The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Political Science Symposium looks at law school prep

The Political Science Symposium held a law school panel geared toward students with a focus on pre-law last Friday afternoon.

The panel, held in Florence Hall, consisted of three current SMU law students and one newly initiated attorney. They talked about everything from preparing for law school to the truth about LSATS to surviving in law school.

J.D. Melks, a newly initiated attorney, offered some advice for students looking to attend law school: “The classes that help the most are classes to get you thinking in an active way.”

Melks continued, saying any class that gets a student to think critically and apply that thinking with everyday life is a good class to take.

“Sometimes it’s like judges have a contest on who can put more commas in a sentence,” Melks joked. “But you have to work through it.”

SMU law student Brooke Schieb agreed, “Take any class that makes you read intensively and challenges you with essay-type questions.”

Vanessa Jeffries, also an SMU law student, added, “Ten pages of reading in law school is not light reading. It’s intense.”

According to Schieb, it is important to take reading-intensive classes and be able to understand the information, rather than regurgitate it. She also explained that a test at the undergraduate level is more like a memorization test, whereas in law school, tests are critical thinking essay exams, so students need to do more than just remember the law; they must understand it.

For undergraduates looking at law school, Welks suggested taking a briefing class. He took a briefing class in undergraduate school and said it helped him tremendously.

“The more you do in undergrad, the less you have to do in law school,” Welks said. “I was only able to do this [reading for law school] because I knew what I was looking for.”

All panelists agreed that the LSATs are rarely a reflection of how well a student does in law school. There are many students who score very high on the LSATs but don’t perform well in law school, and vice versa.

Taking prep classes can help because they force a student to study and work hard, but it’s not always necessary if the student is self-motivated. Once a student gets into law school, they are rarely asked their LSAT scores. A student in law school just has to focus on doing well in his or her classes.

“Law school is a lot of hard work, but it’s not impossible,” Jeffries said. She continued saying everyone in law school is in the same boat, and the professors are there to help the students. Feeding off each other and forming study groups is a good idea.

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