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October 12, 2009 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-12

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8A - Monday, October 12, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Study: Law-related experience
not required to get into law school

Work experience just
one of many criteria,
according to Kaplan
Test Prep report
Daily StaffReporter
Jeff Carroll, a first-year law
student at the University, took his
LSAT practice test at a Marriott
Hotel in New Orleans on New
Year's Eve, the night before the
2007 Sugar Bowl. Carroll was cov-
ering Notre Dame football for the
South Bend Tribune, a job he had
held for about a decade.
Carroll had no previous law-
related work experience, but after
10 years on the road covering Notre
Dame football, and talks of starting
a family with his wife, Carroll decid-
ed to take a crack at law school.
Contrary to what many under-
graduates may believe, the fact that
Carroll had never interned at a law
firm and had spent the last decade
in a completely unrelated field
didn't put him at a disadvantage in
the admissions process.
According to a Kaplan Test Prep
and Admissions survey of 152 law
school admissions officers released
last week, more than half of those
surveyed reported thathaving legal
work experience doesn't give an
advantage in admissions.
"What's clear from our survey is
that admissions officers continue to
consider an applicant's LSAT score
to be the most important admis-
sions factor," Howard Bell, execu-
tive director of pre-law programs
at Kaplan wrote in a press release
regarding the study, "followed by
undergraduate GPA, the personal
statement, letters of recommenda-
tion and professional experience."
"While this news should not dis-
courage applicants from interning
or working in the legal profession
prior to law school," Bell wrote,
"they should understand its rela-
tive insignificance in comparison to

From Page1A
"I belong to dozens of organiza-
tions where the membership isn't
always in full alignment on all
issues, and this is no exception,"
Coleman wrote in the statement.
"The issues surrounding this
year's budget are very serious, and
they will continue to be so next year
and beyond," she continued. "It is
in the best interests of the state to
look to the long term and focus on
the highest priorities - including
higher education - as we lay the
groundwork forthe future."
In an e-mail to the Daily, Uni-
versity spokesman Rick Fitzger-
ald wrote that Coleman "did not
know about the letter before it
was sent."
The letter expresses disappoint-
ment over the legislature's failure
to pass a budget for the fiscal year
2009-2010 by the Oct. 1 deadline,
and recommends the adoption of a
Senate Majority Leader Mike
Bishop (R-Rochester) and House
Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford
Twp.), according to a copy obtained
by The Associated Press.
Under the terms of that agree-
ment, the Michigan Promise Schol-
arship would be eliminated.
The Promise Scholarship pro-
gram provides money to more than
96,000 Michigan college students
that can total anywhere from $500
to $4,000 over four years.

A merit examination given in
high schools determines students'
eligibilityforthe grants.
Fitzgerald told the Daily last
month that an estimated 6,096 stu-
dents at the University of Michigan
would benefit from the program
this academic year.
As lawmakers race to pass a bud-
get already more than a week over-
due, quarrels over how to close the
deficitgap leave the Promise Schol-
arship hanging inthe balance, with
the Republican-controlled Senate
moving to cut programs and the
Democrat-controlled House look-
ing for ways to increase revenues,
like raising certain taxes.
In the letter, Rothwell is more
sympathetic to the Republican phi-
losophy. He writes, "we discour-
age the adoption of any revenue
enhancements or tax increases,
including the closure of 'tax loop-
holes,' to solve the budget deficit.
Any tax increase would be another
structural budgetproblems we face
and would continue to prevent
Michigan's economic revival."
The letter first surfaced in a
Detroit Free Press report Thurs-
day afternoon.
Noren told the paper that the
letter did not reflect Wayne State's
position and was not approved by
him. The report also said Simon
"sent aletterindicatingshe also was
opposed to (the letter's) contents."
- Daily News Editor Kyle
Swanson contributed to this report.


Officials from the University's Law School Admissions Office say work experience not make-or-break for an applicant.

other admission factors."
Though the Kaplan press release
states that many people may have
previously thought that having
law-related work experience would
give them an edge in getting into
law school, some students at the
University of Michigan Law School
were already aware that working
in the legal field before applying
wasn't a make-or-break factor.
Before applying to law school,
University law student Zach Dembo
worked for Teach for America, an
organization that places college
graduates as instructors in impov-
erished rural and urban centers.
Dembo said that while he had
heard that it was important totake
some time off between undergrad-
uate work and law school, he said
he didn't think having law-related
experience was a necessity, and
that it had turned off some people
that he knevw from applying to law
Sarah Zearfoss, assistant dean
and director of admissions at the
Law School, wrote in an e-mail
interview that while the University

didn't participate in the survey, she
agrees with the results.
Zearfoss wrote in the e-mail that
the Law School tends to admit can-
didates with a wide range of expe-
riences and that working in the law
field before applying may be ben-
eficial because it can help a student
to decide if law school is the right
path for them.
"We certainly like to see that
people have had meaningful work
experience ... but it need not be
law-related in particular," Zearfoss
wrote. "That said, I think it can
be advantageous to the candidate
... to gather some experience with
the world of law before making the
decision to embark on it asa career,
in order to get a clear idea of the
experience and expectations."
Though havinglaw-related expe-
rience might not be a factor in get-
ting in to law school, students said
it certainly brings a level of famil-
iarity and background to the field.
John Calvin worked as a courier
for 15 years at Detroit-based law
firms Butzel Long and Dickinson
Wright before becoming a student

at the Law School. His motivation
for working at these firms wasn't to
gain experience for law school, but
just to earn a living so he could play
music at night in loctl clubs.
"I think a lot of people get a job at
a law firm because they want to go
to law school, so they do it in that
order," Calvin said. "Mine was a
job at a law firm and that made me
want to go to law school."
He said that being around legal
documents and attorneys gave him
the background in legal language
and procedure, and enabled him
to have reference points during
Although Carroll hasn't worked
in the journalism field for years,
he believes that what he learned
covering Notre Dame football has
directly helped him in law.
"Maybe the background knowl-
edge isn't the same as someone who
spent time in a law office,".he said,
"but I guess the main point is there
are other skills you can learn doing
otherjobs that are outside that field
that can give you some skills that
can pay off in law school."

From Page 1A
"She's just a kick and just as sharp
inage," Colemansaidofthe 89-year-
old Thomas. "She has some unbe-
lievably wonderful stories.'
Wilson, a research professor at
Harvard University, specializes in
myrmecology - the study of ants.
He won the Crafoord prize, which
is similar to a Nobel Prize, in 1990
and two Pulitzers for his work, one
in 1979 and the other1991.
"He's just a terrific person,"Cole-
man said.
Boggs, who has lived in Detroit
since 1953, is an activist known for
her work with civil liberties and
labor issues. She has earned lifetime
commitment awards from both the
Michigan Coalition for Human
Rights and the Michigan Women's
Coleman said she was happy

Boggs would be attending winter
commencement and called her "a
really wonderful person."
Honorary degree recipients are
chosen from a pool of nominees
collected from University students,
staff and faculty. The Honorary
Degree Committee - chaired by
Rackham Dean Janet Weiss -
reviews nominations, sends for
input from reviewers across cam-
pus and then makes recommen-
dations to the regents. Regents
consider the recommendations and
make the final decision at one of
their monthly meetings.
Though the commencement
speaker typicallyreceives anhonor-
canchoose someonenotnominated
for an honorary degree to be the
"We always have an active slate
and each year we pick from that
active slate," Coleman said. "It's a
pretty long process that people go


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