Poker player. Flight officer. Rifle shooter.
The Daily Progress reports that unusual careers actually help many law school students at University of Virginia’s School of Law succeed in their studies. For example, Leo Wolport, a former poker pro, spent his days and nights playing poker, before entering UVa last fall. Wolpert says that the 16-hour days spent at a poker table have taught him how to stay focused for extended periods of time.
Before law school, Brian Vanyo was a flight officer in the Navy. “I just thought it would be a neat experience.” Now, in his third year of law school, Vanyo says that his military career has given him a different perspective on some of his classes. “If you don’t know how the military or intelligence works, I would expect that it might be a little hard to understand how the law might actually apply in operation.”
62% of the current first year law class at UVa didn’t immediately enter law school after completing an undergraduate degree. Instead, students spent an average of two years out of school before starting the law school.
Jason Wu Trugillo, senior assistant dean for admissions and financial aid, says that a pre-law school career helps a candidate stand out. “People with work experience bring an extra dimension to their application. It can make them somewhat more competitive in the law school admissions process.”
Like Northwestern and a growing number of other law schools, UVA attracts applicants who have a gap year, or two, between college and law school. These law school value a year of working and living outside the academic cocoon in an applicant. Clearly you don’t have to have it, but if you do, you are probably better off applying to programs seeking such experience. Its one aspect of fit.