Pre-Law Program - Miami University

February 2013

In this issue:

New Courses Offered for Pre-Law Students

Pre-law students see benefits of Law Day Fair

Alumni Spotlight: Mark Thompson

Senior Spotlights

White & Case LLP/DSM Manila Pre-Law Program Internship Abroad

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From the Director’s Desk

Dear Alumni,

Spring Semester is now in full swing and I find myself reflecting on this past fall and my first full semester serving as Miami’s Pre-Law Program Director.   I am privileged to be the Program’s second Director, building upon the strong foundation started just a few years ago with the creation of the Pre-Law Program.  Being new to Miami, I learned a couple things last semester that all of you have known for quite some time:  Miami has extremely talented students, and Miami’s alumni are some of the most dedicated and engaged I have ever met.  As we enter into the Pre-Law Program’s sixth full year, the Program continues its great tradition of advising pre-law students as they determine the next step on their journeys—whether it be choosing a major, preparing for the LSAT, attending law school, Teach for America, a Fulbright Scholarship, or choosing an alternate course altogether. 

Miami’s pre-law seniors have been more successful than ever in the law school admissions process.  97% of seniors who applied to law school for the 2011-2012 academic year were accepted to one or more law schools; nearly 13% of seniors were accepted to Top 25 law schools; 25.8% of seniors were accepted to Tier 1 law schools; and 53.8% of seniors were accepted to Tier 2 law schools.  And, while the Program remains enthusiastically committed to serving these students who have embraced law as a career choice,  it is equally committed to ensuring that pre-law students have knowledge of the important facts concerning legal education and the legal market to determine whether law is truly the right path for them. 

To this end, we have enlisted the help of our alumni, some of whom serve on the Program’s Alumni Advisory Board that met this past October, and others who volunteered their time last semester to talk about their own experiences and areas of practice with the 105 students enrolled in PLW 101: Exploring Careers in Law.  By connecting our pre-law students with those, like you, who came before them, students are not only exposed to the diversity of the legal profession, but encouraged to think critically about whether law is something they want to continue to explore.

And, explore they have, both at home and abroad.  Miami students attended the Program’s annual Law Day in October, where they had the opportunity to meet with representatives from over 75 law schools from around the country and attend a mock law class taught by a law school professor.  This past summer, two Miami pre-law students interned with White & Case’s DSM Manila operations in Manila, Philippines.  The Pre-Law Program will be sending two more students to Manila this summer. 

In my short tenure as Director, I have found that it is the connections made between our talented pre-law students and our dedicated and engaged alumni that make the most impression on our students.  I look forward to continuing to serve Miami pre-law students as they find their way in this changing legal landscape, and I hope that you will join me!

With warm regards,

Maria P. Vitullo, Esq.

Director, Miami University Pre-Law Program


New Courses Offered for Pre-Law Students
Exposing, Educating, And Equipping Our Students

PLW 101: Exploring Careers in Law
Beginning in their first year, students can now explore their interest in law in PLW 101: Exploring Careers in Law, a Pre-Law Program course designed to expose students to the diversity of the legal profession through guest speakers who work in a variety of fields, including criminal prosecution and defense, law firm litigation, public interest law, business and in-house counsel work. 

This past fall, 105 students participated in the course.  Twenty-five percent (25%) of students who responded to a class survey upon completion of the course indicated that, because of the class, they were less inclined to stay pre-law and go to law school.  This is a great result!  Learning early on whether law is the right career choice through PLW 101 allows students to make the most educated choices about the direction of their studies during their remaining time at Miami.

What students are saying:

“This presentation gave me a new perspective on the roles and responsibilities of prosecutors. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to learn more about them, and could see myself pursuing a career as a prosecutor.”

“I didn’t realize there were so many different types of law! This course really helped expose me to different types and taught me a lot about them.”

“It really helped me get a feel for the different aspects of law and what I do and do not like.”


PLW 401: Preparing for a Career in Law
Miami seniors who apply to law school can now learn to navigate their way through the admissions process in PLW 401: Preparing for a Career in Law, a course that equips students with information necessary to complete competitive law school applications. This past semester, 35 seniors participated in the course.

What students are saying:

“This workshop allowed me to test my ideas, refine them, and redirect myself in the direction my personal statement needed to go.”

“It covered all aspects, and really made certain issues a priority over others. I really understood what I have to get done.”

“First-hand information from law school admissions professionals was great.”

Pre-law students see benefits of Law Day Fair
Seventy-seven law schools nationwide registered to meet with Miami University's pre-law students at the annual Law Day Fair this past fall — nearly double from last year's 42 law schools. Students took advantage of the opportunity to speak with law school representatives and saw direct benefit from the day's events.
Law Day video

Alumni Spotlight: Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson, a second year law student at The University of Chicago Law School, is a 2011 Miami graduate. He majored in Political Science and minored in Philosophy, and discusses how Miami helped prepare him for law school and legal practice.  Be sure to check out his video here.



Senior Spotlights
Life After Miami...

Joseph Bushur
MAJORS: English Literature and Theatre
ACTIVITIES: “I perform with Miami University's improv comedy group, Sketched Out, (of which I am also co-president) and I act in Department of Theatre productions.”
PRE-LAW HIGHLIGHT: “The Pre-Law Program has been an incredibly valuable resource. The program has helped me map out a strategy for conquering the LSAT and applying to law schools. It offers incredible resources and acts as a  sounding board for thinking about my personal statements and refining my resume. When I received an invitation to interview with an admissions representative over Skype, the program prepared me to tackle the questions they were likely to throw at me. In addition, I have attended presentations by some of the speakers brought in by the Program, which have helped me think about paying for law school.”
NEXT STEP: “Law school! I am still receiving my admissions and financial aid decisions. So far I've been accepted at Harvard, NYU, Penn and several others. I ultimately would like to practice public interest law.”

Priya Mehta
MAJOR: Diplomacy and Global Politics; MINOR: History
ACTIVITIES: “I'm involved with Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity on campus, as well as Amicus Curiae Pre-Law Society. This past summer I participated in the Urban Leadership Internship Program through Miami's Honors program and worked with two non-profits in Cleveland.”
PRE-LAW HIGHLIGHT: “The Director has been an amazing resource for me this year during the application process and her wealth of knowledge is definitely something each pre-law student should tap into, especially if they are unsure about what schools to apply to!”
NEXT STEP: “I'm still figuring out what I will do post-graduation, but I have a few options.  I've been accepted into several law schools in Ohio and the surrounding states.  Also, I'm a finalist for the 2013-2014 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship for Mexico and Teach for America.”

Jenny Warmoltz
MAJORS: Political Science and Environmental Science
ACTIVITIES: “I have been a swimmer for the varsity women's swim team all four years. Over this past summer, I was also an intern for Representative Steve Stivers (Ohio's 15th District) and had a great time learning the ins and outs of congressional settings.”
PRE-LAW HIGHLIGHT: “Prior to this year I had not fully utilized Miami's Pre-Law Program, but I am so glad I used all of its resources this year. Beginning the process applying to law school at the end of my junior year, I was unaware of how to go about many things. The Pre-Law Program provided me with information such as what to expect from the admissions process at various law schools, an advisor to discuss concerns and get advice from (Ms. Vitullo), and the reasonable expectations to have about the cost, and outcome, of attending law school.”
NEXT STEP: “I applied to law schools this fall, and have chosen to attend the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University next year.”

Ethan Weber
MAJOR:  Political Science; MINOR: Business Law
ACTIVITIES: Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, Adopt-a-School
PRE-LAW HIGHLIGHT: “The biggest advantage with the Pre-Law Program is the Director’s knowledge. Her knowledge of the admissions process and availability to answer questions, proof drafts, and advise on applications is invaluable. I did not take advantage of the office early in my career at Miami, knowing very well that I originally wanted to go to law school, but realized it was a crucial resource in my application process.”
NEXT STEP: “I was given the opportunity to work for Teach For America in Miami-Dade, FL for the next two years teaching underserved students English. The best thing about TFA is their partnership with virtually every law school in the nation allowing me to have a deferral on my admissions decision until my commitment is over. TFA also allows me to complete a M.Ed. in two years, greatly widening my prospective options beyond just a JD.”

Jonathan Wheeler
MAJOR: English Literature; MINOR: Business Legal Studies
ACTIVITIES: “This is my second year as the President of Diversity Affairs Council and Associated Student Government (ASG) Secretary for Diversity Affairs. I'm also a senior editor for The Crucible: A Miami University Multicultural Publication.”
PRE-LAW HIGHLIGHT: “Miami's pre-law office has helped me more effectively understand how law schools learn about applicants from the different components of applicants' applications. Although it may seem like the different components of an applicant's application are self-explanatory, I didn't realize the importance of using every part of the application as an opportunity to convey something to law schools that I didn't express someplace else. The pre-law office made very clear that I should communicate the breadth of my ability to thrive in law school rather than emphasizing only the most salient parts of my ability to contribute to legal academia.”
NEXT STEP: “I will, hopefully, be somewhere I enjoy living and studying, and I will, hopefully, be doing something that significantly contributes to the advancement of everything that preoccupies me.”

White & Case LLP/DSM Manila Pre-Law Program Internship Abroad
This past summer, two Miami pre-law students had the opportunity to spend a few days in White & Cases’s NYC office for an orientation, then travel to Manila, Philippines where they rotated through three departments of DSM Manila, a subsidiary of White & Case, to learn about the inter-workings of a large, global law firm.

Lindsey Ruff, a senior Sociology major, and Nina Bianchi, a senior Finance major, were the first two Miami students selected to participate in this unique opportunity. They rotated through the firm’s conflicts, finance and marketing departments while in Manila.

“Undergraduate students who are interested in law school should definitely take advantage of this program,” said Ruff. “There are not many opportunities for undergraduate internships at law firms and it is great to go abroad. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. We got to see how law firms work behind the scenes. There are so many different departments of an internal office and I will definitely be one step ahead of other students my age.”

Ruff plans to attend DePaul University College of Law in Chicago this fall.

The Pre-Law Program will partner with White & Case again this year to send two more students to the Philippines this summer for this 7-week paid internship.