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Aspiring Lawyer
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PRE-LAW PIPELINE SCHOLAR
AKSHAY SOMAN

AKSHAY SOMANJ.D., UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF LAW (2022)

AKSHAY SOMAN
J.D., UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF LAW (2022)

How was your Pre-Law Pipeline experience?

The Pre-Law Pipeline Program was a fantastic experience. Before the program, I had no real idea of what practicing law looked like. The program was an immersive experience in the legal field, and I enjoyed the trial advocacy component and my externship with Judge Vanessa Velasquez at the state court. I also appreciated the academic side of the program with unique classes and LSAT preparation. It gave me something tangible to grab onto, and I committed to law from then on.

What was a major benefit?

A major benefit of the Pre-Law Pipeline Program was the opportunity to fully experience what law was from both an academic and practical perspective. Being a law student is very different from being an attorney, but you must go through the legal education process. I enjoyed gaining exposure to both aspects of it in the program. Additionally, I enjoy the strong community aspect of the program. I completed the program in 2017, but I’m still involved in different capacities as an alum to this day. I mentor scholars, serve on the admissions committee, speak on panels, and advocate for the program. It is great to be a part of it.

What advice would you offer someone interested in law school?

Try to find opportunities such as the Pipeline Program that offer firsthand experiences to see what the legal field is like. Talk with practicing attorneys, whether in person, virtually, or by email to ask questions and gain insight on what it looks like on the inside. My metaphorical door is always open to speak with the next generation of law students. Interning is also a rewarding opportunity to connect with legal professionals and unveil what the field would look like before beginning law school.

Do you have any law school tips?

Go to your professors during office hours. They can help you academically by explaining difficult concepts, give you tips on taking a law school exam and even share their stories about their own careers. Take writing classes early on, because the sharper your language skills, the better. Keep talking to attorneys, and attend networking events because those social connections will prove beneficial throughout your career.

What are you doing now?

I am a first-year associate at Sidley Austin in Dallas where I practice employee benefits and executive compensation. It has been a good opportunity so far, and I am excited to see where my legal career will take me in the years to come.