Looking into law

Sept. 27 may be just another Saturday for most, but for a handful of Queen’s students, the date represents the culmination of months and weeks of preparation.

This Saturday, myself and many of my classmates will write the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), an exam that demands borderline obsessive behaviour from hopeful law students.

As well as being a necessary requirement to further legal studies, the test represents a kind of unifying right of passage to undergrads with their eye on law.

However, the LSAT lacks any relevance in content to law or law school whatsoever.

The LSAT asks primarily for logical skills and reading comprehension, with reference to actual laws conspicuously absent.

This makes the test accessible to students from a variety of academic backgrounds, but also provides little indication of whether law is the right subject matter for a given student to pursue.

That’s where resources like the Queen’s Pre-Law Society (QPLS) and Queen’s Model Court (QMC) come in.

These on-campus groups are the labour of passionate undergrads that seek to make law more accessible to their peers.

The QPLS is primarily a networking opportunity through which students hoping to break into law can get to know one another, collaborate on preparations for the LSAT and access speakers and students working in law.

By contrast, QMC provides students with the chance to flex their legal skills in a more practical setting.

Sitting down with Gillian Cameron and Brendon Dawson, co-presidents of QMC, helped to shed light on what QMC can offer undergrads, whether law school is in their immediate future or not.

“We’re exposing all of our delegates to professionals in the industry, people who have quite distinguished careers,” Dawson, ArtSci ’15, said.

“[T]here’s access to people who have created a career for themselves with a legal degree and a direct opportunity to ask questions and engage with them in whatever manner they see fit.”

Cameron also provided further information about the conference’s goals.

“It’s the whole process from them getting the cases, them trying to find a flaw or something in it so that they can essentially win the case in the end,” Cameron, ArtSci’16, said.

“And we have judges that come in so they can judge the cases at the end and so I just think it’s a very realistic perception of what it might be like eventually.” Dawson and Cameron both added that despite the conference’s emphasis on law and legal proceedings, students from all faculties are likely to attend.

“We see engineers, commerce students, we’ve had nurses inquire about coming, arts and science. It’s really everyone, which is what’s so great about it,” Cameron said.

Whether through resources like QMC, QPLS, Queen’s Model United Nations or other groups on campus, students should strive to keep in mind that regardless of their post-grad aspirations, there are opportunities on campus to try them out in an inclusive environment.

Take it from me: preparing for the LSAT is daunting enough even when you’re sure it’s an avenue you want to pursue.

Before you sign up for the test and everything it entails, take the time to reach out to students in similar circumstances and ensure that it’s the right choice for you.

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