Inside BC Law’s Admissions Process: A Q&A With Dean McShay

Applying to law school is no easy task. You have to gather a number of recommendation letters, study for the LSAT while you are either in school or working, and craft the perfect narrative for your personal statement. In short, you need to figure out how to paint the best picture of yourself for an unknown admissions team.

The Impact blog previously did a series on tips for making your law school application stronger (see below links), but we thought it would be even more helpful to get the inside scoop on the BC admissions process from Assistant Dean Shawn McShay. Dean McShay has been overseeing admissions at BC for over four years, but has nearly twenty years of experience in law school admissions.

Here are Dean McShay’s responses to questions he receives from prospective students time and time again:

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Advocacy Comes in Many Forms: Combining Journalism, Law School, and Passion to Produce Change

There are many things you can do with your law degree. Just ask Caroline Reilly, a recent BC Law grad and former Impact blogger who has combined her passion for journalism with her legal education and training to advocate for change in reproductive health practices.

While at BC Law, Caroline took part in the school’s LEAPS program. The goal of LEAPS, or Leaders Entering and Advancing Public Service, is to provide opportunities for students to discover and develop their talents for advancing the public good through their chosen legal path. For Caroline, this path began with her desire to advocate for reproductive rights.

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Under Pressure: Law Review Edition

If you’re anything like me, you probably had a vague idea of what law review was prior to law school. As former Impact bloggers have discussed, there are ups and downs and benefits and drawbacks. Those bloggers have covered a lot of ground, so I won’t go into all that again here. Simply put, you should definitely do some research to determine if joining law review is right for you (reading those earlier posts is a good place to start!).

That being said, I knew I wanted to join BC’s Law Review for a number of reasons. I wanted to improve my writing skills, wished to keep the door open for potential clerkship opportunities, and hoped to go into the on-campus interview process with a strong resume. Plus, BC’s Law Review does not limit you to writing within a specific subject area and I am excited to delve into an area of the law that truly excites me next semester. To me, these benefits outweighed any potential drawbacks.

Although I still know that joining Law Review was the right decision for me and I have appreciated the opportunity to work alongside great editors and staff writers, there was one factor I never fully appreciated: the pressure that accompanies getting published. Don’t get me wrong: I knew it would be an invaluable opportunity to join the legal conversation this early on in my career. But what if I had an embarrassing typo or misunderstood the law?

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2L Year: Like 1L, But Better

If I had to pick three adjectives to describe 1L year, they would be busy, fairly stressful, and extremely exciting. I quickly learned that law school is a full-time job filled with a demanding workload and many commitments outside of the classroom. I also soon realized why my professors emphasized the importance of removing yourself from law school mode every so often to keep your stress levels down. But most importantly, I saw how exciting this new chapter of life was. Law school was my time to open new doors, build new friendships, and take the first step of a new career.

Now that I am a few weeks into 2L, it seems like I may be using the same three adjectives to describe this year, but with a whole new perspective. I no longer am transitioning from a 9 to 5 job or spending far too long on a three-page case. I know what a final exam looks like, and can estimate about how long an outline will take me to make. More importantly, I can tell you what I hope to pursue career-wise and have made great friends along the way.

Although some things may stay the same, here are a few ways in which my perspectives have changed:

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Hello From DC: Lessons from My Judicial Internship

It feels like just yesterday when I was getting ready to pack my car and head to Boston for my first year of law school. Now, the last week of my internship is quickly approaching and it’s hard to believe that on-campus interviews (or “OCI”) are right around the corner.

I spent this past summer interning for a judge at the D.C. Superior Court who presided over domestic relations matters. Coming from a divorced family myself, I was intrigued to learn about how these issues were handled in court. But part of me also worried that I would not truly be able to immerse myself in the subject area when I had no exposure to it from my first year’s classes and no intention of pursuing a career in family law.

However, I am happy to report back that interning for a judge exposed me to a lot, taught me important skills for my future career, and made me excited for next year’s classes. Here’s a breakdown of lessons I learned:

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Preparing for Law School: The Personal Statement

Ah, the personal statement. You’re told to write a 1-3 page essay that explains to an admissions committee what sets you apart from others. Well, where do you begin?

We thought we’d tackle this for our next entry in the series Preparing for Law School. Whether you have questions about choosing your topic, finding your voice, or anything in between, we hope you find the below insights helpful.

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Preparing for Law School Series: Choosing the “Right” Classes

Course registration just began at BC, and we thought it would be helpful to dive into our next topic of the Preparing for Law School series—choosing the “right” classes. When your college doesn’t have a pre-law major or track, you might be feeling a little lost. And even if your school does offer guidance, you might be torn between taking classes that interest you and those that you think will look best on your transcript to an admissions committee.

Whether you’re planning for next semester or the years ahead, we hope you find our below insights helpful.

Brett

As a political science major, I spent four years saying I wasn’t going to law school. As a 1L, I’m probably more confused now than I was in August. (But at least I’m confused about the right things!) Keeping my less-than-stellar credentials in mind, my advice is to take the classes you want to take.  

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Preparing for Law School Series: The LSAT

1L year is well underway, but it feels like just yesterday I was studying for the LSAT, drafting emails to former professors inquiring about recommendation letters, and deciding on a topic for my personal statement. Whether you’re thinking about law school or in the middle of the application process, the Impact Blog writers wanted to share advice on these topics and more which will hopefully address some questions you may have. Welcome to the launch of Preparing for Law School: A Series Providing Tips and Tricks from BC Law Students 

Because the LSAT is, for most, the first step in the application process, we thought it made sense to tackle this topic first. How do you balance school/work and studying? Should you drink coffee the day of the exam even though you’ve never been a coffee drinker? Is it strange that logic games seem fun to you? Well, here’s our take:  

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