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Interacting Effectively with Law Schools

A Handy Guide on How to Not Become “That Guy"
Aug 25, 2023

About the Author:

Melody Weigel is the Associate Director of Admissions at Wake Forest School of Law.

Table of Contents

  1. The Bottom Line
  2. Who Actually is the Admissions Team?
  3. Who Will I Actually be Talking To?
  4. Knowing the Admissions Office Structure
  5. How to Connect with the Admissions Team
  6. Attending an Event
  7. Right Before You Apply
  8. After you are Accepted
  9. About Wake Forest University Law School

The Bottom Line

Before I deep dive into a career’s worth of horror stories and cringe-worthy moments, I would like to establish a universal truth and key takeaway, your TL:DR moment; law school admissions offices ACTUALLY DO want to answer your questions and help you vet, apply, and matriculate to law school. Period, end of sentence.  

Still reading? Fantastic, because there’s a lot of ways to make this process work for you, but a few notable ways to make this a terribly uphill journey.

Who Actually is the Admissions Team?

Let’s start with some context. Who are you talking to? The typical admissions office consists of 3-5 admissions professionals, but could be as small as a single person. Obviously, this varies school to school.  

Here’s a quick visualization. The levels of interactions you have with various touch points along the way can be clearly illustrated as a pyramid, with the most infrequent interaction at the top, and most likely at the bottom, of course, adjusting the levels depending on the size of the office.

Picture your pyramid, as described above:

  1. Dean/Director of Admission
  2. Faculty
  3. Students
  4. Assistant/Associate Director of Admissions
  5. Admissions Counselors
  6. Pre-law Advisors

Understanding how small these offices can be is critically important. As an applicant, you never know who is going to answer the phone, it might be the dean of admissions, or it might be a student worker. As a prospective student, your approach and response should be exactly the same—polite! This seems obvious right? Well, we’ve all met that guy who wants to jump straight to the boss and have the same answer repeated to them from someone they feel is more important. Don’t be that guy!

Who Will I Actually be Talking To?

Typically, an admissions office will hire current law school students to support the work of the department. These students are living the life you hope to have one day so they are a very valuable asset and resource. If you receive a response to your email or phone call by a student—congratulations, you have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal. If you have questions they can’t answer, write them down and ask them to an admissions professional or financial aid advisor as a second touchpoint. Students often provide tours as well, feel free to ask them about their experiences, some good examples include adjusting to study schedules or fun activities on campus.

It’s not uncommon during the peak of recruitment for an office to hire a seasonal recruiter. What’s that, you’re probably wondering. A seasonal recruiter is typically a recent graduate who travels around the country speaking to prospective students. They know a lot! However, if you occasionally receive the answer, “You might want to email the office about that one,” you absolutely should. You’ve been provided an invitation to speak directly with the admissions office about an advanced-level question. Jump on that opportunity, and let the office know you spoke with a great human who was representing the school superbly and they recommended you reach out. As you can see, there’s an inverse approach to how to begin that email, or not send one at all, lead with positivity.

Why is it so important that I know about the AdCom office structure?

The intent, dear reader, is so you can understand that if someone is rude, kurt, testy, or just a jerk to one of us, we all know. We talk, we communicate, we share our day. Spicy students get way more airtime than perfectly pleasant students (and not in a good way). Attempting to stand out is a theme of many articles online and I firmly believe they omit a large classification of standouts—the ones gone wrong. This is a category where you don’t want us all to know your name. Don’t become a notorious applicant. Don’t be that guy.

How to Connect with the Admissions Team?

Let’s back up a moment and cover some of the basics about where you can meet some fabulous people who can make your ambitions of a legal career a reality.

The biggest one-stop shop to gather information and speak with a law school representative is at LSAC-hosted Forums. These events are hosted in the largest cities across the country in the late summer and fall. There are even a couple of digital events now if this is more accessible for you. Almost every law school in the country attends these forums. This is a great opportunity to explore, ask questions, and gather information. My biggest piece of advice is to challenge yourself to speak to new schools in new states, and get outside of your comfort zone. If the line is around the block at a T14 school, save your time to visit a few other booths. Just like Disney World, you can only ride so many rides during your time there. This is your chance to visit hard-to-access schools you wouldn’t be able to visit on your own. Is your first choice law school in your hometown, or a county over, don’t spend this precious time connecting with them here, but instead reach out to them outside of this event.

If you haven’t graduated yet, another strong option for many students is to attend on-campus law fairs, graduate and professional degree fairs, or occasionally a career fair at your school. Ask your pre-law advisor or career services office about the list provided and the typical month these are hosted. Mark your calendar and loop back when plans have firmed up.

Great, you plan on attending an event!

This is typically a two-way street for both you and the law school. You are looking to gain more information and get a little FaceTime to answer your questions, and maybe even a fee waiver. Help yourself to the informational material (that’s why we packed it). [Brief Aside: at in-person events, don’t be afraid to ask for a fee waiver, BUT don’t make that the first or second question. End the conversation with your ask.] The school is also looking to gather information about who they spoke to. We need to 1) justify our reasons for attending this location 2) get a sense of our prospective student pool. As such, kindly and neatly complete any info card or form provided by the school either during or after your chat. Completion might just be required for that fee waiver too.

You’re narrowing your search, this is good! If you haven’t already, it’s time to read the website and start writing down questions. Mark off the ones you find answers to, because you’ll bring the remaining ones with you when you schedule a tour or phone call. I get it, you might not be able to travel across the country for a campus tour, so instead focus on what is accessible to you.

Final Phase Before Applying

During this next phase of networking with the office, you might have a tour provided by students or staff. You also have the option to make special requests prior to your visit—would you like to sit in on a class, or maybe speak to a professor in your area of interest? These things might be possible, but they also might not be available at certain times of the year. There is no harm in asking nicely. It is up to you to do your research on faculty, and even better if you coordinate your own appointment and reach out to them using the contact information on the website.

You’ve applied! Yes, the waiting game is awful—I know, I’m sorry. During this time it is key to read your emails and portal for updates. If your questions are not answered, it is permissible to call the office for an update. I would like to stress that you should play this card strategically. Admissions professionals don’t mind if you call (but do not call daily), and if two months have passed, sure you can touch base again. What I am cautioning here are students who call every week or two. The office may be able to render decisions on applications if we are not answering the same question three dozen times in one day. Keep in mind you are one applicant in hundreds, if not thousands, so you are not the only one making that call.

Fast-Forward to Acceptance!

Let’s fast forward a bit. Let’s assume you did all of your research and were accepted at your top five schools, and you deposited at two as you wrestle with the decision of where you want to spend your next three years. This window is very important, and the devil is in the details. Ensure you are reading the fine print to make sure you are eligible to put down multiple offers. It’s fairly common for people to do this as they research data points that they didn’t consider in the application process, or attend admitted student events to compare the experience with their future peers. When it’s time to lock yourself in, please email or call any other schools to withdraw. This step is important for record keeping, and frequently allows for accepting another student.

Good Luck! (AdComs Want to Help, I Promise)

Knowing what happens behind the curtain helps us all work together, hopefully for positive outcomes. Admissions professionals want to cheer you along this journey, but we need your help! While I’m certain my readers will always be polite and kind during their interactions with admissions offices around the country, we all are currently picturing a person we’ve met who might not get the memo. You are welcome to forward this article to that guy.

About Wake Forest School of Law:

Wake Forest Law seeks to advance the cause of justice by creating knowledge and educating students to meet the legal needs of the world with confidence, character, and creativity. We instill in students a respect for the law, a devotion to the ideal of service, and a commitment to professional values. We educate students from around the world in a richly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.

What Melody loves about Wake Forest Law:

What impresses me so much about Wake Forest Law—and especially its students—is the commitment to bettering the world. Wake Forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate, permeates the entire community. From doing pro bono work, to working with clients in our many clinics, to volunteering in Winston-Salem, our students really do “walk the walk” of Pro Humanitate.

Check out Wake Forest Law's LSData Profile

Apply to Wake Forest Law

MelodyWeigel WFU Law Admissions

Melody has worked in law school admissions for over 7 years. She currently serves as Associate Director of Admissions at Wake Forest School of Law. When she isn't busy reviewing your applications she can be found spending time with her adorable corgi, Pebble.

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chag!!! hope you’re happily enjoying your summer before you kill it at UT
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I'm done trying to get into law school. Just going to go play dead in some grass somewhere. Good luck all.
KnowledgeableRitzyWasp
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KnowledgeableRitzyWasp
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Tom is me in that I am also a hopeless romantic
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babybunny
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Plant my feet and bitterly breathe up the time that's passing
anyone have advice on submitting an additional rec letter after WL even if the admissions officer said it's not necessary? rec letter is from someone affiliated with the school..
I would still do it
18:01
not someone claiming they got accepted from the SMU WL
One of my waitlist allowed me to submit a fifth letter of rec after submitting 4 in my initial applicstion
18:03
I just hope SMU gives me a chance once my test results post :’)
If it’s another prof, I would ask the law school if it’s okay if the new recommender submitted another letter directly to admissions team, if they say yes definitely go for it
18:05
I only have one LOCI for them left and I’m waiting to use it when my last results release, otherwise I would
manifestmoreadmissions
21:02
valley SMU would be so lucky to have you you would be such an asset
22:56
Awww thank you manifest :’)
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