UTD pre-law center brings on new director Heather Stovall

From left to right: Pre-Law Advisor Dominique Lange, Pre-Law Director Heather Stovall and Administrative Assistant Volya Helm at the kickoff event. Photo By André Averion | Mercury Staff

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The UTD pre-law advising program welcomes a new director, who plans to increase externship opportunities with law firms and awareness among students about reaching out for aid with application processes and questions concerning law school.

In August 2023, Heather Stovall stepped into her new role as the director of the Pre-Law Advising Center. Stovall received her bachelor’s degree in political science at UTD and continued her education at SMU’s School of Law. After her years as an attorney, she returned to her roots to help students on their path to law school.

“I really want to find ways for students to get involved at different law firms and the court system,” Stovall said.

After being a practicing attorney for several years, Stovall returned to SMU to work as the associate director of admissions. Stovall’s experience as both an employee and a student has given her insight on both sides of the law school admission process. She hopes to integrate that experience into the pre-law program at UTD by reaching out to local alumni who are now attorneys and growing the one-week externship program into a semester-long commitment that exposes students to local courts and law firms.

“I love practicing [law], and I realize there are different schools for all students,” Stovall said. “So, helping students and guiding them along that path is something I’m incredibly passionate about.”

Junior information technology major Tasfia Sharif is pursuing a focus in pre-law and said that the advising center has a good rapport with students. She is looking forward to the aid Stovall will bring to the center regarding the law school application process.

“[Pre-law Advising] are very open and don’t make any of the students feel bad about asking the really small questions that should seem obvious but sometimes aren’t,” Sharif said. “I think the program is going to be really good because the new advisor at the pre-law center is amazing.”

Stovall is vying for the involvement of different law school recruiters on campus by hosting private visits and panels for students. The Pre-Law Advising Center is working on putting together a virtual panel in October to help students to connect with different law schools, marking a new milestone for UTD. Stovall awaits students’ response to this event to judge its effectiveness.

“I actually did not take advantage of the pre-law program as much as I could have, so outreach is something we’re very focused on, making sure that everybody knows about our center, making sure that they know that we’ve got scholarship opportunities for law school applications,” Stovall said.

Stovall said she wants to make sure Comets understand how their current major is supplementary to their goals, and that students across majors and years know that being involved in their interests is imperative to having a good law school application.

“Instead of stressing out about getting internships or taking certain classes, do whatever it is that you’re passionate about,” Stovall said.


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