Future law school students attend forum

Twenty-two law schools stopped by Coffman to talk to students.

Tom Moran

For years, a massive caravan of law school recruiters has opted not to stop at the University, so this year University Legal Services and the Career and Community Learning Center decided to make one of their own.

In 2007, only six law schools attended Minnesota’s Careers in Law Forum, held in the concourse of Willey Hall. But this time around, 22 law schools attended and 40 organizations total gathered Wednesday in the Great Hall.

Nikki Schwartz, chairwoman of the student board for legal services, said the board worked with CCLC to expand the event this year partly because of the Law School Caravan visiting other Big Ten universities.

“A few of us were talking because we went to the grad fair and realized there weren’t many schools coming, and if you look at programs like Wisconsin and Michigan they get over 100 schools,” Schwartz said. “Well we’re the University of Minnesota. We’re bigger than these schools are, so why can’t we get them?”

The Law School Caravan is a group of law school representatives who attend nine regional law forums hosted by the Law School Admission Council. The forums draw a large attendance; the last in Chicago – the only stop in the Midwest – attracted 1,439 people and 168 schools, according to LSAC.

On the way to each forum, many law schools visit nearby universities. The caravan will visit the universities of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana this year.

During the last school year, Wisconsin had 98 representatives from the caravan attend its law fair, which outnumbers the schools that attend both of Minnesota’s events combined.

Consuelo Lopez, pre-law adviser at the University of Wisconsin, said the Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors decides where the caravan will stop each year, and that the convenience of the route taken around each forum plays a large role in which universities are visited. She said the problem with Minneapolis is that it takes the group too far out of its way.

Angie Schmidt Whitney, career services coordinator and pre-law adviser at Minnesota, said the University doesn’t campaign for the Law School Caravan to stop in Minneapolis because the University already offers two events for law school visits. Schmidt said she is the only person who plans events for law schools to attend at the University.

Because the University already invites more than 40 law schools to its fair for graduates and professionals in the fall, she said it was questionable whether students would benefit from another event so soon afterward.

Schwartz said it would be difficult to get the Law School Caravan to stop by Minnesota even if the University tried to court it. Minnesota could only occupy a temporary spot on the tour, she said, and many universities compete for a visit.

Libby Smith, an English and political science senior, serves as president of the Pre-Law Society. She said the forums are “really convenient” for students thinking about a career in law, especially when many recruiters visit.

“Sometimes it’s just so difficult to visit all these schools, especially those that are out of state, which are quite a few,” she said. “It’s a great way to contact the admissions people and see what their particular school is like.”