Interview By: Alida Miranda-Wolff
Tara Tavernia is a third-year law student at the University of Chicago Law School. She serves as the Senior Articles Editor on the University of Chicago Legal Forum, and has worked as a Pro Bono Attorney at Lawyers for the Creative Arts. She will begin working for a private law firm in Washington, D.C. this coming fall. Before attending the University of Chicago, Tara attended Cornell University, where she studied English and American Studies and served as Editor-in-Chief for the Cornellian Yearbook and Executive Chair for the Cornell University Program Board.
UCULR: You studied English at Cornell University as an undergraduate. Do you feel like your major prepared you for law school or did you gain most of your experience from extracurricular activities?
Tara Tavernia: I think that both my academic and extracurricular experiences helped to prepare me for law school. As an English major, I strengthened my writing skills, which has been helpful in law school, but in my extracurricular activities, I developed real-world skills (like how to manage a group of peers) that will be helpful when I begin my career.
UCULR: When did you decide you wanted to go to law school? Did you explore other fields before making that decision?
TT: I decided to attend law school when I was a junior in college. I had always been interested in a career where I would be able to utilize my writing skills, but for the first half of college, I thought that I might pursue a career in journalism. After some internships and extracurricular experiences, I decided that law might be a better fit.
UCULR: How difficult was the law school application process? When do you think undergraduates should start preparing their application materials? Which area of the application should students focus on most?
TT: I think that the application process is very manageable as long as you are willing and able to start early. Figure out a time when you will be able to prepare for and take the LSAT, and start working on your application materials as soon as you can. If you give yourself enough time to perform the necessary tasks, the application process isn’t too overwhelming.
UCULR: What made you decide to go to the University of Chicago Law School? Was it your first choice? Do you ever question your decision?
TT: I decided to come to the University of Chicago Law School after visiting during Admitted Students Weekend. I visited a few schools, but I really enjoyed my weekend at U of C and felt that the school would be a good fit for my personality and interests. I’ve had a great experience at the law school and am very happy with my decision.
UCULR: The University of Chicago Law School has a reputation for being anti-social. Have you been able to maintain a healthy social life at law school? Are your friends mostly law students or have you kept in touch with childhood and college friends?
TT: I definitely still make time for a social life at school. In law school, some weeks have more work than others, but I think that, if you figure out study methods and a routine that works for you, it’s perfectly easy to find time to do things outside of school.
UCULR: You are almost at the end of your law school career. Do you ever miss being a 1L? What has been the most challenging part of law school so far?
TT: I do miss being a 1L sometimes. 1L year is tough, but it’s also an exciting experience because law school feels different than college in a lot of ways.
UCULR: What do you think is the most important thing for prospective law students to remember?
TT: I think it’s really important to think about two things as you are applying to law school. First, ask yourself whether you really want to be a lawyer, and why. Second, once you have been admitted, make sure that the school you are considering is somewhere you think you would be happy for the next three years; I think it’s really important to visit and see if the schools you are considering would be a good fit.
Alida Miranda-Wolff is a second-year double-majoring in Law, Letters, and Society and English and minoring in Spanish Literature.