Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors

Conference Highlights 2018

Landmark for Peace.  Indianapolis, Indiana

 Program Schedule and Information

We look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis for the 2018 MAPLA Conference!  

The full 2018 Conference Program is now available.
Plenary Session Topics

Innovative Ways to Encourage Exploration of the Legal Field

Pre-law students come with a desire to attend law school, but a limited understanding of what comes next. Encouraging exploration of careers after law school is critical in a post-recession landscape, especially with reports that only 23% of law students find their investment in law school was worth the cost. This session aims to show how to help students navigate the differences between private practice areas, public interest law, and government work, in addition to the many other options within the legal field. As more applicants are choosing to wait a few years before attending law school after undergrad, what are some of the legal careers available without a J.D. to encourage that exploration? The session will cover a variety of institutional programs that can be utilized to encourage the exploration of legal careers among pre-law students (e.g. for-credit courses; online learning communities; student run clubs), discuss the advantages/disadvantages of these approaches, and examine strategies to develop administrative “buy-in” for these programs.

Fostering Career Ownership in Law Students “The Roadmap to Employment” and Other Professional Development Initiatives within Legal Education

The Foundations for Practice Report from Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers highlights the importance of a variety of character traits and relationship skills for early career lawyers. One of the key traits of lawyers who are finding success in the law is self-directedness or “ownership” one’s career. This session will focus on the Roadmap to Employment project at the University of St. Thomas School of Law which focuses on fostering “career ownership” among second-semester, first-year law students. It also will discuss the array of similar professional development initiatives finding traction at a few dozen law schools around the country.

Advising Alumni: Incorporating Alumni Needs into Pre-Law Advising

Nationwide, the trend has become that more law school applicants are applying after graduating with a bachelor’s degree than those who are applying while undergraduates. As a result, pre-law advisors are faced with expanding our impact to our undergraduate alumni, which presents unique needs and challenges. This session will discuss the unique needs of pre-law alumni populations as well as solutions to help pre-law advisors maximize their advising relationships with those individuals.

Addressing Mental Health Issues in Pre-Law Advisees

As awareness of mental health issues among pre-law and law students is becoming more prevalent, it is incumbent upon pre-law advisors and law schools to be prepared to recognize these issues and to work with these students. This session will provide a brief overview of national mental health statistics for undergraduates, law students, and the legal profession, introduce pre-law advisors to the ABA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Toolkit, discuss the importance of treatment, disclosure, etc. as it relates to the law school application character and fitness questions, and offer suggestions of how to incorporate this information into best practices in pre-law advising.

Pre-Law Transfer Project: Innovative Strategies to Collaborate with Community Colleges

In Fall 2018, the Pre-Law Transfer Project website will launch, providing a one-stop portal for transfer students, community college advisors, and university pre-law programs to share and exchange information. Many transfer students are first generation in college students, who arrive at their universities as juniors having had little or no pre-law advising. A survey in 2015 of the pre-law advisors listed in LSAC found that the vast majority of community colleges did not offer a dedicated pre-law advisor. Even when a community college has a volunteer staff or faculty member serving as ad hoc pre-law advisor, they are unlikely to have the resources or training to develop their own pre-law materials. This session will introduce the new website and explore additional ways in which the pre-law advising community can support the community college student population.

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