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  #1  
Old 11-13-2007, 01:27 PM
spillarelli spillarelli is offline
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Hi, new to the forum

Hi,
I am in high school, but am starting to think about what colleges to apply to. I think once I get to college joining a fraternity will be a terrific expierence. I am interested in a career in Law and am curious if there on any fraternities that focus on uniting Pre-law majors?

My real question has to do with my disability. I am not in a wheelchair and I can walk without any assistance; however, I wear leg braces. (knee high) I also walk with a very small limp. I know it would be illegal to discriminate against me because of a disabilty; however, I am wondering if it will happen. Will I be accepted just as any other potential brother who is interested in joining a fraternity or will my disability hold me back?
Thanks

Oh and one last question, must you join a fraternity as a freshman? or can you join as like a sophmore, or junior?
Thanks again

Last edited by spillarelli; 11-13-2007 at 01:37 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2007, 01:38 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Spillarelli --

Welcome to the forum.

Will you be discriminated against? I doubt it, but it's possible. Most chapters want good looking guys with good social skills who will be assets to their chapter. While it is illegal to discriminate against the handicapped, membership decisions are private and these organizations can discriminate for other reasons. You are not entitled to an explanation as to why you are not chosen. The organization doesn't even really have to have a reason internally.

I don't know any social fraternities which cater to the pre-law sorts. Most of us accept men studying a wide variety of fields. You might find a professional organization with greek letters, but please do not confuse those with social fraternities. They aren't the same thing.

As for the pre-law thing, I'd personally urge you to find a different major. You might try something like business or a science related field. I'm in law school right now. I really wish I had either more of a science or business background as either would have served me very well in my future law practice. Law school teaches you enough to be a lawyer. I think the pre-law thing is just unnecessary.
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2007, 01:41 PM
spillarelli spillarelli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Spillarelli --

As for the pre-law thing, I'd personally urge you to find a different major. You might try something like business or a science related field. I'm in law school right now. I really wish I had either more of a science or business background as either would have served me very well in my future law practice. Law school teaches you enough to be a lawyer. I think the pre-law thing is just unnecessary.
I was thinking of majoring in Political Science. When I said Pre-law, I meant it as a fraternity where most members are planning to go to Law school.
Thanks for your response, looking forward to hearing other peoples' opinions

Last edited by spillarelli; 11-13-2007 at 01:46 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2007, 02:06 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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I don't know any social fraternities which cater to the pre-law sorts. Most of us accept men studying a wide variety of fields. You might find a professional organization with greek letters, but please do not confuse those with social fraternities. They aren't the same thing.
Hey Spillarelli, and welcome.

To piggyback on what Kevin said, general fraternities, which most social fraternities are, by definition do not cater to a specific area of study but rather draw from a wide variety of majors and interests. There are some social fraternities that are not general fraternities but are, for want of a better term, "special interest" and draw students from specific majors or areas of interest -- Triangle (engineering), Alpha Gamma Rho and FarmHouse (agriculture) and my own fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (music), would be examples of these special interest social fraternities, but I don't know of one related to law.

That said, you may find when you get to college that certain chapters include more than the average number of guys planning on law school. That's not because it's a focus of the fraternity as a whole (the national fraternity), but just the culture of that chapter (the local "branch" of that fraternity) and, perhaps, that college. At one college it may be the chapter of ABC, while at another college it may be the chapter of XYZ. (At a third college, it's possible that none of the chapters fits this description.) This is all part of what you'll find as you go through rush and see which chapters you "click" with. There's really no way to predict in advance what you might find -- the make-up of a chapter can change quite a bit even over a year or two.

There is a professional fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, that has pre-law chapters. Based on what I know (which isn't firsthand), the experience you might have in such a pre-law chapter, while it might be very valuable and rewarding, would not be like the experience you might have in a social fraternity. It is possible to be a pre-law member of Phi Alpha Delta and of a social fraternity at the same time.

Quote:
As for the pre-law thing, I'd personally urge you to find a different major. You might try something like business or a science related field. I'm in law school right now. I really wish I had either more of a science or business background as either would have served me very well in my future law practice. Law school teaches you enough to be a lawyer. I think the pre-law thing is just unnecessary.
As someone who went to law school after earning a bachelor of music, I would heartily agree with Kevin -- both as to majoring in pre-law or poli-sci. Most law schools are looking for a diverse (used here in terms of educational and work backgrounds) student body. I remember one dean telling me in an admissions interview that he and the faculty didn't want a law school full of pre-law and poli-sci majors. His words to me: "All they've done is prepare themselves to go to law school, where we we'll be teaching them what they need to know about being a lawyer anyway. You've prepared yourself to have a life outside law school and outside the practice of law." (I was admitted to that school by the way.)

The best advice I ever heard was to major in something you really enjoy -- your grades are likely to be better if you do. If that's poli-sci, so be it, but be aware that there will be lots and lots of other poli-sci majors applying to law school, so you'll need to do things to set yourself apart from them.

Besides that, if you don't major in business or accouting, at least take some basic courses in each. That will be a great help.

Good luck!
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2007, 02:23 PM
skylark skylark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
As for the pre-law thing, I'd personally urge you to find a different major. You might try something like business or a science related field. I'm in law school right now. I really wish I had either more of a science or business background as either would have served me very well in my future law practice. Law school teaches you enough to be a lawyer. I think the pre-law thing is just unnecessary.
I graduated from law school last spring and I fully agree with Kevin's advice. In fact (as MysticCat pointed out) most law school admissions are actively seeking students from less represented majors (so, not pre-law or political science) so long as you've demonstrated in other interests that law school is something you're serious about. Other majors help bring diversity to classroom discussion.

Pick a major that will give you a different perspective than what you will learn in law school and either have a poli sci minor (take Con Law if offered), join the debate team, or get involved in campus political clubs. After your first semester of law school, you'll be thankful for the different perspective, and by having other things on your application more closely related to the law, you'll demonstrate that law-school is a long-term desire.

Additional bonus: I also think that this strategy is less likely to lead to law school burnout. Seven years of school is a LONG time to study different aspects of the government (which is essentially what you do by doing the poli-sci to law school route).

Last edited by skylark; 11-13-2007 at 02:27 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2007, 02:24 PM
rhoyaltempest rhoyaltempest is offline
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I agree with the others about the pre-law major. When I was considering law school (years ago) I was advised not to enter a pre-law program because law schools don't like this. Instead I was encouraged to major in History, Political Science, or Literature/English. Good Luck!
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2007, 02:33 PM
skylark skylark is offline
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In case you need more encouragement on the whole "don't major in pre-law or poli sci" thing... ask yourself what types of law you might be interested in practicing. Having an education on the subject matter that you would otherwise need to devote non-billing time to learning would be a huge asset. Tax or Business law? Go for a business or accounting major. Personal injury, workers compensation? Biology/Anatomy major would be really helpful. Criminal law? Psychology or Sociology would be excellent.
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Old 11-13-2007, 03:41 PM
spillarelli spillarelli is offline
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Hi,
I am taking a pychology class and I am really enjoying it so that could be a possible major. Right now I am not sure the kind of practice I would like to go into; however, I am interested in defending physicans in medical malpractice cases.

What is a professional organization with greek letters (mentioned earlier) as opposed to a fraternity? I just searched "professional organization with greek letters" and came up with Phi Alpha Delta for law. Is this a fraternity of brothers who live together? etc.
Thanks again

Last edited by spillarelli; 11-13-2007 at 03:44 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2007, 03:50 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spillarelli View Post
Hi,
I am taking a pychology class and I am really enjoying it so that could be a possible major. Right now I am not sure the kind of practice I would like to go into; however, I am interested in defending physicans in medical malpractice cases.

What is a professional organization with greek letters (mentioned earlier) as opposed to a fraternity?
Thanks again
There is a big difference. One is a professional Organization and one is more Social.

But, do not let you be thrown off by this.

Greek Social Organizations are made up by a lot of different types of people with different majors and that is what makes us great. We are not all the same!

They have differnt ideas and thoughts, not OKAY, I am in a major and that is the only thing I wiil think about.

You are looking to see what you may be interested and I am sure you may change your mind as most of us have.

I wanted to be a history teacher and ended up in business!

At your age, you may never know untill you investigate what is available!
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2007, 04:00 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spillarelli View Post
Hi,
I am taking a pychology class and I am really enjoying it so that could be a possible major. Right now I am not sure the kind of practice I would like to go into; however, I am interested in defending physicans in medical malpractice cases.
Keep your options open -- lots of us find ourselves in a practice we didn't anticipate when we were in law school. But if you really think you might be headed toward med-mal defense, then by all means take some classes to give yourself some medical background.

Quote:
What is a professional organization with greek letters (mentioned earlier) as opposed to a fraternity? I just searched "professional organization with greek letters" and came up with Phi Alpha Delta for law. Is this a fraternity of brothers who live together? etc.
Here's the Wiki's article on professional fraternities. (You might also take a look at the Wiki on "Types of fraternities.") Professional fraternities will almost always be co-ed, and the focus is usually on personal professional development and advancement of the profession itself. On some campuses, some may have houses and operate more or less like social/general fraternities (what you are probably thinking of when you simply refer to "fraternities"), with the exception of being co-ed, but most do not. I've never heard of a Phi Alpha Delta chapter having a house.
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2007, 06:33 PM
spillarelli spillarelli is offline
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Thanks for all the responses, and I will definately keep my options opened, but does anyone have any other opinion on me possibly being discriminated against?
Thanks again
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2007, 07:03 PM
skylark skylark is offline
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Honestly, I think the best advice I can give you is to not worry about whether you will or won't be discriminated against. Just try to put it out of your mind and live your life the best you can. Most (nearly all) people will refrain from purposeful discrimination, but that of course does not mean that your leg braces might make some people unconsciously uncomfortable and you won't be admitted because it is easier for people to get behind admitting someone who reminds them of themself.

I knew for many years that I was entering a field of law that (especially in the conservative, red state I live in) is predominantly male and doesn't have a great track record retaining women in the legal profession. However, at some point in college after spending a lot of time depressed about statistics and angry at the prevalence of discrimination (and lack of concern by many who thought gender discrimination was over), I realized that I could spend my whole life worrying about whether I was being treated on merits or not. I could wonder forever about whether I wasn't chosen for a particular position because of my gender. But really, who wants to go through life that way? And does that really change what I'm going to do with my life? Does it change my choices? Do I want to take myself out of the running because I'm afraid of being discriminated against? Heck NO!

Even if someone is discriminating, especially if it is intentional discrimination, wouldn't you want to force that person to make the decision? If you don't try at all, you make their discrimination that much easier!
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2007, 10:18 AM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Originally Posted by spillarelli View Post
Thanks for all the responses, and I will definately keep my options opened, but does anyone have any other opinion on me possibly being discriminated against?
Thanks again
That's an impossible question for us to answer. No one here possesses the psychic abilities required to divine whether the individual people responsible for doling out bids at whatever campus you're going to attend are going to discriminate against you based on your physical limitations. I'd really like to be able to tell you no, but that'd be me trying to predict the behavior of a bunch of 18-21 year old kids. Who can do that?

I've never seen that kind of discrimination happen, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

I can almost guarantee you though -- if you present yourself well, have good social skills and don't come off like a douche, you'll get bids.
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