UHLC’s Career Development Office: Setting 1Ls Up for Success

Student author McKenna Andrepont is a 1L at the University of Houston Law Center.  

It’s the question prospective law students face even before the first day of their legal education: how will I find my place in the legal market? (Alternatively: how will I get a job?) Determining your legal career options and how to secure them is the ultimate end game of your three years of law school. Lucky for University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) students, our Career Development Office (CDO) is a phenomenal resource for achieving this goal. All of our career counselors have JDs and past practical legal experience and offer a wide range of resources and services to students. One such service is a series designed for 1L students entitled “The Passport to Success.” In the first session of this series on September 10, the CDO partnered with Andrews Kurth and industry professionals to discuss legal career destinations, maintaining a professional presence, and networking. The event concluded with a practice networking session with over two dozen attorneys.

“The Map to Career Success: Exactly Where Are YOU Headed?” was another event filled with local legal professionals sharing their advice on how to determine where you want to go and how to get there. Reece Rondon, who is a UHLC alumnus, former judge, and a current member of Hall Maines Lugrin, PC, began the first workshop with an overview of legal practice and its various branches. Natalie Weakly of Signature Style followed with a workshop detailing how to present oneself in a professional manner in both interviewing and networking environments. She included advice on suit styling and power posing. Amy Hancock of Andrews Kurth, LLP, presented the last workshop; she advised students on strategies of effective networking as a key to lawyer development.

As other posts on this blog have noted, networking is a huge part of integrating oneself in the legal community. After the workshop sessions ended, the CDO finished its first The Passport to Success event with an incredibly helpful session (and my personal favorite): “Networking in Practice.”  For one hour, 1Ls were encouraged to mingle with over twenty-four local legal professionals who in turn provided real-time feedback on their networking techniques. Several of my classmates left with the email addresses of attorneys who specialized in areas they were interested in; one spoke with an attorney specializing in family law, while another connected with an attorney who practiced in the town where they ultimately wish to practice.

Overall, the first session of the CDO’s Professional Development Series was a great help and hugely successful in communicating the importance of building networking skills in the legal community. I’m very thankful to UHLC and the CDO for pouring so much time and effort into building my skills as a growing legal professional and am looking forward to their next event!

Information regarding the UHLC’s Career Development Office can be found at https://www.law.uh.edu/career/.

A day in the life of a UHLC 3L

Andrea Ortiz is a 3L at the University of Houston Law Center.

The old adage about law school seems to be true looking back: 1L year, you’re scared to death; 2L year, you’re worked to death; and 3L year, you’re bored to death. But as a 3L student, it doesn’t seem to be that we’re just relaxing and having the best time ever; it’s more likely that we’ve figured out how to manage our time efficiently. Any typical day for me runs from 6 am to approximately 11 pm. My workday starts at 7:30 am in a Greenway Plaza law office where I work as the Head Law Clerk overseeing six other law clerks. Working in a firm has really brought together the theoretical civil procedure learned in class with how it actually works in day-to-day practice. After leaving work at 11:30 am, I head straight to school and hope to find a parking spot. On a related note, I haven’t bought lunch since school started. Almost every day at noon, some student organization is having a presentation and almost always has food.

From there, I venture into the library or the sub-basement for a quiet place to prepare for class. Because I’ve already finished my graduation requirements of taking an upper-level writing class, Professional Responsibility, and a skills course, I’m limited on what I can take because I also have to consider my work schedule. That being said, my classes begin in the afternoon and run from 4:00-9:30 pm. Sometime between lunch and class, I’ll also work on my duties as Managing Editor of the Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy, keeping track of our budget and every candidate’s and editor’s hours.

My first class lasts until 5:20 pm, leaving me a 40-minute break to pop over to the Nook for a large coffee to go. Thankfully, I have an amazing professor – Professor Doug Moll – for my last class, which goes until 9:30 pm. Without his enthusiastic persona and love for the material, I don’t think I’d be able to stay awake. I get home about 9:45 pm and get myself ready for a new day.

If there is one piece of advice I would give myself just starting out as a 1L, it would be not to worry so much about what everyone else is doing and concentrate on doing my best. Not everyone is on the same path. These three years pass quickly and everything will work itself out. Cheers to all my 3Ls out there biding our time until graduation. #3LOL



Standing Out – Are the Numbers in your Favor?

While some law schools have yet to seat their incoming class, a significant number of programs across the country have commenced their fall semesters.  Typically, the focus is on the seated class and the unique students that have elected to join a specific program.  While stats are certified by the LSAC at the beginning of October (they are currently uncertified [and may not be]), you can find the University of Houston Law Center’s newest class profile available for review.

As we celebrate those that enter into this storied profession, let’s take a moment to understand just how difficult the admission process is to select the Law Center’s incoming student body.  The Admissions Office received 2,565 applications for the Fall 2016 entering class.  Numerically, the applicant pool presented GPAs ranging from above 4.0s to sub 2.0s and LSAT scores ranging from above 175 to below 125.  Regardless of GPA and LSAT, every completed application received full file review as the Admission Committee evaluated each candidate for admission.

The statistics should illustrate the importance of working hard to have your application stand out as admission officers across the nation read and review your application and application materials.  In contrast and as an example, take a look at the top 5 undergraduate programs applicants represented as well as the top 5 majors for applicants:

Applicants represented more than 450 undergraduate programs, the top programs represented were:

  • the University of Texas-Austin,
  • Texas A&M University,
  • the University of Houston,
  • Sam Houston State University, and
  • Baylor University

There were more than 100 different majors represented in the applicant pool. The top majors were:

  • Political Science,
  • Psychology,
  • Criminal Justice,
  • English, and
  • Economics

As you can see, this is not terribly dissimilar from the incoming student profile.  Taking advantage of the multiple programs offered by the Law Center’s Admission Office (Information Sessions [online and in-person], Group Advising, tours, etc.) as well as re-applicant counseling, offers options for applicants to understand the importance of their submission and the relevant pieces of their application both as an incoming student or as a transfer student.

To misquote Public Enemy, “lemme hear you say fight the [numbers]” and educate yourself how to stand out as an applicant.

Houston earns #2 spot on America’s Favorite Place list

Student author Christina Gonzalez is a rising 3L at the University of Houston Law Center, and is a student worker for the Admissions Office.

The decision of which law school to attend comes with many questions, and one will find that the process of answering them involves weighing just as many factors. One of the biggest factors is the city in which you think you will want to practice after graduation (although things can certainly change, so being flexible is also important). If Texas – and more specifically Houston – is on your short list for law schools, a recent article published in Texas Monthly might help persuade you. This article contains the results from a survey conducted by Travel + Leisure, inviting readers to vote for America’s Favorite Place on their website. Survey participants voted on a variety of subjects, including the best burgers and wine bars, festivals, attractions, and the friendliness of the locals.

Other factors in the rankings included the locals in each city, (considering their quirkiness, hotness, or charming geekiness), affordability (Houston is one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the nation), and walkability. Warm, sunny weather also played a part, and Houston has this in spades. Three cities in Texas landed in the top ten cities listed in the survey as the friendliest, with Houston coming in at number two. Whether you live here or have simply visited, I think we can all agree that Houston is well deserving of its silver star ranking.

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The article can be found here: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/howdy-survey-finds-texas-friendliest-cities/, along with the Travel + Leisure article here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-places/friendliest-cities.

If you are considering making the University of Houston Law Center your destination for law school and have questions that need answers, please contact the admissions office at lawadmissions@uh.edu.