6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?
The most useful recommendation letters are the ones from faculty who have had significant personal contact with the student. Recommendations should speak to items such as academic improvement over the course of several semesters; comparisons with other students who have been successful law students; and the applicant's analytical and writing skills. Letters from prominent public figures who do not know the applicant are not considered.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
We accept applications on September 1 and usually send decision letters after December 1. Two or more members of the school's admissions committee review each application; we strive to make a decision within six to eight weeks following receipt. At that point, applicants are admitted, denied, or placed on a waiting list. Admissions occur on a rolling basis, and students can be admitted from the waiting list as late as August.
8. Which firms/organizations recruit heavily from your school? Which ones hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Maurer School of Law graduates surpass the National Association for Law Placement average for finding jobs with businesses and government organizations. While the majority of our graduates accept positions with law firms, others have found success with judicial clerkships, public interest groups, and higher education.
The following firms and organizations routinely hire our graduates: Arnold & Porter; Barnes & Thornburg; Bingham McHale; Jones Day; Mayer Brown; Taft Stettinius & Hollister; the Cook County (Ill.) State's Attorney; the Indiana Attorney General; the Marion County (Ind.) Prosecutor; and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Subpar writing skills, grammatical errors, and hurriedly completed applications are common mistakes. In addition, we have observed poor interpersonal skills during campus visits or on-location interviews and unwise decisions about recommendation letters (make sure the writer is willing to give a positive recommendation and then actually sends the letter, for example). Character and fitness issues receive very close scrutiny, including repeated misdemeanor convictions or ethical breaches. All of these factors have a further negative bearing on our decision.
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
The Maurer Law student body is diverse in many ways; no two students are alike. In keeping with our holistic approach to admissions, however, we expect all students to become an active part of the law school community. "This is not a place for students who want to be anonymous," our dean of students often says. Students who learn to become collegial and engaged while in law school stand a better chance of becoming successful professionals.