Happy Family Day + Exec Feature #6

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Good afternoon, Pre-lawyers!

From our Pre-Law family to yours, we wanted to wish everybody a happy Family Day and hope that you have all had the opportunity to spend some time with your loved ones.We would like to start off the week by featuring one of our own family members – our awesome treasurer Kurtis Harms.

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Kurtis is currently in his fifth and final year of studies in Mechanical Engineering and International Relations. He is particularly interested in trying to bridge his engineering background with the field of law, perhaps in the capacity of legal consulting for engineering projects. We asked Kurtis a few questions about his inspirations and involvement with law studies:

Q: What inspired you to want to pursue law school?
A: Growing up, I had a keen interest in science/technology, but I also loved studying history and the legal, societal and political ramifications that have influenced our past, and continue to shape our future. For several years, I struggled with how to combine two very different passions into a career.

Then, around Grade 10, I met and learned of engineers who now worked in law and commerce. I realized that a unique path in law, one that encompassed technology and business, was something that I was really passionate about. Even as I applied for a degree in engineering, I also purchased my first LSAT books from the sale bin at the library. I’ve had those books sitting on my bookshelf for the past five years, and now and again I’ve brushed them off!!

Studying mechanical engineering at UBC has reinforced my original motives to pivot my career into law; while I think that both math and science serve many wonderful and fundamental roles in society, they can, in my view, also offer a somewhat limited perspective. I know that many students approach the legal profession with a different background than my own, but I think that’s what also makes law so unique: it’s one of the few professions that truly spans every background, and that’s because it’s applicable to every aspect of our society. I am really motivated to work in an area of law that bridges my background in engineering with a legal career, and have been working towards that goal for five years now!

Q: How did you first get started with Pre-law Society?
A: I attended the UBC Pre-Law Society’s “Admissions Night” event at the beginning of my second year. At that point, I already knew that I wanted to pursue law, but still hadn’t put much thought into how I would achieve that. The nature of my undergrad studies (engineering) was such that I wasn’t surrounded by students interested in law, and it made me want to join a community of students on-campus that shared my goal and would give me focus in pursuing this dream! It’s been a great balance over the past few years, having that unique perspective for my future beyond undergrad through the Pre-Law Society.

Q: What do you like best about Pre-Law Society?
A: I love how the Pre-Law Society offers both involvement and academic support that directly furthers one’s career. It’s wonderful to meet and share stories with other motivated students interested in law, and to also have the opportunity to gain knowledge about the pursuit of the legal profession from law school advisors and lawyers themselves! On an everyday basis, I find myself surrounded with very like-minded people within my faculty, but the legal professional truly seems to attract an intriguingly diverse set of personalities, and I feel that the Pre-Law Society is really unique in sharing that perspective at the undergrad level.

Q: What does your ideal journey to becoming a lawyer look like?
A: I have seriously debated the trade-off between applying directly for law school out of undergrad, or building some work experience which I could use to position myself in a more specialized field of law. I think there are merits to both routes, but am currently pursuing direct entry into law school following my undergraduate degree. However, it is really challenging to be able to properly study for the LSAT while still in-school! I made the mistake of not dedicating time the summer before graduation (last summer) to prep for it and, if you cannot do that, I then think that taking the year off is advisable.

I hope to work in engineering legal consulting and technology/business law. I can definitely see myself pursuing a JD/MBA combined degree, which is an increasingly popular option offered by many law schools. I don’t have a crystal ball of the future, but I don’t necessarily see myself working in a traditional “big law” firm in my long-term career. Perhaps I’ll pursue a more consultancy-based role, or eventually work within a more specialized firm.

Q: What advice can you give others taking the LSAT and pursuing law?
A: First, make the decision of whether you want to go to school in Canada or the United States. There are significant differences in application requirements to get into a good Canadian school versus a good American school, and most advice you’ll see online about studying for the LSAT and preparing a strong application is geared towards admissions to American universities. American schools tend to require more competitive LSAT scores, and also place less weight on GPA in favour of extra-curricular involvement. As somebody who was at first convinced that I wanted to study law in the United States, I’ve recently realized that there are also many drawbacks to studying law in the States if you want to ever come back to Canada and practice law here. It’s often easier to study in law in Canada and then move to the States, if that’s something you are interested in, than to do the reverse!

Buying the official LSAT PrepTests are the best investment I’ve made for preparation… even the old ones are quite applicable, I’ve found. At the end of the day, I think the only really good way to study for the LSAT is just to force yourself to do those old exams, and after each exam, try to learn from your mistakes. LSATHacks.com is a fabulous website with complete step-by-step solutions for many of the exams; definitely use this as a resource! And make sure you time yourself: they don’t allow digital watches/alarms into the LSAT exam, so I recommend buying a cheap bezel or chronograph watch from Amazon and practicing with that, because that’s what you will have on test day!

Q: What are some of your favourite places at UBC to hang out and study? 
A: You’ll often find me in the “Harry Potter Room” of the Irving Library, the Life Sciences building if I’m looking for a spatial study area, or the Agora Cafe, which is hidden in the basement of the Macmillan Building. The Land and Food Systems (LFS) students entirely run it! I think the Agora Cafe is a real hidden gem on-campus; at all times of day, it smells of fresh baking, and every Wednesday night they offer dinner made by the LFS students!

Amid studying and applying for law schools, you can often find Kurtis working on robotic sailbots and cycling downtown and around Stanley Park! He also loves playing piano, going on hikes and, more than anything else, loves to travel. Be sure to say hi to Kurtis at our upcoming events!

Happy New Year + Exec Feature #5 – Joseph Braun, VP Sponsorship

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Happy New Year, Pre-lawyers!

If you enjoyed your time with us in the first semester, you’ll be beyond excited for us in semester two. We’ve got all kinds of exciting events all throughout February and March, including law firm visits, court visits (a first!), information sessions, LSAT preparation sessions, and last but not least, our signature Wine and Cheese event to end off the year. We hope you’re looking forward to it as much as we are.

To start off 2016, we would like to feature our lovely VP Sponsorship, Joseph Braun, who works alongside our other VP Sponsorship Arsham to bring together valuable sponsor events and secure the partnerships that Pre-Law Society has throughout the year.

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Joseph is currently entering his 4th year at UBC, majoring in civil engineering and minoring in commerce. He was born in Mexico City, and for the majority of his life desired to become a practising engineer. It was not until recently when he uncovered his passion for litigation, critical thinking and customer interaction would be more congruent with a career in law! He is extremely excited about this new finding, and hopes to attend UBC’s school of law in 2016. We asked him a few questions about his  journey and plans with UBC and law in general: 

Q: What inspired you to want to pursue law school?

A: For the majority of my life desired I to become a practising engineer. It was not until recently when I uncovered my passion for litigation, critical thinking and customer interaction would be very congruent with a career in law. Upon this realization, I began to research the objectives of law school, namely, the attributes the schools hope to equip their graduates with. I instantly knew that these skills would undoubtedly allow me to further excel, while serving the community and promoting the values of a just, civil, and sustainable society. Like most, I’ve always wanted to help those around me and have a positive impact on society. In order to accomplish this, I believe we have to build our skillset as much as possible, and law school is my next step n truing to achieve this.

 

Q: How did you first get started with Pre-law Society?

A: About a year and half ago, as I began to uncover my passion for law I started to do some research on law related opportunities at UBC. I came across the Pre-Law Society’s website and began to read their history and mission. I immediately felt an internal desire to get involved with the Society; it felt like the exact thing I needed to further develop this newfound interest. It was sheer coincidence this occurred about a week before the deadline for resume submissions to become an executive team member. I excitedly prepared my resume, and submitted it, and well the rest is history!

 

Q: What do you like best about Pre-Law Society?

A: It’s difficult to peg a single item, however, I would have to say what I like best about the Pre-Law society is the fact I can surround myself with dedicated, hardworking and friendly individuals who all share the same strong desire to uphold the values and ethics of law. Not only have I had the privilege of building strong relationships with the Executive team, but I have also had the opportunity to uphold the Society’s mission and help our members find their careers in Law. Having to decide on a career path is an extremely stressful, and uncertain event for most (it definitely was for me). I believe the Society’s events help to paint a picture in our member’s minds about the reality of attending law school, and ultimately being a practising lawyer, and hopefully helps guide them towards an appropriate career choice.

 

Q:What does your ideal journey to becoming a lawyer look like? (undergrad program? Co-op? internship? take a year off? which law school? which field? etc.)

A: If all goes well, I hope to graduate in April with a degree in civil engineering after which I plan on travelling for a about a month (or two!). Upon returning, I will begin to study for my LSAT and will write it for the first time in October of 2016. Although I am confident in my desire to attend law school, I am yet to hone in on the specific area of law in which I wish to practice. For this reason, after writing my LSAT, I will be searching for an internship at a law firm, which I hope will last approximately a year. Not only do I love Vancouver, but UBC Law also offers a dual JD and MBA program, which I hope to be accepted to in September of 2017. My dream would be to article in Vancouver and be hired by an International firm.

 

Q: What are some of your favourite places at UBC (hang out, study?)

A: I find myself at the Boulevard Coffee Roasting Co. all to frequently, and I would definitely say it’s my favourite place to grab a coffee and relax (they have great sandwiches too!). They’re located on University Boulevard near Mahoney’s, giving you a good excuse to take a well-deserved study break. Whenever I study on campus, I tend to find myself at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre book stacks. I get distracted way too easily, and need to study in a very quiet environment, so I find the book stacks very comfortable.  After a hard days work, there is a strong chance you can find me at Koerner’s Pub. Although it’s a bit of a walk, especially in last weeks freezing weather, the student run atmosphere and great food makes it my favourite place to unwind.

When Joseph has free time, he spends most of it exploring his culinary interests, catching up with current events, and riding his bike around the city. Some interesting/funny things about him are that he can’t snap, has a peculiar obsession with moving water and was once stung by a scorpion! Be sure to say hi to him at our Pre-Law events! 

Semester Wrap-Up + Wishing You Good Luck!

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As we all prepare for the sleepless nights and endless coffees as finals approach, we at Pre-Law are bitter-sweet about wrapping up what has been an awesome semester so far. Looking back, we could not have asked for a better executive team, such a supportive, enthusiastic group of members, and a better line up of amazing sponsors, delegates and students who have been the reason for all our successful events to date!

Here is a quick month-by-month recap of the events we’ve had so far..

September
– School year kick off: Admissions Night at Allard Hall

October
UBC Law Midterm Social at the Pint
– Challenges From Abroad: Bringing an Overseas Degree Home with Kerry Sheppard

November
UBC Pre-Law and PSSA Present: Princeton LSAT Review 
UBC Pre-Law and Powerscore Present: LSAT Overview
Life of a Law Student with UBC law students

And here are our expected list of events to take place in the second semester…

January/February
– Law Firm/Court Visits
– External Pre-Law Social

February/March
– LSAT Review/Overview Events

End of March
– Our signature Wine and Cheese networking event (aren’t we unbelievably excited for this one!) to wrap it all up.

And there it is, pre-lawyers – we’re signing off for the semester. We wanted to thank you again and remind you that we couldn’t have had such a great year without all your interest and support. Last but not least, we wish you the best of luck with all your final exams and we can’t wait to see you again in the new year! 🙂

November Events Recap – Featuring: Life of a Law Student

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Hey there, Pre-lawyers!

And in the blink of an eye, the semester has gone by and we are all busy with our nose in the books preparing for those final exams. It’s that time of the semester again, however, where we’d like to look back at the past month and feature some of our biggest events and give you a recap of what we’ve done – especially if you were unable to make it to some of these events. For the month of November, we’d like to feature one of our most popular events: Life of a Law Student (check out the link for a more detailed event description)!

On November 17th, we introduced a panel of six current UBC law school students varying from 1L to 3L to share their experiences and advice with regards to law school and UBC law in particular. Our panelists were: Rachel Lehman – 3L, Tommy Chan – 3L, Alyssa Leung – 2L, Maryanna Dinh – 1L, Faisal Al-Alamy – 1L, and Aashish Kohli – 1L.

We learned some very interesting things:

Admissions

  • The vast majority (90%) of students who enter UBC Law come from the undergraduate Arts faculty. The rest are a combination of Science and Commerce students.
  • That being said, a commerce student or science student is not necessarily at a disadvantage because they are the minority.
  • UBC Law is very numbers-based; they mostly consider only transcript grades and LSAT scores for admission. In particular, they weigh GPA and LSAT at 50-50. Sometimes, however, reference letters and past work experiences are considered. On the other hand, other Law schools tend to take into consideration extra-curricular activities.
  • The Discretionary Category option allows a student whose grades have been negatively affected by life hardships to better justify entry into UBC Law.

The LSAT’s 

  • In general, there is no one or best way to study for the LSAT’s. It is highly dependent on where you start off in terms of the LSAT standard as well as your specific learning and study habits.
  • Practice (timed) LSAT’s are highly recommended to help you better gauge your current position, your strengths and weaknesses, and to mimic the exam conditions.
  • Like most subjects, there is a diminishing return of performance measure with time spent studying.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, the time pressure is a bigger factor in determining performance rather than the questions itself. As quoted by one panelist, “if all of us had all the time we needed to do the LSAT, we would all get 100%!”
  • While different people require different preparation times, 3-4 months is generally a good amount of time to spend preparing for the LSAT.
  • Apart from UBC and Pre-law resources, some other LSAT preparation resources include: PowerScore, Princeton, Kaplan, Blueprint, and Options Solutions. These resources generally provide courses, practice tests, mentoring, and consultation. It is not always necessary to use external resources for preparation, however.
  • Do not be taken aback by your first LSAT score if you are unhappy with it – there are usually two more opportunities to learn from the experience and be better prepared for the next one.
  • It doing a practice LSAT, it is highly recommended to replicate the actual exam environment, even including room temperature, the time of day, and (!) the layout of your pens, pencils and anything else on your desk. You will find that everything gets very routine after months of practicing for the LSAT.
  • UBC Law takes your best LSAT score out of 3 attempts; but note that not all Law schools evaluate the LSAT score the same way.

Social Life at UBC Law 

  • In your first year, you are placed in all your classes with the same 45 students, so there are tons of opportunities to make close friends! In fact, some panelists liken UBC Law to a high school!
  • Law students are more social than you think – work hard, play hard, right?
  • UBC Law hosts many social events throughout the year; for example, they host an annual week-long event before final exams called “We Love Law Students”, where staff bring food, students get free massages and an opportunity to play with puppies – all funded by the school!

The Law School Experience

  • Yes, it’s competitive.. but not as competitive as you might guess. Students love to help each other out because almost everybody understands that they will end up with a good career either way.
  • Readings, readings, readings. This takes up the vast majority of the homework to be done at law school. The good thing, however, is that the readings are extremely interesting, so that they don’t really feel like homework at all!
  • There are no midterms in law school – just final exams. This is compelling for procrastinator students, but do not succumb!
  • Like undergraduate school, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in curricular. By this time, you would’ve already learned how to time-manage well, so it would be a good experience to get involved!
  • First year classes are all mandatory, but for the most part in your second and third year, you have the freedom to pick and choose from a wide variety of classes that interest you.
  • With all this study talk, it is extremely important to balance your life – “me time” is essential in creating an enjoyable law school experience. Some suggestions? Exercise, socialize at a bar or restaurant, have trivia nights, or indulge in the good ol’ Netflix.
  • If you thought getting an A in undergraduate school was tough, it is next to impossible in law school. With such a tight curve, achieving a B+ is one of the best grades. Don’t fret, however, because law firms hiring graduates tend to evaluate a student relative to their peers, not in absolute terms.

Finding a Job 

  • Students looking to practice after graduation must have completed an Articling term in their second year.
  • Recruitment for Articling students happens in the fall of 2nd year, and it is an incredibly intense and competitive time of year. Selection is partially based on grades (Downtown Vancouver law firms tend to require a 73-75% average), but a large part is based on personality and cultural fit, as well as passion for that particular field of law.
  • Contrary to common belief, the things you learn in law school apply only modestly to what you would deal with in your actual job; more often than not, the hiring mentality tends to be “hire for fit, train for skill.”

Life of a Law Student was an incredibly popular event this year once again, and we were ecstatic to see so much support from our fellow members! For those of you who couldn’t make it, we hope that this recap was helpful, and we certainly hope to see you at our future events!

Until next time, Pre-Lawyers!

Exec Feature #4: VP Events, Ashley Brown

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Behind all the well-executed events are two of Pre-Law’s hardworking VP Events. Today, we are happy to feature our first VP Events, Ashley Brown!

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As a fourth year student at UBC, Ashley is majoring in International Relations with the goal of attending law school in the fall of 2017. Since she was a child, Ashley has always wanted to follow her dad’s footsteps and become a lawyer. This past summer she had an internship at one of Canada’s leading personal injury firms, Slater Vecchio, where she assisted lawyers in preparing for trials and mediations, among other things. Along with being the VP Events for the UBC Pre-Law Society, Ashley is the VP Membership of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, as well as a volunteer coach for Special Olympics BC and an assistant math teacher for Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

We asked Ashley some questions about her journey and plans with UBC and law:

 

Q: What inspired you to want to pursue law school?

A: My dad has always been an extremely important role model in my life. He is a lawyer and for as long as I can remember I’ve been a daddy’s girl and wanted to follow his footsteps. Going through life with a physical disability he has continuously proved his doubters wrong, and has faced all challenges with determination and perseverance.  I look up to him for everything in my life, and hope to be just half the person he is. Because of this it has alway just seemed right to pursue a career in law.

 

Q: What do you like best about the UBC Pre-Law Society?
A: What I most like about the UBC Pre-Law Society is the ability to network with fellow undergrads who have the same ideals and goals that I do. I always love seeing fellow members connect with one another, but also wanting to connect with and join our Executive Team. UBC is a big community to be a part of – it can be intimidating, but also lonely. I love that within our society we are able to provide an environment for like-minded people to connect, but also inspire students to follow their dreams.

 

Q: What does your ideal journey to becoming a lawyer look like?
A: After I graduate with my BA in International Relations, I hope to take a few months to travel Europe. This is something I want to get done before the rush of law school and articling takes over. I would love to attend Allard School of Law, as that is where my dad went, but I am pretty much open to any of the Canadian Law Schools (although I am terrified of the winters of Eastern Canada). Last year I met someone that had clerked for a judge within the Canadian court system and that sparked an interest for me. So, it would be ideal to clerk for some time. I do want to pursue a career in law, most likely within a corporate field. That being said, my last two internships have been at Personal Injury firms, which is also a big interest for me. Articling, and ultimately being hired, at an international corporate firm is my goal. And from there, who knows… maybe some day I will have the title of “The Honourable Madame Justice” hehe!

Q: What are some of your favourite places at UBC to hang out and study?
A: Ridington Room (Harry Potter Room) will always be my study sanctuary.

 

Ashley adopts an ambitious and generous mindset with her goal of becoming a partner at a top international firm that improves the lives of those living with physical and intellectual disabilities. She also enjoys staying active by playing tennis and soccer. A fun fact about her is that she has been to 30+ concerts in her lifetime and is a huge Classic Rock fan! 
Ashley is looking forward to a year full of engaging events and can’t wait to network with all the other motivated members of the society! Be sure to catch her at Life of a Law Student on Nov 17th!

Pre-Law Society has had an amazing semester so far – what about you?

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Hey Pre-Lawyers! Want to hear something crazy? IT’S ALREADY NOVEMBER. Can you believe it? With that, Pre-Law Society has had an exciting time so far hosting a series of awesome events that many of you came out to. In particular, we hosted two major events – Admissions Night, and Challenges from Abroad by Kerry Sheppard (check out the links for an overview!). For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ve taken the opportunity to gather some interesting things we learned from those events and post it up on our blog for you to read:

Sept 30th: Admissions Night

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Pre-Law’s Admissions Night was an evening where representatives of Law Schools in Canada came together to answer students’ questions about the various standards of getting into each individual law school. Like all years past, this year was a success yet again! We had over 150 attendees, and our representatives came from law schools from both Canada and the United States. Law schools included:

    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Victoria
    • University of Calgary
    • Dalhousie University
    • Washington State University
    • University of Toronto, and
    • Western University

Each representative gave brief overviews of their respective application processes, and what they are looking for in candidates. Here are some things we learned (credits to our Executive Assistant, Isabella P., for taking these notes!)

  • Many of the Canadian universities hold heavy weight towards an applicant’s GPA and LSAT score, and use the extracurricular sections of individuals less onerously.
  • With regard to the University of British Columbia, the student’s cumulative GPA and LSAT score are weighted, “50/50”, suggesting the ability of a student with a lower GPA to be admitted with an excellent score on the LSAT. This was echoed across the panel, and representatives stressed the importance of both aspects towards the application.
  • With regard to the personal profile of applicants, all panelists implored that individuals not simply regurgitate their resume, but take the time to let the admissions committee learn about yourself.
  • The biggest pet peeve of the Western representative’s personal statements is when applicants copy paste their statement from other schools, and don’t write the name of the correct institution!
  • Other pet peeves included bad grammar, not being genuine with your statement’s application, and trying to exceed the limit by decreasing font size.
  • Following the Question and Answer period, students were able to meet with the panelists and receive materials from the respective schools, including hand-outs, pens, notebooks, and sunglasses!

Oct 29th: Challenges from Abroad with Kerry Sheppard

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Challenges from Abroad features an afternoon led by Kerry Sheppard, a lawyer at DLA Piper Canada, who came in to provide valuable information to students regarding bringing a law degree from overseas back to Canada.

Kerry Sheppard went to the University of Victoria for his undergraduate studies as well as law school, and has over 30 years of experience in the law business doing litigation, solicitation, in-house counsel, government, and in both big and small private firms. He is currently the director of student programs at DLA Piper Canada, recruiting and training articled students as well as recruiting second year law students to become summer students.

Kerry’s talk focused mostly on BC, but is generally applicable to most of Canada as well.

Here are some interesting things we learned from him (credits to our VP Events, Ashley B., for taking notes!):

  • If a student is looking to practice in BC, then it would be to their advantage to focus on going to school in BC.
  • The Law Society of BC has rules that make becoming a lawyer more complex for out-of-country law students.
  • The Law Society of BC’s process of becoming a lawyer:
    • Get your (ideally Canadian) JD from a Law School.
      • Note: An out-of-country JD has additional steps to follow!
    • Complete Articles:
      • In BC, a student must complete an articling term (1 year) with a lawyer in practice
      • An articling period consists of 9 months of working in a law firm under guidance/ supervision of lawyers. The rest of the year (3 months) is completed by enrolling in and passing the Professional Legal Training Course (PLTC) administered by the Law Society.
    • Get called to to the bar.
  • In securing an articling term, Canadian law schools are, on average, more attractive from a BC law firm’s perspective. But why is this so?
    • Because BC law firms are more familiar with local law programs and understand what programs they offer, their strengths, the quality of the program, etc.
  • Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that out-of-country applications are completely invalid! It just means that they are not as familiar with the school and may or may not know its program’s strengths and qualities.
  • If you want to practice in Vancouver, there is tremendous advantage by going to UBC Law (Allard School of Law). The professors who teach the course tend to come from the local legal community and it becomes easier to build a good network of connections in the city.
  • When Kerry looks at resumes, he looks for:
    • Interpersonal communication skills
    • Listening skills
    • Interest/ Motivation
    • Volunteer + work experience
    • Transcripts
  • On average, there are about 100 applications per 1 articling position available. In other words, it gets pretty competitive!
  • So… what if you DO choose to study abroad and bring your degree back to Canada?
    • You must go through the accreditation process through the NCA (more information here).
    • Note that the NCA is fairly resource-consuming – the entire process takes about a year on average and costs a few thousand dollars.

It’s been an exciting month at Pre-Law Society, but the awesome events aren’t over yet. Check out Life of a Law Student coming up on November 17th and get your questions answered about attending law school at the Allard School of Law (UBC), and keep counting down the days to our end-of-year signature event: Wine and Cheese 2016!

We hope you’ve been having as awesome of a semester as we have!

Exec Feature #3: VP Marketing, Fiona Wong

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Our third executive feature is of our incredibly involved and talented VP Marketing, Fiona Wong. Fiona is the hard work and dedication behind Pre-Law’s creative designs and social media marketing efforts.

She is a fourth year International Relations student intending to pursue a law degree after obtaining her BA, specializing in international, human rights, or criminal law. Throughout undergrad, she has been actively involved with World Vision UBC, UBC Political Science Student Association, Free the Children, Hong Kong Students’ Association, and UBC Orientations. Passionate about poverty and human rights issues, Fiona has also fundraised annually for the 30 Hour Famine and taught English in rural China. After spending third year abroad on two exchanges to the Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Manchester, and the past summer as a flight attendant, Fiona is humbled, and thrilled to serve on both the Pre-Law executive team and the UBC Model United Nations Secretariat for the 2015-2016 year.

We asked her a few additional questions regarding her current experience with UBC, and future aspirations with regard to law:

Question: What inspired you to want to pursue law school?
Answer: I really enjoy helping others, particularly those that are less fortunate than us. I become increasingly frustrated with inequality in society and this motivates me to speak up, and reach out to people because I believe everyone can make a difference in any given situation. Inequality occurs most often due to a lack of resources and opportunities, but more so due to a lack of knowledge. An education in law will deepen my understanding of why inequality exists, and allow me to protect not only my own, but the wellbeing of others as well.

Question: How did you first get started with Pre-Law Society?
Answer: I joined the club in first year as a general member, and when applications opened up I applied and accepted the position as VP Marketing. I’ve been in the same position for 3 years now, and it’s great being able to integrate my pastime hobby of designing graphics with this academic organization that I am truly passionate about.

Question: What do you like best about Pre-Law Society?
Answer: I met some of my closest friends in university through Pre-Law Society. Our executive team does a lot of team bonding through taking team photos, going on retreat to Harrison Lake and dinners throughout the year. I really like interacting with the executive team and general members because we are all geared toward the same (if not similar) goal, and that is to eventually pursue law school. Seeing classmates attend the events we plan throughout the year is quite rewarding as well!

Question: What does your ideal journey to becoming a lawyer look like?
Answer: I’m in my final year of International Relations, so after obtaining my BA I’m going to take a year off, study/take the LSAT, then spend half a year either pursuing a Legal Administrative Assistant diploma, or interning with the United Nations in Vienna or the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, before I (hopefully) begin law school!

Question: What are some of your favourite places at UBC to hang out or study?
Answer: Coincidentally, Peter A. Allard School of Law! I also like to study at Irving, especially during finals season because the students around me motivate me to work harder. I usually like to meet up with friends in the Nest as well.

Some of Fiona’s hobbies include putting her creativity to use by making cover photos for Pre-Law, yoga, photography, trying new food around her city, and travelling. A fun fact about her is that she was a flight attendant this summer with Air Canada rouge, which included skydiving in Hawaii during a layover!

Be sure to catch her at our upcoming events – Challenges From Abroad: Bringing An Overseas Degree Home (Oct 29th) and Life of a Law Student (Nov 17th)!

Midterms Survival 101 – Pre-Law is Here to Help!

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They say Vancouver has 4 seasons, but really it has 5. Welcome to midterms season, ladies and gentleman! We hope you have been coping well and adopting a headstrong mindset towards conquering these seemingly scary tests (unless you’ve taken the LSAT; in that case, midterms are probably fairly painless).

At Pre-Law society, we’re a whole group of students who are all on the same boat as you. This is why we decided to do a blog post on midterms at UBC, and share with you some of our favourite ways of getting through this busy month.

Some good places to study on campus (that aren’t ridiculously busy!)
o Group study tables outside club offices on 3rd & 4th floor of the Nest
o Woodward Library – individual study rooms
o Scarf building – study cubicles towards the back of the building on the bottom floor
o The Brock Hall library (did you even know that existed?!)
o Irving K Barber Library (upper floors)
o The Alumni Centre Café – does get busy during peak hours, but it’s beautiful if you haven’t checked it out!

Snacks and appies around UBC to get that brain moving
o Asian snack store above the bubble tea place in the village
o Qoola – By Sauder
o Upper & Lower case, The Delly – The Nest
o Biercraft and Menchies – Wesbrook Village
o Agora Café – Bottom floor of MacMillan (Run of LFS students! Local produce)
o Bean Around the World
o Loafe Café – Inside the Alumni Center
o Tim Hortons in the Forestry Building

Places to take a (much needed) study break
o Get that heart rate up – Bird Coop, Gold’s, REC, Intramurals
o Brain challenge? Braun challenge! – Rock-climbing at the Nest
o Lunch or dinner date at the Pit (Enjoy those huge flat screens, or your own personal flatscreen)
o Take a nice stroll/ bike ride by Wreck Beach
o Botanical/Rose Gardens by UBC (although, at this time of the year, you might reconsider)

Academic Resources
o Make sure to read the UBC “Live well” page
o UBC Counseling
o Student Health Service Center
o Wellness Centre
o Peer Wellness Coaching
o Friends and Family

Other advice to relieve stress
o Remember to eat! Food is tremendously important to your cognitive functioning – do not neglect it.
o Take frequent breaks. We know this is hard, but everyone has an attention span, and once you’ve hit that, your productivity dramatically decreases anyway. Taking frequent breaks will help you refresh.
o Study in (good) groups – it keeps you motivated and reminds you that you aren’t the only one going through stress; it’s best to fight it together!
o Contrary to popular beliefs, all-nights do not help to increase your chances of better grades; sleep is extremely important to brain functionality.
o If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, remember to breathe in and breathe out; take a short break.
o Don’t be hard on yourself for not getting a grade as high as you wanted. Every quiz, test an exam is a learning lesson as much as it is a form of evaluation – tons of employers value a hardworking individual with a great attitude more than one who is only book-smart.
o No one is perfect, focus on progress.

We’d love to hear some of your advice and feedback as well, so feel free to leave it in the comments!

Lastly, BEST OF LUCK!!

Exec Feature #2: Co-president, Geena Lee

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It’s that time of the month again ladies and gentleman, our next exec feature is our lovely co-president, Geena Lee!

Geena is a fourth year Political Science student with academic interests in political philosophy, legal theory, and international relations. She has been involved with the Pre-Law executive team for the past three years, during which she has worked as an executive assistant and VP events.

We asked Geena a few questions:

Question: What inspired you to want to pursue law school?

When I was in elementary school, my cousin visited our family for the summer after passing the bar in California. I barely understood what a career in law entailed at the time. Despite this, I remember being completely drawn to how passionately she spoke about her career and I began to feel a strong urge to learn more. That was probably the starting point in my interest to pursue law.
As I progressed through middle and high school, I became very involved with debate and Model United Nations. Both of these activities exposed me to a wide range of important issues and challenged my critical thinking skills. Once I arrived at UBC, I got further inspired as I broadened my understanding on how the law functions in society and the importance of legal systems in general. In particular, I was fortunate to be able to take an elective in my second year called Law and Society 204 taught by Dr. Margot Young who teaches constitutional and social justice law at the Allard School of Law at UBC. The course gave me the unique opportunity to research and analyze Charter cases and I guess you could say it ultimately confirmed that law school was definitely the path for me!

Question: How did you first get started with Pre-Law Society?

I joined in my first year as a member after spotting the Pre-Law booth on Imagine Day. I remember being super excited because I felt like I had found exactly what I was looking for – and I was right. I ended up applying to join the executive team and took on one of the executive assistant roles in my second year. I had the pleasure of working as VP Events in my third year, which then brings me to where I am now. Working with Jessica as Co-Presidents of the club has been nothing short of amazing so far. With such a strong team of talented individuals, I have no doubt that we will have a successful year.

Question: What do you like best about Pre-Law Society?

The people! Pre-Law is an excellent support system and I am grateful for all the connections I have made with members, executives, as well as the Vancouver legal community. Preparing for any career path will be stressful and law is no exception. Through Pre-Law, I am constantly reminded of the bigger picture. I love the fact that Pre-Law aims to alleviate the stresses of applying to law school and to provide students with the resources they need to achieve their
goals.

Question: What does your ideal journey to becoming a lawyer look like?

There is definitely no textbook answer to this question. One thing is for sure, though. Follow your passions. There seems to always be a lot of talk about which major is the best one to prepare you for law school, whether to go on exchange or not, or if taking a year off after graduating undergrad would be a good idea. At the end of the day, your unique experiences define and distinguish you from the crowd and if anything, you will be much more successful pursuing activities that inspire you rather than following what worked for someone else. That’s why I decided to major in Political Science – I enjoyed my poli courses the most and my genuine interest in the area naturally translated to higher grades. Aside from academics, I also strongly believe that work experience of some sort is vital. And for the first years out there, if you ever happen to find yourself in doubt over whether or not to commit to an extracurricular activity you come across, I say go for it! No time? Make time! Your experiences outside of the classroom will become increasingly valuable as time passes.
With all this being said, the bottom line is not to get fixated on a certain formula to becoming a lawyer. I tell this to myself everyday: If you are truly passionate about working in the legal field, you will get there eventually somehow!

Question: What advice can you give others taking the LSAT and pursuing law?

Two words: discipline & perseverance. The LSAT will be unlike any course material you have come across so far. Standardized exams in and of themselves can be very mentally draining as well. Work hard and stay committed to the long term goal. Don’t let the unfamiliarity of the questions and the length of the exam scare you! Put the work in and practice, practice, practice. If others have done it, you can too.

Question: What are some of your favourite places at UBC?

I recently went to Loaf Cafe in the new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre across the bookstore and fell in love. The natural light and tasteful interior makes for a perfect place to catch up with a friend in between classes. On the occasion that I really need to focus and write a bunch of papers though, no place can beat the Ridington Room in Irving, also known as the Harry Potter room!

In her free time, Geena enjoys singing, reading novels, and going on runs. And, like the superstar she is, she currently sits on the UBC Model United Nations Board of Directors and had the honour of being nominated as Secretary-General of UBCMUN 2015. Be sure to catch Geena at Pre-Law’s awesome events throughout the year!

Pre-Law Society Presents: Admissions Night!

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Am I prepared enough for applying to law school?
What unique programs does each law school offer?
Does my LSAT score or GPA weigh more?
When is the best time to take the LSAT?
MUST I complete a full 4-year undergraduate degree to apply to law school?
How important are extracurricular activities to the law school I want to attend?

If any of these questions have popped up into your mind recently, we urge you to attend our first event of the year – Admissions Night! If you’re about to apply to law school or want to feel really prepared for when you do apply, Admissions Night is a fantastic opportunity to know all the details about the process of getting admitted into law school and how to make your application stand out to the school you want. Pre-Law brings together a panel of admissions officers from law schools all over Canada (sometimes the U.S.) in order to answer all the questions you may have about getting admitted into law school. You will have an opportunity to visit their booths, chat one-on-one with the representatives, and of course, indulge in some free food. Further, this year, we’re offering to take students on a tour around our stunning venue – the Allard School of Law at UBC!

Here are some interesting general facts about admission to law schools in Canada:

  1. There are 16 law schools in Canada currently, each with a different standard of admission in terms of GPA, LSAT, and other requirements.
  2. Not all law schools have the same application deadline; the most common is November 1st, but deadlines can range from December to March.
  3. Every law school in Canada requires you to take the LSAT; some schools take the highest score, others take the average of all your test scores, etc.
  4. Typically, your application will consist of your academic and personal information, a personal statement, extracurricular activity experience, and sometimes letters of references from at least 2 professors.
  5. For UBC Law only, it is possible to get admitted after completing only 3 years of your undergraduate study (What?!)
  6. Think about the type of law you may want to specialize in – different law schools have different programs and are stronger with certain types of law.
  7. The first-level law degree (a J.D.) is 3 years long, after which students must “article” (working under supervision of a licensed lawyer for 10 months) or take the Law Practice Program (Ontario only).
  8. There are considerable differences between Canadian and U.S. law schools, so do the research and consider which path is more fitting to your goals!

Want to know more? Details for Admissions Night are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, Sept 30th (2 days from now!)

Time: 5:00 – 9:00pm (Registration opens at 4:30pm)

Location: Allard Hall (Allard School of Law, UBC) 1822 East Mall

Cost: FREE for members, $10 for non-members (includes membership for the year)

Dress Code: Business Casual preferred

More information here!

See you there!