Law Fair seeks exchange between students, schools

By Charles Ratliff

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Eastern and local law schools from 70 universities will be coming west today to shop for students at the UA Law Fair.

"Our purpose is to bring in universities from around the country to provide a forum of information for students who wish to go to law school," said Mercedes Salomon, president of Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity. "This is basically their opportunity to get that information."

Salomon said representatives from the schools will give students information on the application process, answer students' questions and provide a more personal approach to information exchange.

"The trend has been that a lot of students stay in the Southwest, so a lot of schools are from the Southwest," she said.

Applications at eastern schools have been dropping, Salomon said.

"The applicant pool from which the schools can choose from has been declining," she said.

"Nationally, applications are going down, but at the UA and ASU they are going up," said Gary Rydout, pre-law adviser with the College of Arts and Sciences. He said both schools will be represented at the law fair.

Rydout said the decline in applications could revolve around economics. Graduating law students may not make as much money starting out as they have in recent years.

"Law schools are going shopping," he said.

"You actually get to talk to the representatives and find out what they're looking for in a student," Salomon said.

"People who apply to law schools come from a variety of backgrounds," she said. Salomon said that different law schools look for different students. The fair allows students and schools to discover one another.

"It gives you a competitive edge," she said.

Rydout said his advice to potential law students who wish to begin the application process is to first examine their interest in legal issues, figure out their long-term goals and what they want to do as a lawyer. He said the whole process begins with the student's first year of college by concentrating on their studies.

Then, the process itself requires completing the application, taking the Law School Admissions Test and completing the undergraduate degree, said Salomon.

"You have to begin really, seriously, looking at the application requirements in your junior year," Rydout said, "and then, taking care of them in your senior year."

Salomon said she would personally like to go to Yale. She said their acceptance rate is 17 percent. Nationally, she said, most law schools' acceptance rate is less than 50 percent.

"But students apply to more than one school," she said.

Rydout said the national average, in fact, showed that students apply to five or six law schools.

He said another great way for students to prepare for law school would be to get involved in one or both of the pre-law fraternities on campus Phi Alpha Delta or the Minority Pre-Law Association.

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