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.


  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/state) 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?


  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 and good-sized tote bag, purse, or messenger bag with your notepad, bottle of water, mints, phone, wallet, keys, and two pens. I don’t recommend backpacks because you want to use an easy-access bag that’s easy to get in and out of, and that can carry all the swag you’ll receive from law schools.


  1. Eat breakfast and brush your teeth after. Don’t drink coffee or smoke after you brush!
  2. Leave early and remember your bag or purse. Give yourself lots of time for arriving, parking, and walking to 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.


  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.

Business people by Karen Arnold.

Do You Need a Diversity Statement?

Do you need to write a diversity statement for your law school application?

Diversity factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Ethnic minority
  • Low-income childhood
  • Low-income existence now
  • First generation in your family to graduate from college
  • Non-traditional student (i.e., older student)
  • Single parent while attending college
  • Learning or physical disabilities
  • Immigrant
  • Grew up in an unusual neighborhood, town/city or country
  • Grew up with unusual circumstances, unusual parent(s) and/or unusual sibling(s)
  • Foster child in the past

Diversity is important to all law schools.

Why? Because law schools want to foster a rich learning environment. You cannot have a rich learning environment if you do not have different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences and philosophies contributing to the dialogue, debate and discussion in each class. Having a diverse student body is a benefit to all law students.

That said, I highly recommend that you think hard about whether you have any diversity factors. If you do, write a diversity statement.

NOTE: If the law school does not specifically ask for a diversity statement, contact the admissions office to see if they will accept one. Some schools would rather you incorporate your diversity factors into your personal statement, while others are open to a separate essay. If they allow a separate essay, and you have diversity factor(s), I recommend that you write one.

So, how do you go about writing a diversity statement?

First, watch my video above on “How do I write a law school diversity statement?”

Second, download my FREE Personal Statement Packet and read the four diversity statement samples in there. You will get a good idea of how to approach and structure a diversity statement just by carefully reading and analyzing these samples. Similar to the personal statement, the diversity statement is essentially a short story about an important aspect of yourself. Keep in mind though that your diversity statement is much shorter than your personal statement–it should generally be one page, double-spaced, with a 11- to 12-point font.

Third, read each of the diversity statements again and read the adjoining personal statements that go with them. Notice how the applicant’s diversity factor(s) might be mentioned in his or her personal statement but they are covered in more detail in the diversity statement. I recommend that you do this too. As law school officials always tell me, “Applicants need to self-identify!” And I would add, applicants need to self-identify in more than one place in their law school application.

Last but not least, when you have a draft that is ready for human consumption (usually your second or third draft), have several trusted and objective people review it. Look for patterns in the feedback given to you. If two people say the same thing, pay attention. Then revise, revise, revise until it is the best that it can be.

Should You Write a Law School Addendum?

sad-man-and-rainHave some weaknesses in your law school application?

You’re not alone!

So many people do.

But there’s something you can do about it.


Weaknesses or discrepancies in your law school application can be explained in a short, one-page essay called an addendum.

Addenda can be written for many reasons, including but not limited to:

  1. Low grades
  2. Low LSAT score
  3. Withdrawal from classes
  4. Leave of absence in college
  5. Academic misconduct
  6. Disciplinary action in college
  7. Criminal record

Just because an addendum can be written, should it be written?

In the case of reasons #3-#7, yes, you should write an addendum.

In the case of reasons #1 or #2, not always.

For example, I’ve met many applicants who have transcripts that show two initial years of mediocre grades due to taking premed course requirements, as well as two later years of better grades when they stopped taking premed courses. Law school admissions officers can spot a “failed premed” from a mile away—they don’t necessarily need or want you to explain it in an addendum.

On the other hand, maybe there was something else that contributed to you getting low grades. Perhaps you had to work 40 hours at a job because your father was laid off at work? Or your mother became seriously ill and you missed classes to visit her in the hospital? Or maybe you contracted mono and missed a lot of class?

In the case of unforeseen events causing and/or contributing to low grades or a low LSAT score, you should write an addendum.

Still not sure if you should write one?

If you’re not sure whether your issue should be explained, contact the admissions office at the law schools you want to apply to. If you want to remain anonymous when contacting a law school, call them rather than sending an email. Ask you and you shall receive. It’s the best way to make an informed decision.

Want more tips for writing the addendum?

Check out my No B.S. Guide to the Law School Addendum. This guide provides detailed advice on writing the law school addendum, as well as nine sample essays for the most common situations, including reasons #1-#7 listed above.

Sad man photo by George Hodan.

Key Tips for Writing the Law School Resume

business-peopleI’ve learned a lot over the years about writing a great resume for law school.

One thing I know for sure–turning in a boring, generic resume with your law school application will do nothing to improve your chances for admission.

But show admissions officers a well-written, concise and engaging resume, and they will not only be impressed, they will remember you.

That’s the name of the application game: being remembered!


  • Thoroughly describe your college education, jobs, internships, study abroad experiences, research positions, volunteer positions, leadership positions, awards, skills and more. At the very least, you must have two main sections: Education and Experience.
  • Include all jobs and internships after high school graduation. If you graduated college many years ago and can’t fit all your jobs and internships into your resume, consider describing your experiences in the last 8­–10 years and listing the other experiences without descriptions.
  • Keep your resume legible with at least ½-inch margins and a 10–12 point font.
  • After you’ve updated your resume, ask two trusted colleagues to review it. If you’re in school, go in for a resume review with a career counselor at your college career center.
  • Revise, revise, revise until your resume is free of all errors and typos.


I’ve read articles and tips from so many law school consultants and bloggers saying the resume must be one page! Absolutely only one page! I always wonder, do these people talk with law school admissions officers? How many? And how often?

I talk to a variety of law school admissions officers every year and their answers to this question vary across the board. Some are fine with three pages, others want just one page, and still others say two pages max. In the end, follow the school’s directions. If the directions aren’t clear, call or email the admissions office at that school.

By the way, try to avoid half-pages (e.g., 1 ½ pages, 2 ½ pages, etc.). Half-pages make it look like you either could have written more or cut more.


What I find most disturbing about applicants’ resumes is how few of them adequately describe their work experiences. Do not type “Duties included…” after each job title and include a list of general job duties. This kind of lazy writing shows admissions officers that you don’t want to take the time to explain your skills and accomplishments.

First, write three to five blurbs for each job or internship. Use an action verb to begin each line or blurb. Action verbs include coordinated, organized, directed, prepared, assisted, wrote, compiled, conducted and served, just to name a few.

Next, qualify your experiences with specific details so the reader understands what you learned or accomplished on the job, and quantify your experiences by using numbers to give the reader an idea of the amount or scope of the work that you did.

For example, if you analyzed a survey, how many surveys did you analyze and for what end goal?

Change a general blurb like this:
• Analyzed online survey about Puget Sound.

To a specific blurb like this:
• Analyzed online survey of 445 respondents regarding public outreach and public participation in improving the environmental health of Puget Sound.

If you worked as a barista, how many customers did you serve per shift? Give a range if you don’t know the exact number.

Change a ho-hum blurb like this:
• Prepared drinks for many customers.

To a detailed blurb like this:
• Prepared custom coffee and tea beverages for up to 180–220 customers per shift.

Do this with all of the experiences and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a stellar resume.


It’s not something you would include on a work resume, but I’ve heard this enough times from law school admissions officers that I’m passing it on to you. You should list the number of hours worked per week for all jobs and activities (e.g., 18 hours/week). If your hours changed from week to week, list a range (e.g., 3-5 hours/week). Listing your hours per week is a small detail but an important one. It helps the admissions committee gain a better understanding of the scope of work and activities you’ve been involved in.


I’ve given you some key tips for writing your resume, but if you want detailed step-by-step advice and four sample resumes, get my book, The No B.S. Guide to the Law School Resume. This guide contains tried-and-true advice from my 20+ years of helping people write stellar resumes.

Take as much time with your law school resume as you would for applying to your dream job.

Do that and you will impress every person that reads it.

Business people graphic by Karen Arnold.

What To Do About Law School Wait Lists

Waiting...waiting...The old saying goes, “Good things come to those that wait.”

I think that’s true part of the time. The other part of the time, it’s better to take action.

So, what do you do if you get on a law school’s wait list?

Wait? Take action?

I recommend that you do both.

First, figure out if the law school is one that you still want to go to.
I say this because it’s amazing how many applicants change their mind about a school after they hear an admissions decision. Whether the decision given is a yes, no, or wait list, I am often surprised by my clients’ change of opinion. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, hearing a decision makes some people change their mind–whether towards the affirmative or the negative. Don’t skip this step. Take time to thoughtfully research the school and decide if it is still a good match for you.

Second, follow the directions given in the wait list notice.
For example, some schools indicate that you should email or call them by a specific date in order to remain on the wait list. If your answer is yes, email or call the school’s admissions office before the deadline. If you know you do not want to attend this school, contact them to get off the wait list. Whether your answer is yes or no, see if there’s anything you need to do to follow-up.

Third, take further action if needed.
Follow the school’s instructions. If your letter or email doesn’t say much, visit the school’s web site and search for wait lists. Sometimes they will list more information there. Do they want a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI)? Do they want you to visit and meet with an admissions officer? Are they open to receiving additional letters of recommendation? Do they want your latest transcript? Follow the instructions and if you can take action, do it. On the other hand, if the school indicates they do not want further information, then honor their instructions.

Visit! Visit! Visit!
If the school is a yes or strong maybe in your mind, I highly recommend visiting the school, sitting in on a class, and talking with as many students and faculty as you can. There’s nothing like being there. Visiting will not only help you decide if the school and city are right for you, it can also help you write a better LOCI with specific details on how the school and/or city are the right fit for you. Again, only send a LOCI if the school is okay with that.

Lastly, after doing all that you can, all you can do is…wait.

That’s right. I know it’s hard.

Take advantage of this waiting time to focus on your studies (if you’re still in school), your self-care (for once, you’re not studying for the LSAT!), and to spend time with people that you care about (they will surely appreciate seeing you again).

No matter what the outcome, know that you did all that you could do.

Shaggy dog photo by Karin Beate Nøsterud.