It's not all about shaking hands. Taking time to go to a LSAC recruiting forum or a law school recruiting fair can be worth your while if you use the time wisely. Law school admissions personnel read thousands of files every year, but they don't get to meet more than a couple hundred applicants face to face. Use this time to shine.
What's the point?
First, there's something magical about being able to put a face on a name. When I was the person behind the recruiting table, I kept track of people. If you took the time to come up to me and express sincere interest in my school, you got a star by your name (literally) and a personal, handwritten note on your acceptance or waitlist letter. You probably got that far because I kept an eye out for you, and even if there was little difference between you and most of my mid-range applicants, it was harder to reject you because I liked you—all because you took those few minutes to introduce yourself.
However, if the applicant seemed obnoxious, crazy, high-maintenance, or cocky, the decision to meet me backfired. If you spent 20 minutes telling me how you have a 147 LSAT but you just know you could do better if your dog didn't keep dying on test day, you'd get a star by your name too—but not a good one.
So, here are some do's and don'ts for law school forum and recruiting events:
[Learn more about law school forum events]
DO dress respectably, if not professionally.
DO bring a business card or résumé (just in case, but you don't have to hand it out to everyone).
DO keep track of the people you meet and get their contact information so you can follow up appropriately after the event.
DO approach people at schools where you plan to apply.
DO attempt to learn about a few schools you didn't know much about before.
[Get more advice from law school admissions officials.]
DO NOT ask a school what its "medium" LSAT score is. (My personal favorite)
DO NOT ask a school its ranking.
DO NOT ask for an application fee waiver within the first 30 seconds of visiting a table.
DO NOT take up more than 2-3 minutes of someone's time when there are other people waiting.
Some people ask me whether they should attend the LSAC Forum (aka the "zoo") or their college's graduate and professional school day. Pick the on-campus day every time unless you know that a school you are very interested in will not be at that event. How do you find out? Email the law school and ask. On-campus events are more laid back and less crowded (especially if you go at off-hours) so you'll get more quality time with the school's representative.