Students welcome changes to pre-law advising

Judy Argentieri, a newly hired adviser for the pre-law program, speaks with Crystal Smith, junior in LAS, about her law school p

Judy Argentieri, a newly hired adviser for the pre-law program, speaks with Crystal Smith, junior in LAS, about her law school p

By Jennifer Wheeler

As the semester draws to a close, pre-law students may notice changes in both the personnel and number of resources offered to them.

On Nov. 3, Judy Argentieri was welcomed as a new adviser for the pre-law program at the University. Between Nov. 3 and Nov. 11, she said she sat and observed the advising process before working with students.

“So far I’m really excited and encouraged,” Argentieri said. “They have a really good vision of where we want to go and I’m happy to be along to support what they want to do to accomplish that.”

Despite the recent letter sent by the Pre-Law Club and law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, to the Provost Office that voiced concerns regarding the current pre-law advising program, Julian Parrott, director and assistant provost for the Division of General Studies, said this was not the reason for the recent changes.

“It illustrated the fact that there was a need,” Parrott said.

Argentieri said she hopes to bring a “realistic” view to the pre-law advising program, educating students beyond the stereotypes associated with law shown through television shows.

She said her experience as a teaching assistant at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta and as an undergraduate academic adviser at Cornell University will help her adequately advise students.

According to Parrott, Argentieri will primarily serve as the phase one adviser, answering “holistic questions,” such as the “how’s, what’s and why’s” of pre-law. He also said Jamie Thomas, the other pre-law adviser, will primarily serve as the phase two adviser, answering questions about the LSAT, personal statements and other areas in the law school application process.

Parrott said the decision to hire another adviser emerged from a meeting in fall 2007, saying the addition will help “to develop new programs and outreach opportunities.”

In addition to hiring Argentieri, the pre-law program is adding many other resources for students, Parrott said.

Such changes include presenting more pre-law workshops, adding a law-school student intern and developing programs for students to obtain externships and internships, Parrott said. He also said the pre-law program is updating its resource library, which will also include more multimedia features. The program is working on developing alumni programs with both regional and Chicago based alumni.

Parrott said the pre-law advising office is working more with pre-law student dedicated groups to not only inform them on changes occurring within the program but to allow students to “have robust, leadership opportunities through the pre-law system.”

“I think that it is an excellent change,” said Amber Rudolphi, president of the Pre-Law Club at the University. “Pre-law students were not involved in any change of the process and we didn’t understand their plans from the beginning. We only saw what happened.”

No matter the reasoning for the changes in pre-law advising, many said they are happy with the transformation.

“I think eventually we will have such a great pre-law advising program that it will outshine other Big Ten schools and possibly attract other students to come here,” said Rudolphi.