Jacob Hecht Pre-Law Society Picks up Steam in Spring Semester
It’s that time of year again. No, not midterm season. It’s the time when the Jacob Hecht Pre-Law programming kicks into full gear.
On Thursday night, February 11th, the Pre-Law Society hosted the first event it organized of the semester on the Wilf Campus, featuring a panel of three recent YU graduates currently in their first year of law school. In front of a large crowd of over 40 students, the panel, consisting of Columbia Law’s Daniel Klein, NYU Law’s David Weiss, and YU affiliate Cardozo Law’s Sarah King, provided tips and insights about all things law school and fielded questions from curious pre-law students.
The many topics covered in this meaningful discussion included: how to figure out whether law school is right for you, the different aspects of the law school application process and hacks on how to best prepare for them, and lessons learned from the panelists’ new experiences in law school.
“The panel was quite informative for me,” said Adam Brodsky, an economics major in his second year, “I appreciated that the panel was very relatable and made it seem like law school is not as daunting as I had thought. They also gave great advice, such as connecting with professors who may be able to write recommendation letters down the line.”
This successful pre-law event was just the tip of the iceberg for what is in store this semester, as pre-waw functions will be playing a prominent role in interested students’ lives. Typically, the fall semester programming is generally designated for information sessions run by law schools from around the country hosted on our campus, which this year included Harvard, Notre Dame, Penn, Columbia, UCLA, and Cardozo. In contrast, the spring semester is focused on having events of a different nature.
Events that are set to occur in the coming months include the Careers in Law night, where students will be able to hear from and speak to attorneys that work in a plethora of areas of law, in the hope of learning more about the options one has in the field of law. Additionally, the annual Langfan Constitutional Oratory Competition, which pits YU undergraduates against each other in a speaking competition on a law topic with cash prizes, will be happening soon. The two forces that run the pre-law branch at YU are the Jacob Hecht Pre-Law Society, headed by its Presidents, seniors Joshua Mermelstein and Shira Huberfeld, and the pre-law advisor, Ms. Dina Chelst, Esquire, are always in close communication with ideas for events and more diverse programming.
In addition to working the logistics of the events, most of which are arranged by Ms. Chelst, the society provides advice and perspective to students.
The Pre-Law Society is run by a dedicated board of students. “We generally have a bottom-up approach, focusing on taking student input and feedback to enhance programming on campus,” said David Rubinstein, a second-year philosophy major who serves as one of the society’s vice presidents. The board is also looking to expand their role in the upcoming months by creating an unprecedented type of pre-law event. “We will be running at least one social pre-law event this semester,” said Elie Lipnik, a second-year political science major, and a society secretary. “Unfortunately, due to a lack of common major, curriculum, or internship opportunities, it is easy for a pre-law student on campus to feel isolated. Therefore, we want to create a pre-law community where students who plan on going to law school can come together in a casual and relaxed environment to meet each other and discuss the law school process. In this way, we hope to find the common language that already exists for many other majors.”
This semester, the pre-law experience will be invigorated by the reemergence of the Beren Campus branch of the Jacob Hecht Pre-Law Society. The society has always existed on both campuses until recently, when board members from the Beren campus graduated and were unable to find a new group to take over the helm. Seeking to restart their Beren Campus counterpart, the Wilf Campus board sent an s-stud inviting candidates to apply for positions on the board. After interviewing the qualified applicants, a new board of women has been formed. The new board at Beren, will service all needs of the students on campus. They will work together with the Wilf board as well as independently to design programming best suited for the women of Yeshiva, with a special focus on balancing the events between the Wilf and Beren campuses.
Another hallmark of the spring semester at YU is an abundance of student meetings with the pre-law advisor. Ms. Chelst, in her second year as the pre-law advisor for both the Wilf and Beren campuses, previously worked for several years at various positions in the law profession. While she does play an integral role in creating the pre-law events, she feels that her most important role on campus is helping out students with whatever they need to be able to achieve their goals. Last semester, Ms. Chelst worked personally with over 100 students, including a small percentage of YU alumni who sought her assistance. As law school application dates begin to loom, she anticipates that this number will increase this semester. Ms. Chelst encourages all pre-law students to make an appointment to meet with her.
As pre-law advisor, Ms. Chelst sees mostly Juniors and Seniors who are seeking help in completing their law school applications. However, she also meets with many underclassmen, some of whom are seeking help in selecting the appropriate courses and finding internships that will allow them to take the next step towards their futures, and others who are interested in assessing whether or not they should pursue a career in law. “I feel privileged to work with an amazingly talented group of students,” said Ms. Chelst. “My goal is to try to make everyone realize that you don’t need to be a 4.0 student to succeed, and I am there to celebrate with all students when they ultimately do succeed.”
In addition to conducting advisement meetings, Ms. Chelst also spends time in the spring organizing YU’s Judicial Internship Program, which sets up qualified YU undergraduates with New York state judges for a summer-long internship that can prove invaluable in giving students a rare undergraduate law experience that also looks great on any law school resume. “The program gave me exposure to how the legal system works from a judicial perspective, which is an opportunity most people don’t get until they get to law school,” said Ari Tepler, a student who completed an internship through the program last summer. “Most of the judges are Jewish and are willing to give students valuable one-on-one time from which I personally learned a lot.”
The stars are all aligned for what should be a very successful semester for pre-waw at YU. It may be difficult to improve on last year’s staggering numbers, when a perfect 100% of students were accepted to law school, nearly all into one of their top two choices. Nevertheless, the pre-law team anticipates matching these results this year while also improving in all areas that they can to make the experience an enjoyable one for students.