Question Corner: Why Should I Take Advice from You?

We are excited to introduce the Law Preview Question Corner Series. Every other week, Don Macaulay, President of Law Preview, will answer readers’ questions about law school success and our courses. Have a question you need answered? Email Don directly to be featured in the next Question Corner.

Why Should I Take Advice from You?

Jared asked: “Don’t they say that ‘those who can’t do, teach?’ Why should I take advice on becoming a lawyer from someone who doesn’t even practice law?”

Wowza — talk about being direct and making me question my own existence! Good thing you didn’t choose med school, because I’m not sure how your no-nonsense, bedside manner would play in a hospital setting.

At first I almost didn’t want to answer this question out of spite, but then I realized that Jared was right. Although I worked for one of the largest and most respected law firms in the country, I couldn’t hack it. I found Antitrust law fascinating, but the billable-hours requirement and endless travel would never have allowed me to coach my son’s baseball team or become the Cub Scoutmaster for our town (don’t bother searching; you’ll never find a picture of me in that uniform!).

However, unlike practice, I absolutely LOVED law school. So much so that I went from a being a mediocre (at best) undergraduate, to finishing #4 in my 1L class of 250 students. So, Jared, you’re right. I wouldn’t take any lawyering advice from me. But if you want to know what it takes to excel in law school, I’m your man.

You see, success in law school did not come easily for me. I wasn’t genetically predisposed to being on Law Review. In fact, I probably entered law school with a distinct disadvantage because I’m dyslexic and one of the world’s slowest readers. That said, I was able to develop a system that allowed me not only to survive but thrive during the 1L year. The system of academic skills and exam writing I developed is the foundation upon which the entire program is built — one that has served thousands of law students well (regardless of ability).

But, I’m not expecting you to take my word for it. Listen to what some Law Preview alums have said about how Law Preview impacted their 1L year.  

Law Preview Scholarships

Mike asked: “I received an email about Law Preview scholarship opportunities from my law school. Is this program only for diverse law students, or can anyone apply?”

Great question, Mike. Anyone can enroll in a Law Preview course if you want to sign up and pay out-of-pocket. Approximately 70% of our annual enrollment are students who do not receive a scholarship.

Although I would love to take credit for it, the Law Preview Diversity Scholarship Program was actually the brainchild of one firm, Vinson & Elkins. V&E sought to help improve diversity in the legal profession by helping diverse students at The University of Texas prepare for the all-important 1L year. When V&E asked around among their associate ranks for ideas, they learned that more than a few of their younger attorneys (both diverse and non-diverse) had taken Law Preview and thought it helped them excel during the first-year. So, in 2009 V&E piloted the very first Law Preview Diversity Scholarship Program at UT; since then, we have added more than 35 companies and law firms to sponsor students at more than 80 different law schools.

BigLaw firms like to sponsor students at schools where they actively recruit for several reasons. First, it offers them early access to a pipeline of diverse law students that they hope to ultimately recruit as 2L summer associates. Second, it also allows the firm to build goodwill and name recognition with all students at the school where they sponsor. And, finally, because of the price tag there was some unease that Law Preview provided an advantage that only “rich kids” could afford. In order to level the playing field, firms wanted to step in and provide the advantages Law Preview provides to students who otherwise may be unable to afford it.

I’d encourage you to take a look and determine if you satisfy the diversity profile (most firms have pretty broad criteria for what constitutes “diversity”). If you think you qualify, you should definitely put in an application.