New Pre-Law Advisor: Rick Mullaney

Bryan Jones

Photo courtesy of JU College of Business

Anyone thinking of attending law school ought to visit the Davis College of Business and speak with Rick Mullaney, Jacksonville University’s new pre-law advisor.

What is most interesting is that many pre-law advisors at other universities are not  law school graduates. Mullaney visited another school where there were four pre-law advisors, and not a single one of them had been to law school.

It is this strange irony that Mullaney believes will make his experience at JU particularly helpful to students looking for more than just an undergraduate education. Having a vast experience in the world of legal practice, Mullaney is planning to make his mark at JU.

“I’m really looking forward to being the pre-law advisor,” Mullaney said.

According to his resume, Mullaney graduated from the University of Florida in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He then attended the Levin College of Law at UF and graduated with his law degree in 1980. He worked in commercial litigation from 1980 to 1982 and was an assistant state’s attorney from 1982 to 1991. He worked for the city of Jacksonville from 1997 until 2010 as general counsel, defending the city from lawsuits. Additionally, he spent a year as chief of staff to Mayor John Delaney, whom he first met at a high school debate tournament. Delaney is now the President of the University of North Florida.

“I’ve been fortunate to do both public and private [litigation],” said Mullaney.

Mullaney is confident that his experiences will put him in a good position to advise JU students on what the practice of law has to offer.

“I like to think that because I’ve been to law school, I’ll be able to inform students on what the demands of law school are and what it takes to be successful,” he said.

He had a wealth of advice to share with both pre-law and potential pre-law students. Mullaney brought up five points that are critical to a law school application. These include a good LSAT score, good grades, a solid personal statement, a letter of recommendation and an up-to-date resume.

He stressed it is important for people wishing to attend graduate school should be thinking about it early, and be working to have good grades from the beginning. Mullaney advised, in order to be prepared early, those planning on taking the law school admissions test should schedule to takeit in the spring of their junior year. He said it is very important to familiarize yourself with the test and recommended taking a preparatory course.

“It’s a myth that you don’t have to prepare for the [LSAT],” he said.

For the personal statement, Mullaney advises doing several drafts.

“Good writing is rewriting.”

He suggested giving some thought to whom might write your letter of recommendation well in advance and hinted at trying a bit harder in certain classes to foster faculty favor.

“Be very intentional,” he said.

He said it is a very smart idea to always have an up-to-date resume in preparation for any opportunities that might otherwise pass the student by.

“In a competitive job market, students should be thinking about what gives them a competitive edge,” he said. “I want to put students in the best possible position to take the next step.”