Law Week brings workshops, top schools

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Author: Drew Jaffe

The Career Development Center (CDC) hosted its second annual Law Week from Nov. 4 to Nov. 13 as part of an ongoing effort to ramp up pre-law advising at Occidental. Throughout the week, student were able to attend pre-law workshops, law career panels and a law school fair.

Law Week serves as the CDC’s most recent step in developing Occidental’s pre-law program. According to Director of the CDC and pre-law advisor Valerie Savior, the CDC took over pre-law advising six years ago, sharing the duties with Politics Professor Thalia González. As the CDC expanded the number of events offered to pre-law students, it decided to consolidate its offerings under the more marketable title of Law Week.

“We’ve done grouped events [before], but last year we slapped a name on it,” Career Center Coordinator Ananda Dillon said.

As the name suggests, the week offered information on all stages of the law career path. The week began on Nov. 4 with a panel featuring professionals from different fields of law, including compensation and family mediation.

On Nov. 5, Savior and Assistant Director for Career Counseling Rita Soultanian led a workshop that advised students on how to structure their undergraduate experience and make an impression on employers and law school admission representatives.

Dillon also organized a fair on Nov. 7 that featured law school admission representatives from around the country for students to meet. Although a small school, Occidental makes an impression on law school admission officers, according to Savior.

“I was talking to a representative from Boston College, and she said, ‘We could have gone to [University of California] Santa Barbara. It’s a great school and we would have met a lot more students, but we chose Oxy because of the caliber of your students,'” Savior said.

Students like Diplomacy and World Affairs major Amanda Magistad (sophomore) found the fair equally as rewarding as the admission officers did.

“I used the time to practice how to get the most out of speaking with a law school recruiter/admissions person. It was great to see which questions sparked a conversation, and which questions I probably wouldn’t ask again,” Magistad said.

Although only a sophomore, Magistad has already started preparing for a career in law. For Savior, starting the pre-law path at such an early stage is essential to success.

“I love that sophomores are coming to this as a discernment process because they can ask probing questions and get real evidence [from law schools],” Savior said. At such an early stage in the undergraduate experience, students can receive valuable advice from law school representatives on how to structure the rest of their years.

Although preparing for law school is a year-round process, the last event offered during Law Week will be a Nov. 13 panel featuring all the University of California law schools.

The CDC hosts events for students interested in various career paths, including World View Week, an event where students can meet with representatives from the top five international relations graduate schools: Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Princeton and Tufts. The event will take place Thursday Nov. 14 in Johnson 104 at 11:45 a.m.

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