Pre-law Advising & Activities
People naturally have many questions when contemplating law school. How do I qualify? What are my chances of admission? How can I pay for it? Which programs best match my interest? What is the LSAT about and how can I prepare? Should I go to law school in the state or city where I hope to live? We're sure you can come up with more. What should I put in my "personal statement" for the application?
Professor Kent Rissmiller is the pre-law advisor to WPI students and alumni/ae. He won't promise to answer all your questions, but can assist with these questions and more. Professor Rissmiller has had the unusual experience of attending both the Washington College of Law at American University and the Franklin Pierce Law Center, where he earned his J.D. in 1980. Prof. Rissmiller worked for three years as a lawyer for the Public Service Commission of Nevada. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Syracuse University. He is also a member of the bar in Massachusetts and of the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Pre-law Society and Mock Trial
The Pre-law Society (also sometimes known as the Law and Social Issues Group) provides an opportunity for pre-law students to become acquainted and share interests. The Society invites speakers to campus to share their expertise in a legal subject or their career experience as lawyers. We've enjoyed visits from patent lawyers, law school faculty, judges, public defenders, and law school admissions officers. We've even had a visit from the director of the Massachusetts Crime Lab!
In addition, depending on the mood of the group, the Pre-Law Society has sponsored other public affairs programming on campus, hosting political debates and panel discussions on the affairs of the day.
More recently, the Pre-Law Society has formed mock trial teams to compete in the American Mock Trial Association's regional tournaments. There teams of three attorneys and three witnesses present a case in a trial setting representing the plaintiff (or prosecutor) or defendant in a case. The trials give students a great opportunity to learn rules of trial procedure and rules of evidence, and engage in public speaking - all as they try to persuade a set of judges to accept their version of events. Competitions are held annually, usually in February, and draw teams from many of the colleges and universities in New England. By the way, you don't have to be a pre-law student to participate!