Business (Pre-Law Intern) Sophomore Raymond Tambe
Graduate school is an option for every undergraduate student, though not all of us are aware of the reasons to go to graduate school or of the value that continuing education past the bachelor's level provides, the method of how to get there, and the paths available after leaving graduate studies. Through the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate Internship, as well as the organization through which I found the internship program though, I have learned an immense amount about why I should consider post-undergraduate education and of what value it will be to me, how I am most likely to attain a graduate education, and I have learned about the different post-graduate school opportunities.
Currently, I am a business and sociology double major. I chose both of these majors to provide me with options as I grew up, for I didn't want to have to be stuck in one field. Moreover, I figured that these two majors would help me in the future if I ever chose to pursue a different career path different than business or social research; law. Though I was never positive, I have always considered law a potential career. This is why, upon coming to UT this year, I decided to join a pre-law organization; Student Leaders Pursuing Law (SLPL). Through this organization I was given the opportunity to participate in a pre-law internship program where I was able to attend law school classes and law school-sponsored events. It was through attending these classes and forums that I was able to solidify the reasons as to why I should attend law school after graduating from college. The first reason is of course that, in most states it is impossible to become a lawyer. In order to be eligible to take the Bar Exam in almost every state, I must have attended law school. The Bar Exam is an integral part in becoming a practicing lawyer, and passing the Bar is necessary to legally practice law. I learned this from my mentor Edward Sandoval, and I also learned that it is necessary to take the Bar Exam in the state you which to practice law in because the credentials of passing the Bar in one state will not necessarily transfer over to another state. Beyond being a necessary requirement for the Bar Exam, going to law school is an advantageous move because it enriches a new type of learning and thinking. I have learned and experienced that the difference between learning at the undergraduate level and learning in law school is equivalent to the difference between being talked at and being talked to. In undergraduate courses, the class normally consists of listening to a professor lecture and maybe some students answering a few questions. A professor is seen as exemplary when he or she is able to get the class to participate often. It is an accomplishment if the professor can get all, or close to all, of the students in the class to speak and participate on a daily basis. However, in several law school classes, this is the norm. The intricacies of law are taught with a more Socratic method. That is to say that class discussion and question and answer is more paramount to the learning process than observing the slides and handouts of a professor. This way of learning is not only more exciting, but beneficial in that it requires students to reason through class information. It is not simply given to the students and expected to be memorized. This type of learning puts the focus on retaining and understanding information instead of knowing information for information's sake. Therefore, I feel that if I were to go to law school, I would be able to switch my viewpoint about learning from memorizing facts to make a grade to learning and retaining information. I feel that being able to do this would be advantageous in any career I decide to pursue in the future. Another result that the Socratic method of learning turns out is that it causes students to be able to think quickly on their feet. They have to be active in the learning process, and they cannot just choose to not be involved in class, so they must develop the ability to think quickly about subjects they hardly know. This trait will also serve me in the future, whether I decide to pursue and continue with law or not. In addition, going to law school provides opportunities to learn other skills and meet a new network of people. For instance, if one were to join a law journal, they would sharpen their writing skills and also become involved in legal issues within their community. Also, there are several minority programs in law school that connect people to one another and allow people to make friends and future associates. Two examples of these groups are the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society and the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association.
Through this internship program and the pre-law program associated with it, I have not only learned why I should go to law school, but how I would go about becoming a good law school candidate. Some of what I learned was as follows: I came to understand that concerning law school admissions it was not only my grade point average that mattered. There are other aspects that also factor in such as my LSAT score, my personal statement, my essays, personal recommendations and of course my involvement in the community. In terms of the LSAT, I have learned about the composition of the test and I have been shown the resources that would help me do well on the test. In addition, I have learned about the purpose of personal statements. I have also gained resources that will help me tailor and perfect my personal statement, as well as my essays. Finally, I have gained, through attending law school classes, some connections that would help me to acquire letters of recommendation. Through this program the importance of community service and involvement has also been emphasized to me. I have come to know that excelling in these categories will make me a better candidate for entering law school. However, there are different forms of excelling in these aspects of the law school application. Depending on the type of law school someone wishes to attend, their application may have some changes. For instance, if the school is theoretically based, then the essays may be broad and show that the applicant has knowledge of theoretical thought. Conversely, if the school is very literal, than they essays will show the logical aspect of an applicant.
Finally, through this program and through SLPL, I have learned about the several options available to me after going to law school. There are of course several types of law available to me after law school. I could choose to pursue criminal law, civil law, constitutional law, corporate law, business law, entertainment law, copyright/patent law, tax law, and a number of other legal professions. I could also use my legal knowledge to do any of the following less orthodox options: become an agent, pursue a career in politics, draft contracts, negotiate business deals, or mediate legal issues for the public. Also, I have learned that a big law firm is not the only option for practicing law. People are also able to have private practices, work for small firms, or even do pro-bono work. Then, there is the option that is most attractive to me; getting a dual degree in business and law. This way, I would have even more options upon graduating law school.
This pre-graduate internship program has been invaluable to me as a tool in learning about graduate school opportunities and furthering my knowledge of why to go to law school, how to get to law school, and what to do after law school.