By Travis Gulbrandson
High school and college students who are considering a career in law will have a chance next week to see what their educational experience could be like.
On Wednesday, Feb. 27, the University of South Dakota School of Law is hosting “Discover Law Day,” an open house designed to allow students to learn about the school, curriculum and faculty.
“We want to provide an opportunity for people to come get to know us,” said Associate Dean Tom Sorensen.
The day is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes such activities as a tour of the school and campus, a Q&A with current USD law students and the option to observe a first-year class in action.
Sorensen said one of the main goals of the day is to give students an insight into the applications and admissions process.
“It takes a while,” he said. “There are a couple of major hurdles in there. One is to finish college, although you can apply before you finish. The other is the admission test, and that’s a requirement of our accreditors, the American Bar Association. …
“We all kind of work together in the legal education realm of trying to help people onto the path if they’re interested, and then help answer questions along the way,” he said.
Additional insight will be provided by the in-class observation.
“(The first-year classes) cover some very important areas that law the foundation for the rest of the legal education,” Sorensen said.
The School of Law has an open-door policy for potential students throughout the year, but usually they visit on a small-group or individual basis, while Discover Law Day is a much bigger event.
The event is presented by the USD School of Law with support from the Law School Admission Council’s DiscoverLaw.org Month program.
“They provide a lot of materials,” Sorensen said. “They provide a Web site … where people can get a lot of general information about preparation, application and admission to law schools.
“When you visit here, you get that and you get more specific information about the only law school in South Dakota,” he said. “We’re pretty regional because we’re in the corner of several states, and we want people to know they’re welcome to come visit us.”
Sorensen stressed that the law school is welcome to visitors during any of its special events, from its annual Thurgood Marshall program to when the Supreme Court of South Dakota holds its term there from March 18-20.
“There are a lot of interesting free speakers, programs and symposia,” he said.
Students interested in attending the open house are asked to RSVP to Tom.Sorensen@usd.edu no later than 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25.
Individual students are also encouraged to visit www.discoverlaw.org/register.asp to register for information about the law school admission process.
For more information about the USD School of Law, visit www.usd.edu/law.