What’s the difference between business casual and business formal?

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With so many pre-law events coming up this term, our executive team thought that it would be a great idea to come up with a guide for how to dress for different events. We’ll (hopefully) be able to help you figure out the two most confusing types of dress: business casual and business formal.

Business Casual

Business casual has the most variety in what you can wear. It turns out that within business casual there’s a range of dress from BC to executive casual and traditional business attire.

Ladies: skirts, heels, blouses, cardigans, dress pants, and knit sweaters are all appropriate. You can either dress these up or down as you please. There is a ton of variability within business casual wear, so play around with it and find an outfit that you like. Open toed shoes are usually alright in this circumstance, unless you’re going for a slightly more professional look.

The classic khakis and a polo shirt is the classic look for men, but the new trendy look is a suit and unbuttoned collared shirt without a tie. It turns out sandals are not appropriate attire for men.

Business Formal
Wear a suit. This is the most formal type of professional dress, with a matching jacket and pants/skirt. You’ll look professional and make a great impression. We recommend erring on the conservative side, with nothing too flashy and closed toe shoes. You can usually stick to business casual unless business formal is specifically asked for.

Ladies, make sure that the jacket and bottoms match. If you’re wearing a skirt, it shouldn’t be too short (close to the knee). Though a collared shirt is the traditional option, most blouses would be appropriate as long as it’s not too low cut, and a neutral colour. On the bright side, it’s 2016 so pantyhose is optional.

Gentlemen, make sure you are wearing a suit and tie. Tie clips and cuff links are a snazzy addition, but not completely necessary. Nevertheless, make sure that you aren’t wearing a blue suit à la Justin Bieber, and that the pants hit the top of the heel of your shoe. General Rules 

  • No light coloured/ripped jeans are appropriate in either of these settings.
  • No matter what you’re wearing, make sure to iron!
  • Make sure you’re well-groomed and clean.
  • Don’t overdo the fragrances; they are overwhelming and some are allergic!

Feature: Hailey Graham, 1L

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This week we’re introducing a new feature – an interview with someone in the process of entering the legal field. Our first interviewee is Hailey Graham, a first year law student (1L) studying at Allard Law School in the University of British Columbia. We are honoured to have her as our first feature, and are excited for you all to get to know her!

What was your journey to law school like? What was the hardest part of the process?
My journey has been one full of detours and potholes, but also one of eventual success. I was in university almost straight out of high school and very aimless. I had a child at the age of 22, but decided when he went to kindergarten that I would pursue my education. The hardest part of the process was believing in myself. I wasn’t sure if I was “good enough.” With hard work, perseverance, and unfaltering dedication to doing MY best, I achieved my goals.

How are you liking your first year of law so far?
No lie, law school is hard. Like, really hard. I was a top student and totally sure of my abilities after graduation, but law school is a different ball game. However, everyone is in the same boat. Everyone feels like an imposter, but you have a supportive community around you that wants you succeed.

What are you hoping to pursue after law school? Do you want to practice? If so, where and why?
There is a lot of versatility in what you can do after law school. Like my dad said, nobody will ever laugh at a law degree. I would like to practice as a lawyer for 10-15 years or so, then hopefully go into public office. I mean it’s only the second week of law school, but I’ve been drawn towards family and criminal law. Having said that, criminal law seems really hard so far so we’ll see!

What do you like to do in your free time (do you even have any)?
I like to spend time with my family, i also like to run. Surprisingly, there actually is free time. What I’ve found in my time at Allard is that they want you to be balanced and you have to be able to have that balance in order to succeed. They emphasize that a lot, and the best student isn’t the person who spends all day in the library.

What advice do you have for students hoping to attend law school in the future?

Believe in yourself and don’t get discouraged – just do your best and you can get there.

All About the LSAT!

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Unless you’ve been under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the LSAT. From Pre-Law execs to high school students, everyone seems to be obsessed with when they’re taking it, what they scored, and what you need to get into Harvard Law (170-175). The real question is – what are logic games?

What is it?
LSAT stands for Law School Admission Test, and is approximately a 6-hour test taken by prospective law-school students in Canada, the U.S., some schools in Australia and increasingly more countries globally. Focusing on Canada and the U.S., the test is administered 4 times a year (June, October, December, and February) at designated testing centers. While it is still being adopted in many countries worldwide, if you are applying to law school in Canada or the United States, it is almost sure that you will need to take the LSAT.

What is it meant to test? How is it generally structured?
The LSAT is designed to test important skill sets believed to be critical for success as a law school student and lawyer. The test has 5 sections, each testing one of the following components: Logical Reasoning, Analytical Reading, Reading Comprehension, and a writing sample. The fifth component is an unscored variable section; you will not know which section will be unscored. It is time-sensitive – every participant is given 35 minutes to complete each section.

When would/should you take it?
At least at UBC Law, the most popular time students choose to take the LSAT is in October, with the least popular date being February. Most students plan to take the LSAT in their upper undergraduate years, either at the end of third year or beginning of fourth year.
Applications for Law School are typically accepted in the fall starting in September. Many of our Pre-Law Execs, including our Co-Presidents and VP External took the LSAT first in June, which allows time to retake it in October if you aren’t satisfied with your performance.

What resources in Vancouver offer LSAT preparation resources?
Kaplan
Princeton
Powerscore
Blueprint
UBC continuing studies
Ivy Global
Prep 101 UBC
It isn’t necessary to use a company to prepare for the LSAT, however most people find it useful, as you get help from an external source that is experienced.

Thoughts on the LSAT from other students!

“FML. That’s what I think about the LSAT. Alright I’ll be serious. I feel it’s certainly a challenge, but it’s what makes us better suited for life as a lawyer or in other fields. Tackling our problems head on, even if it’s scary. It’s how you grow as people.” – Josh James, BA Political Science Honours, 2017 candidate, UBC

“The LSAT is pretty hard, but did you really think that going to law school would be easy?” – Hailey Graham, 1L Allard Law School