degna Levister, Assistant Dean of Admissions, CUNY School of Law

Hot Topics IV:
Law School Financial Aid Trends: A Changing Picture? (Room 354)
As the applicant pool has declined over the last several years, law schools, broadly speaking, have become more generous in terms of offering merit scholarships and engaging in tuition-discounting. This presentation will look at trends between 2010 and 2016 to highlight what we know about discounting patterns across law schools and whether those patterns have started to change in recent years. One aspect this presentation will highlight is the decreasing number of law schools with conditional scholarship programs, particularly among top-50 law schools. This presentation also will touch upon socioeconomic disparities in merit scholarship programs.
Jerry Organ, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Moderator: No moderator

Nuts and Bolts IV:
What You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know (Room 314)
A review of what the rankings mean and to whom, how to read admission percentiles, and what you should know about the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE).
Jessica F. Kallipolites, Administrative Director, Connecticut Bar Examining Committee
Jay Thomas, Executive Director, Pre-Law & Pre-Graduate Programs, Kaplan Test Prep
Grant Keener, Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives, University of Florida Levin College of Law
Moderator: Lauren Dropkin, Assistant Director of Pre-Law and Graduate School Advising, Brandeis University

Pre-law Pedagogy IV: Studying Law as an Undergraduate (Room 312)
Excellent preparation for law school? Or a reason for law schools to be wary? This panel will hear from three professors who teach in various forms of legal studies programs, as well as from a law school dean.
Ian Drake, Associate Professor, Montclair State University
Michael Simons, Dean, St. John's University School of Law
Kellye Testy, President, Law School Admissions Council
Wendy Vonnegut, Director of Legal Studies, Methodist University
: Tom Rozinski, Associate Professor, Touro College and University System

Pre-law Programming IV: Making Alumni Mentoring Work (Law Library 221)
NYU’s Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program (LAMP) has provided a way for alumni to remain connected and give back to their alma mater, and for current prelaw students to gain a realistic view of the legal profession. LAMP has also provided an avenue for students who are historically underrepresented in law schools to cultivate mentoring relationships with alumni. Two academic advisors from NYU will share advice on how to start a mentorship program.
Jody Dublin, Academic Advisor, New York University
Monica DeJesus, Assistant Director for Pre-professional Advising, New York University
Moderator: Gregory Shaffer, Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising, University of Maryland

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