Law Club guides prospective law students

If you’re interested in a career in law these days you better make sure you’re committed because without scholarships, “you’re going to come out with around $200,000 in loans,” said Lisa Mead, former associate dean at USC’s Gould School of Law and current director of Pro Bono at Inner City Law Center. Mead, a prestigious figure in the southern California legal community who has years of experience as a judicial clerk, legal consultant and lawyer, spoke at Santa Monica College Tuesday to clarify the law school admission process.

“Law school is a great educational experience; no matter what you do, you are going to learn to think very differently,” said Mead.

Mead, who said she receives five to 10 resumes from prospective hires a day, did her best to dispel misconceptions about what acquiring a legal degree entails.

According to Mead, a first-year law school graduate working in the public sector makes anywhere from $32,000 to $40,000 a year and the stereotype that all lawyers make six-figure salaries just isn’t true.

Mead stressed the importance of having an education plan for law students and how the days of carelessly entering law school are long gone.

“You do not want to end up in your third year, having no clue what type of law you want to practice,” said Mead.

Most students worry about the negative effects of repeating a course, but for law students, repeatability can be a positive thing.

“The LSATs used to average your score if you took it more than once, however now they just take the higher score,” said Mead, who recommends that students take a prep class before attempting the law school admission test.

Trustee David B. Finkel, the Law Club’s adviser, was in attendance.

“I tell my students to focus on reading, writing, and how to ask questions,” said Finkel.

“When you’re students, as opposed to David and I, there’s a sense of urgency,” said Mead. “You need to slow down; you don’t need to do it all right now.”

“Our goal is to raise the legal literacy of our peers here at SMC; the constitution and legal code aren’t confusing,” said Clinton Johnson, Law Club vice president. “Learning these laws gave me confidence.”

“I’m from D.C. and I’ve seen a lot of poverty, living in that type of situation and seeing the divide,” said Johnson. “I got interested in law because I saw how much it affected people.”

The Law Club, made up predominantly of law students, meets every Tuesday during the student activity hour from 11:15 to 12:35. The club gives students interested in pursuing legal careers an outlet to discuss relevant and current issues.

“We raise awareness on environmental law and things the entire campus and community benefit from,” said Stephen Prociw, club president.

The Law Club, not just for lawyers and paralegals, is open to all students, and urges them to actively participate in legal issues.

“Your reputation as a lawyer is your greatest commodity,” said Mead.