Law Students

Law students need to stop talking like a 'high school babysitter,' former admissions dean says


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Law students need to start using grown-up speech patterns, according to a former admissions dean at the University of Chicago Law School.

Now an admissions consultant, Anna Ivey says law students put themselves at a disadvantage if their speech patterns don’t sound professional. “The client, boss, hiring partner, judge, etc., will be less inclined to listen to you if you sound like a high school babysitter,” Ivey writes in a guest blog post for the Careerist.

Students looking for jobs aren’t handling their time efficiently if they are “blasting out emails” to people they have never met, Ivey says. “Email is fine if you already have a pre-existing connection,” she says, “but in many cases, establishing relationship capital means getting off your laptop, heading out the front door, and talking to people in person.”

Ivey advises law students to hang out with B-school students, who will be “your client-overlords and referral sources” after graduation. “If you want to make rain later, learn about their nonlegal needs,” Ivey writes. “Pay attention to how they talk and think.”

Ivey also tells law students to:

• Improve their writing.

• Learn to read a financial statement. Students can start with an introductory course in law school and then take a real accounting course for students pursuing MBAs at the business school.

• Think like a creative problem solver, a skill that will help in a solo practice or in law firm management.

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