A Law School Open House Itinerary, Explained

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Law School Open House Season is drawing to a close. Prospective students have just about two weeks to shell out a few hundred dollars to reserve their seat in the 2015 class, or save themselves three years and tens of thousands of dollars by skipping the whole law school thing and applying now for a retail/food service job.

Two years ago, at about this time, I came to my law school for an open house. The itinerary read something like this:*

8:00-8:30: Check In
8:30-8:50: Welcome to the School of Law
9:00-9:50: Sit in on a first year class
10:00-11:00: Academic Life: Learn about the 1L experience
11:00-11:45: Perspectives of a Legal Career: a presentation from Student Development and Career Services
12:00-1:00: Lunch with faculty and staff
1:00-2:30: Life in law school/Q&A with current students and organizational presidents
2:30-3:30: What are the next steps? Information on becoming a law student
3:30-3:45: Closing thoughts

Based on that itinerary, this is what I suggest can be expected during these events.

Check In. Prospective law students, unlike current law students, show up for things at the School of Law on time, and even early. Consider this half hour of your life an excellent opportunity to mill about and cause current students who are at school way too early annoyance as you cluster directly in commonly used walking paths.

Welcome. Enjoy the refreshments that current law students resent you for eating, as their tuition dollars are paying for them and they’ve been barred from partaking in consumption.

Sit in on a First Year Class. Most large open houses are held on Friday. By second semester most 1Ls are comfortable with going out on Thursday nights. Think of this an exercise in determining who is miserable because they are hungover and who is miserable because they are in law school.

Academic Life & Learning about the 1L Experience. This presentation is brought to you by a group of students who were hand selected by the Admissions staff. These students are almost always in the top of their class, incredibly nice, fairly attractive, and in most cases the group will make the school seem much more diverse than its ABA statistics.

Presentation from Student Development and Career Services. Use this time to test your phone’s signal and the school’s wifi in the auditorium while you text your undergrad friends about getting back for a party later in the weekend, your parents about how well everything is going, and catch up in Words with Friends. Don’t worry about not paying attention because when you’re actually in law school, you’ll almost entirely ignore the existence of this office until you need a résumé reviewed or help finding the form that will allow you to do supervised legal work after your 2L year.

Lunch with Faculty and Staff. Awkwardly ingest a lukewarm mediocre meal in a crowded room full of people you don’t know and won’t remember even if you do attend this law school and see them on your first day of orientation.  Watch miscellaneous faculty troll the room trying to find something they have in common with you so they can use that as an excuse to eat the free lunch.

Q&A with Current Law Students and Student Organization Leaders. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to get to know better the students who presented to you earlier. While you may rapidly realize some of the other prospectives are idiots, you should get used to this feeling, as it will be an almost constant companion throughout law school. As will be true for the rest of your legal career, you have to ask the right questions, but if you do, this is likely to be the most helpful and interesting portion of your day.

What are the next steps? Information on becoming a law student. Hear the financial aid office explain how you should go about getting the loans you will be paying off for the next decade. Imagine a parrot as someone repeatedly reminds the room of how much the seat deposit is and when it is due. Don’t bother actually committing this to memory, because there is sure to be a flyer containing all of the salient information in boldface enlarged print, probably with some unnecessary exclamation marks.

Closing Thoughts. You should no longer be in the law school at this point. If you are actually sitting somewhere listening to the closing remarks, you are probably going to be a gunner, and should reconsider law school, for the benefit of all the other (not in attendance) students who shared your open house experience.

*this is actually exactly what my itinerary said, which I know because I saved it after my college roommate decorated it with stickers and instructions, “in case you get bored,” effectively turning it into a one woman 8.5 x 11 game of Monopoly meets MarioKart, which I commenced playing while I “learned about the 1L experience.”

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