Make the Most of a Law Fair or Law Forum

business-people-B&WLaw fairs and forums are great opportunities to talk to admissions deans, directors and recruiters for various law schools. These people are the gatekeepers for their respective law schools so treat them with courtesy and respect.

Follow these step-by-step tips and you’ll learn valuable information about each of your prospective law schools at the fair, while also making a great impression on the admissions reps.

ONE WEEK BEFORE THE EVENT

  1. Check the law fair’s web site to see which schools will be at the fair and make a list of the schools you’re thinking of applying to. I recommend a diverse list of 10 schools: 2 safeties, 5-6 targets and 2-3 dreams.
  2. Get a 8.5”x11” notepad or a spiral notebook. Write the name of one school at the top of each page. Write down 2-3 questions that you want to ask each school. You usually don’t have time for more than a few questions. Leave enough space in-between each question so you have room to jot down answers.
  • DO NOT ask questions that are already answered on the law school’s web site.
  • DO NOT ask what their median LSAT and GPA are, whether they give out application fee waivers, or what kinds of classes they offer. All of these should be posted on the school’s site.
  • DO ask questions that are open-ended.
  • DO ask questions about things you researched on their site but you still aren’t clear about.

Some ideas for questions to ask:

  1. How would you describe the student culture at your school?
  2. What does your school have in place to foster collegiality between students?
  3. How does the dean communicate or meet with students? How often?
  4. What programs or services does your career center have in place to help your graduates gain an edge in the job market?
  5. What program or services does your school have to support students who are (fill-in-the-blank)…?
  6. (If the law school is located in a different city or state than where you live) What do you like most about (city)? What do you like least about (city)?

The following question can be helpful to ask if you are a “splitter”: low GPA/high LSAT or high GPA/low LSAT.

I’m majoring in _________. My GPA is ____ and my LSAT score is ____. I know you can’t tell me if I’ll get in or not but I wanted to get your advice on my situation. What do you think? Any tips?

THE DAY BEFORE THE EVENT

  1. Pick out your favorite business casual outfit and shoes.
  2. Iron your clothes. Polish your shoes. Wear nice but comfortable shoes—avoid brand-new shoes.
  3. Pack a nice-looking tote bag, large purse or messenger bag. You will want an easy-access bag to carry all your brochures and free pens. Pack your bag with your notepad with questions, a bottle of water, breath mints, phone, wallet, keys and two pens.

THE MORNING OF THE EVENT

  1. Eat breakfast and brush your teeth after. Don’t drink coffee or smoke after you brush.
  2. Leave early. Remember your tote bag! Give yourself plenty of time for arriving, parking and walking to the event. I recommend arriving about 10 minutes before the fair opens.

DURING THE EVENT

  1. Check-in at the front desk and get a map of the fair/forum. Start with your safety schools first.
  2. SMILE, shake hands with the rep, and introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Peg. Nice to meet you.”
  3. As an ice breaker, the rep will likely ask you what you’re majoring in and what year you are in school. While you’re conversing, avoid taking too many notes. Stay in the present, engage, listen, and make eye contact.
  4. I recommend only asking your top two questions if there are people in line behind you. If no one’s in line, then feel free to ask more questions.
  5. Write down the rep’s name or get his or her business card.
  6. At the end of your conversation, shake hands, SMILE again, and thank the rep. “Thank you–you were very helpful. It was nice meeting you.”
  7. After you’re finished conversing, step away from the table. Find a spot away from the crowd and quickly jot down anything that’s memorable on your pad. Do it NOW while your thoughts are still fresh. Take time to do this! You will be glad you did.

AFTER THE EVENT

  1. Within 24 hours, send an email to each of the reps that you met. Let him or her know that you enjoyed meeting him or her. State briefly what you appreciated learning from him or her. If you have any other questions, include them in your email. If you are going to apply to this school, let the rep know that.
  2. Revise your list of schools. It’s normal to change your mind about some schools after attending a law fair or forum. Sometimes schools you didn’t consider very seriously end up being a top pick and a dream school ends up turning you off. Feel free to revise and adjust your list of schools—it’s all part of the process.

Want all of these tips in a printable check list? Click here.

Have you been to a law fair or forum? What did you think of the experience? Have questions about an upcoming fair or forum? I’d love to hear from you! I’m here to help. Post your questions below and I’ll respond.

Business people by Karen Arnold.