Excellence and integrity in our work are our founding principles, and we are dedicated to providing our clients with the very best consulting in the industry. This is reflected in the bios you see on this page – every Spivey Consulting member was recruited to our firm due to their impeccable reputation for integrity and meaningful work among their peers in the law school admissions community. It is the reason we have become the most sought after firm in the industry through reputation alone, without ever having advertised. A relentless pursuit for excellence in everything we do will always guide our hiring, our work, and our commitment to you.
As a team, we aspire to be part of something bigger than ourselves in order to make a difference in our clients’ lives. In doing so, we intentionally hire admissions professionals with the best reputations in the law school admissions industry. With well over 100 years' combined experience in legal education, the Spivey Consulting team has succeeded in helping thousands of students gain admission to law school.
Emily Allen’s law school admissions career began in 1999 as the Director of Admission for Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, OR. As the admissions office department head, Emily reviewed and made decisions on law school applications and advised faculty committees on scholarship recipients. When Emily started a family, she stayed on as a consultant for the law school and continued to review applications and make admission decisions. With her Masters in Counseling and Human Services, Emily says her true passion is advising. She loves working with potential law students and guiding them through the application process.
Emily lives in Boise, ID where she and her husband are raising their three kids. She enjoys skiing, running, tennis and most things outdoors. She says she volunteers way too much at her kids’ school and loves the outlet that advising law applicants gives her.
“Emily Allen made me feel confident throughout the process that I had made the right decision. And if I had known that I would be walking away with roughly $110K in scholarships from one of the best law schools in the country, I would have committed even sooner. Thank you so much for the time, energy, care, expertise, and passion that you put into your work. It has been an amazing opportunity to work with you and I am humbled by the outcome we achieved.” —Liam
Danielle Early has 15 years of admissions experience, most recently serving as Associate Director of Admissions at Harvard Law School. As a voting member of the HLS admissions committee, she evaluated over 10,000 applications and conducted hundreds of admissions interviews. Prior to joining Karen in the HLS admissions office, Danielle worked in undergraduate admissions at Harvard College as well as Clark University.
In addition to the many roles Danielle filled in the HLS admissions office, she also served as a proctor (or dorm parent/resident hall director) while at Harvard, acting as an academic and career advisor for students. Danielle has spent considerable time counseling students throughout their undergraduate careers, job searches and grad school applications.
Danielle earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Clark University as a double major in Communications and Studio Art and then continued on there to earn a Master’s Degree in Professional Communications. These days, you are likely to find her hiking with her dog, taking cooking classes or working on a new drawing.
“Danielle was an incredible resource during my entire application cycle – I cannot imagine this year without her. She was there for me at every step of the way, accessible by phone, email, text, and even Skype when I was overseas. Furthermore, Danielle offers extraordinary insight into the application process after her years at HLS. She not only knows what to say, but also how to say it – making my application more competitive and persuasive. Finally, Danielle manages to respond to panicked emails and angsty phone calls with exceptional patience and positivity. In the months that followed my application submissions, I found this last point to be most impressive. I would highly recommend Danielle and the Spivey Consulting Group for your law school application cycle!” —D.
John Stachniewicz works directly with law schools to help improve their administrative and financial operations, and to enhance their metrics related to rankings, and he has over twenty years higher education experience in this area. Prior to joining Spivey Consulting Group, he was Associate Dean for Administration and Finance at Boston College Law School. As associate dean, he supervised finance and budgets, admissions and financial aid, career services, marketing and communications, human resources, reporting, and publications. At BC Law, John spearheaded the initiatives that resulted in a ten position increase from 36 to 26 in USNWR rankings between 2015 and 2018. Additionally, ranking increases were achieved in the Above the Law Top 50 Law Schools, to a high of 16, and in the Washington and Lee Law Review Rankings, to a high of 21. John holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree from Tufts University.
John and his husband split their time between Boston and Provincetown with a neurotic and loveable beagle in tow.
Greg Shaffer has advised law school applicants for 15 years, during which time he has gained intimate knowledge of admissions processes at many of the top law schools in the country. Currently, Greg serves as the Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising and the University Pre-Law Advisor at the University of Maryland, where he enjoys sharing in his clients’ experience of applying to law school. In running one of the largest pre-law programs in the country, Greg has worked with over 3,000 students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and has helped students each year get into the most elite law schools, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford and many more.
Greg was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and is proud to have been a first generation college student. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Maryland with degrees in economics and government/politics. He then went on to complete a law degree at the University of Notre Dame Law School, followed by a judicial clerkship back in his adopted home state of Maryland. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Greg spend 5 years practicing corporate and securities law at two of the nation’s largest law firms, providing an invaluable perspective to share with potential applicants.
Greg currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors and is very active in the law school admissions community. When not helping students, Greg can be found spending time was his family, rooting on his Terps and Fighting Irish sports teams, and preparing for his true dream job of playing professional golf.
Nikki Laubenstein worked in law school admissions for nearly 18 years, most recently as Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management at Syracuse University College of Law. In this role, she managed the admissions and financial aid offices and enrollment for the J.D. and LL.M. programs. Nikki made admissions and scholarship decisions and supervised the faculty admissions committee process. She directed marketing and data analytics, negotiated financial aid awards, conducted interviews, and met with prospective students to discuss law and joint degree program opportunities. She has participated on numerous panels and at workshops providing strategies for students to strengthen their applications. Nikki also served as an academic and career counselor with a focus on prelaw advising at Syracuse’s College of Arts & Sciences.
Nikki earned a B.A. in psychology and a M.S. and C.A.S. in Counseling. She began her career working in a high school counseling office where she developed a passion for advising students on college admissions and career development. A former college student-athlete, Nikki’s studies included a focus in sports psychology. She enjoys using this background to help her students with time management, goal setting, and motivation.
Central New York has a lot to offer and Nikki likes hiking, skiing, and any outdoor activity (as long as it’s not too cold)! She now spends most of her spare time attending sporting events for her two children.
“Last year, I spent the entire summer on the waitlist at 5 different law schools; ultimately, none selected me. I was frustrated, disappointed, and lost in the application process maze. I was ready to give up my dream of becoming a lawyer when I was introduced to Spivey Consulting. From the very first meeting, Nikki provided reassurance and hope. She got down to work on my case immediately. Nikki is an expert, and she shared her expertise and insights with me. She analyzed my specific situation, my strengths, and weaknesses and provided a solid course of action that would lead to law school acceptance letters. She counseled me on what schools were better suited for my LSAT score, academic background, professional experience. and personal strengths.Nikki looks at the whole person when making recommendations. She has been simply superb! She is an expert of her craft and is also caring. Nikki provides encouragement, support and navigates the application process with you. I have already been accepted to 4 law schools, all with scholarships! I simply could not have done it without Nikki’s expertise and guidance. I am forever grateful to her and Spivey Consulting!” —V.B.
Nick Everdell is a seasoned admissions professional with more than eight years of experience at some of the country’s most respected law schools. From 2008 to 2014 he served as Associate Director of Admissions at Columbia Law School, where he reviewed and voted on more than 16,000 applications. In 2014 he became Director of Recruitment at Yale Law School, where he was deeply involved in managing Yale’s unique admissions process. Nick started working in admissions in 2004 at Vermont Academy, a small boarding school in southern Vermont.
Nick holds a BA in Russian Studies from Cornell University, and an MA in Education Leadership from Columbia. As the child of two independent school teachers, he developed at an early age a passion for helping people find and achieve the educational path that leads to the greatest personal and professional success.
Nick grew up splitting his time between the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and the coast of Maine, and as such loves spending as much time on the water or in the woods as possible. He currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and two young sons.
“I am the first person in my family to go to law school and had no idea what I was getting myself into with the application process. I hired Spivey after seeing countless glowing reviews on every website I visited for advice. I was not disappointed. Nick was so patient, friendly, supportive, and knowledgeable throughout the entire process and especially when anxiety was getting the better of me. Nick is on your team from beginning to end and he makes you feel as if he’s in the ring fighting your challenges and reveling in your successes right along with you. Not only did I get into several top law schools, but I received very generous scholarships as well. I am happy to report that I will be attending my first choice law school, and there is no doubt in my mind that would not be true had it not been for Nick’s help! I highly recommend both Spivey Consulting and Nick Everdell.” —Lauren M.
Karen Buttenbaum is a respected law school admissions professional with over 16 years of experience working in legal education. From 2001-2013, she was a voting member of the admissions committee at Harvard Law School, reading and making decisions on over 16,000 applications and interviewing over 1,000 applicants during that time. Karen held almost every position on the senior staff in the HLS admissions office starting as an Assistant Director, moving up to Associate Director and most recently serving as Director. Prior to joining Harvard Law School, Karen assisted efforts in the admissions office at Roger Williams University School of Law helping them to achieve significant admissions milestones. Throughout her career in law school admissions, she has been actively involved with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) serving on the Test Development and Research Committee, Annual Meeting Planning Committee, served as a faculty member for new admission professionals, and has spoken at many LSAC sponsored events and conferences. Karen has been a member of the Northeast Association of Prelaw Advisors for many years, and a member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1997.
A former race junkie, Karen has completed three marathons and dozens of other races and triathlons of all distances, including finishing the Timberman Half-Ironman in New Hampshire. She now spends her spare time running after her preschooler.
“As an international applicant, I felt assured that Karen was by my side, as my trusted teammate, adviser and friend. Karen is always able to provide useful and valuable insight for the applications, and highly detailed and professional advice about the law schools and legal employment market. Karen played a vital and indispensable part in my success in this cycle. She is patient, responsive, dedicated and reliable. I highly recommend Karen, and I hope others will reach out to her as well.” —A.C.
Rob Cacace works with budding attorneys to promote their career and professional development. He helps clients prepare for the various challenges of law school. As Executive Director in Georgetown Law’s Office of Career Strategy Rob oversees professional and skills training by helping to design and deliver programs, in addition to serving as a career advisor for hundreds of law students. Rob also taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown. He sharpened his research and writing skills as a federal district court clerk in DC and litigator at a plaintiff-side firm, refining competencies that he developed as a Summer Honors intern at the Department of Justice and a Summer Associate at Paul, Weiss in New York City. Rob’s clients benefit not only from his legal skills and professional development training but from his long-standing commitment to counseling; he caught the counseling bug as a tutor/mentor in college and continued to develop mentoring relationships while working with paralegals, interns, and law students. As a pre-law advisor in law school, he edited essays and applications materials and composed recommendations for students who went on to top law schools. Rob received his B.A. and J.D. from Harvard, and has a Masters in Modern History from Oxford University. As part of Spivey Consulting Pre-L program, he works with recently admitted law students to sharpen the skills that are vital to success as a first-year and beyond: critical reading, digesting cases, briefing, writing, outlining, and career planning.
Rob came to the legal profession by way of the Bronx. Born and raised there, he was the first in family to attend college (his father was a garbage man and his mother was a manicurist). Rob worked odd jobs through high school and college — including busboy, construction laborer, mail boy, short-order cook, travel writer, and file clerk. These days he spends the bulk of his time — and calories — chasing after his three kids in the parks, playgrounds, and museums of DC alongside his wife, who is a partner at a civil rights law firm.
“The prospect of starting law school ten years removed from undergrad was daunting in the extreme, however Rob Cacace and the Spivey Pre-L course gave me confidence in my abilities and the inside track on what to expect in 1L. Instead of wasting valuable time learning the mechanics of law school, I will now hit the ground running on day one. I heartily recommend the course to all rising 1Ls.” —Brendan H.
Tom Robinson has worked in Admissions for more than 20 years and enjoys advising students as they navigate the admissions process. Most recently, Tom served as the Director of J.D. Admissions at Harvard Law School where he received the 2018 Dean’s Award for Excellence. During his years in Admissions, Tom has evaluated thousands of applications, interviewed more than 900 law applicants, and served on admissions committees within three different universities.
As a first generation college student himself, Tom understands the value of good advising throughout the admissions process. He is particularly proud of his role in admitting the first ever class at Harvard Law with more than 50% women, has advised students from across China, Europe, North and South America, and enjoys talking with Veterans about their law school aspirations.
In addition to his professional experience, Tom earned a Masters in Education at the University of Vermont and a Doctorate in Leadership in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts. When not working with potential applicants, you can find Tom hiking with his yellow lab Wilma, kayaking, or cycling northwest of Boston!
“Tom Robinson, with his vast experience in law school admissions, cleared up much of the uncertainty that comes with being an international applicant and helped me get into Harvard. Result aside, I want to commend Tom on the process, because the value I got from his consulting goes beyond admission to my dream school.”
I went into the admission cycle with a bad case of Impostor Syndrome. I had spent weeks trying to think of something significant, a uniqueness about me, that I would be proud to write about. Tom, on the other hand, with a few pleasant conversations helped me uncover many interesting — even impressive — aspects of my life. Then, with his guidance, I crafted a cohesive, compelling application that I still, to this day, would read because it fills me with pride and confidence. That confidence, the feeling that I am deserving of this incredible result, is why I am forever grateful to Tom.” -F.A.
Jayme has over 13 years of experience in legal practice and education, serving as the Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School before joining the Spivey Consulting Group. At Chicago, she administered the application review process from start to finish, read thousands of law school applications, and was responsible for designing and implementing Chicago’s admissions interviewing program. She also managed Chicago’s student admissions committee, affinity group outreach, and several aspects of the admissions process. Before transitioning into law school admissions, she practiced employment and labor law at Sidley Austin in Chicago. Jayme has a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and a B.A. in Psychology from Ohio University. Jayme is a detail person and enjoys helping clients find the best way to convey their authentic voice and ideas. She loves the strategy involved in admissions, on both the applicant and law school sides. Jayme is also an animal welfare advocate and has worked on several legislative initiatives related to companion animals and addressing the problem of puppy mills.
Jayme grew up in a small town in central Ohio but she now proudly considers herself a Chicagoan. She lives in downtown Chicago with her husband and two young children. She loves dogs (with a soft spot for West Highland White Terriers and older rescue dogs), Ohio State football, California wine county, and classical music. Most weekends, she and her family enjoy exploring the city, and she is always in search of great vegetarian food, a new local coffee shop, and anything sweet (she is an expert on Chicago’s extensive gourmet doughnut scene).
“I absolutely cannot recommend Spivey Consulting Group highly enough. Jayme was so knowledgeable and patient, and she helped me to stay positive during what was a really stressful time for me. The law school application process is a daunting one, and having a former director of admissions at one of the top law schools in the country as my personal advocate and consultant was so reassuring and made the process so much less stressful. Despite my three disappointing LSAT scores, which I was sure would preclude me from a T14, I am attending my dream school in the fall where I did not think I stood a chance. Thank you so much to Jayme and the entire Spivey Consulting Group—I could not have done it without your knowledge and expertise!” –E.
Christian Panneck has over a decade of undergraduate admissions experience at Belmont University, serving in such capacities as Admissions Counselor, Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions, and Director of Admissions for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Additionally, she served as Associate Director of College Counseling for a Nashville-area private school, helping high school juniors and seniors navigate the college search and application process. She began her career in student affairs as Assistant Director of Residence Life at Vanderbilt University with responsibility for approximately 1000 residential students.
Christian also has experience in the publishing field, both as an Author Services Advocate and as Operations Coordinator for a small firm, positions she held while also doing freelance writing and editing work. With a love of reading, writing, and correcting errors, she has volunteered to be an unofficial editor in every professional and volunteer position she’s held.
Originally from Northeast Arkansas, Christian moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration. She later completed coursework toward a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership, also at Vanderbilt. After twenty wonderful years in Nashville, she recently relocated to Inlet Beach, FL, where she aims to put her feet in the sand at least once each day. A two-time HS state tennis champion, she’s an avid fan of VU athletics and loves cheering on her ‘Dores!
Christina has thirteen years of selective admissions experience at Vanderbilt University - first with Undergraduate Admissions, and then Law School Admissions. At Vanderbilt Undergraduate Admissions she worked her way up from Admissions Counselor to Associate Director, and recruited students from across the country while also serving as Director of the Undergraduate Admissions Tourguide program. She moved across campus to create, implement, and direct the Vanderbilt Law School’s Admission Interview Program and Admitted Student Receptions. While in her role as Associate Director of Admissions at Vanderbilt Law School, Christina coordinated more than 8,000 interviews by Admissions Officers and volunteer alumni, and conducted more than 800 interviews herself. Additionally she reviewed and voted on the admissions decision for more than 6,500 law school applications.
Christina earned a B.S. from Vanderbilt in Mathematics and Secondary Education, and a M.A. from Boston College in Mathematics. She grew up in North Florida, but after living in Nashville for sixteen years, considers Music City home. Together with her husband and two sons she enjoys sampling Nashville’s newest restaurants, and rooting for the Titans and Commodores.
“Consider yourself lucky if you get to work with Christina Williams. I began with no idea about how to approach my law school applications, but Christina was with me every step of the way, answering any and every question on my mind throughout the process. She meticulously edited each of my application materials, and was a grounding voice during a time that is inevitably fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. Perhaps even more importantly, Christina worked with me to ensure that my application told a story: my story. I was accepted to nearly all of the T14’s I applied to, and will be attending a T10 school in the fall with a huge scholarship. I have no doubt that I would not be in this position if it weren’t for Christina’s eye and advice. Indeed, choosing to use Spivey Consulting was the best investment I’ve ever made, and I urge other applicants to do the same!” —E.
Amy Killoran has spent more than a decade working with law students and young attorneys on their career development. As a Director in Georgetown Law’s Office of Career Strategy, she specializes in working with upper-division students and recent law school graduates to help them realize their career potential. Amy is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a student at Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, where she coaches law and business leaders. She previously earned a certificate in financial planning, making her fluent in the personal finance aspect of career change and growth.
Before realizing that her passion lay in developing other lawyers’ careers, Amy clerked for a federal judge and practiced at an AmLaw 100 firm in Atlanta. She completed her B.A. at Cornell University and her J.D. at Duke Law. In addition to watching Blue Devil basketball, she and her husband spend many weekends cheering on their two young sons at swim and dive meets in Northern Virginia.
Paula Gluzman has a decade of experience in legal practice and law school administration. Her true passion for working with students in their law school journey is demonstrated through her diverse experiences. As the Assistant Director of Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Washington School of Law and later at UCLA School of Law, Paula has read and evaluated hundreds of admissions files, interviewed applicants, and has worked directly with candidates all over the country and abroad to advise them on the law school admissions process. In addition to mentoring and advising pre-law students and traveling the country to present on law school admissions topics, Paula also has experience in law school career services, employer outreach and recruiting, and professional development training. She has reviewed and edited hundreds of resumes, cover letters, and other application materials, as well as graded California Bar exam practice tests. Her favorite aspect of these positions is the opportunity to facilitate and guide each student through the important factors of the law school experience. Additionally, Paula’s work as a law school career advisor allows her to bring the full-circle perspective to the admissions process, helping applicants make informed and strategic law school decisions from a career and professional development perspective.
Paula’s engaging and warm personality matches her current hometown of sunny San Diego, CA. When she isn’t working with students, Paula is soaking up the sun at the beach with her husband, toddler, and their scruffy little dog.
Paula graduated from Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and earned her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.
“Working with Paula was a phenomenal experience. Each of her suggestions was impactful and strategic, and my personal statement was improved tenfold. I was initially hesitant at the financial investment, but looking back it was more than worth it!” –A.K.
Erika Guckenberger graduated from Harvard College in 2000, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, cum laude. In 2004, she completed her Master’s of Education through Salem State College. She served as a member of the Harvard Law School admissions team for three years, working alongside fellow Spivey consultants Karen Buttenbaum, Danielle Early, and Tom Robinson. In 2016 she joined the Spivey Consulting team, working with clients on the other side of the admissions equation. In addition to her work on behalf of law school applicants, she is employed as a middle school social studies teacher and as a registered yoga instructor. When time permits, she indulges her curiosity by traveling the world, including recent excursions to Cuba and Portugal, and two Fulbright Group Study Abroad trips to East Africa and Japan.
“I just wanted to thank Erika for everything she did with my personal statement. I applied to 14 schools, and I have been admitted to all of them! I have finally decided to attend Emory with scholarship money! My highest LSAT score was a 155, and I am confident that I would not have the opportunity to attend Emory if it wasn’t for Erika’s help. I will forever be grateful for her excellent work!” —K.S.
Anna Hicks oversees the administrative and business operation of Spivey Consulting Group. She has been with Spivey since 2013. Anna has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, where she majored in journalism and graduated magna cum laude before being accepted to 8 of the top 14 law schools with significant scholarships, including a named full ride to a top 10 school. In her spare time, Anna is a voracius reader who always has a stack of books on her bedside table, a lover of all dogs (but especially her lovable mutt Noodle), and an amateur musical theatre performer.
“I worked with both Anna Hicks and Mike Spivey. Anna was accepted to a top 10 law school with a full scholarship, and I could immediately see why. She was an exceptionally detailed editor who was able to pick out the very best from me to help me stand out in everything I submitted. Mike knew the inside and out for the schools I applied to and added critical and individualized strategic input for each. Together they made a great team, and I was admitted to my number 1 school very early in the cycle!” —Nancy O.
Anne Dutia has been involved on both sides of the admissions process since 2001. After spending four years in admissions at The University of Michigan Law School as Assistant Director, she served as a pre-law advisor at The University of Texas at Dallas until joining Spivey Consulting in October of 2017. As a pre-law advisor, Anne was on the Executive Board of the Southwestern Association of Pre-Law Advisors (SWAPLA) and on the Pre-Law Advisors National Council (PLANC). She has presented at and helped to organize multiple pre-law advising conferences. She was also a coach of a Top 15 undergraduate Moot Court team and served on the Executive Board of the American Moot Court Association (AMCA).
A self-professed nerd, Anne loves a well-told story. She therefore appreciates how an application must offer a coherent, compelling narrative that conveys the applicant’s motivations, experiences, and trajectory. During her time as a pre-law advisor, Anne worked with incredibly diverse students, including first-generation college students, community college transfers, non-traditional students, National Merit Scholars and Honors students, who were accepted at law schools all over the country, including the most prestigious schools in the nation, often with significant scholarships.
Born in Bombay, India, Anne has lived all over the United States. Despite living in Texas for more than a decade, she still claims Alabama as her home. She’s passionate about Alabama football, and when she’s not being a soccer or band mom, she can be found cheering on the Crimson Tide.
“I was referred to Spivey by a friend who insisted the company’s admissions consulting service is worth every penny. Though applying to law school can be quite stressful, Anne eased all of my concerns with her expertise and made me feel comfortable throughout the entire process. She did an outstanding job tailoring my essays, along with other parts of my application, to effectively highlight my strengths and tell my story. Needless to say, the service exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I was admitted to my top choice law school with a substantial scholarship. I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to work with Anne and will highly recommend Spivey’s services to anyone interested in applying to law school in the future.” —M.
Shannon Davis has worked in law school admissions for 17 years, serving most recently as Assistant Dean for Admissions and Communications at Lewis & Clark Law School. In this role, she coordinated faculty and student admissions committees, made thousands of admissions and scholarship decisions, advised countless applicants, and established a successful interview program. She has served on several committees with the Law School Admissions Council, and presented at colleges and universities across the country. Shannon has a wealth of experience in higher education, having also worked in undergraduate admissions, judicial affairs, student activities, alumni affairs, and residence life at universities in the Midwest and on the west coast.
Shannon began her career as a college and financial aid counselor, scholarship coordinator, and career advisor at a college-prep high school in the California bay area. Her professional background also includes years of experience in marketing and communications. Shannon earned a BA from Santa Clara University and an MS in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University. Her graduate school research focused on college rankings, access to education, and campus hate crimes.
Shannon is grateful to live in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon with her husband and two daughters. Like most of the SCG team, Shannon enjoys traveling and being active. When she has a couple free hours, you can usually find her trail running, road biking, playing tennis, or reading while sipping a hot cup of chai tea.
“Working with Shannon was an excellent experience. From a substantive perspective, Shannon’s insights helped me to fine-tune my application, ensuring that I presented a focused and impactful message across my personal statement, supplemental essays, and interviews. On an interpersonal level, meanwhile, Shannon was the consummate professional, always available to provide quick-turnaround essay feedback or hop on the phone for a conversation about application strategy.
I sought the services of a consultant because I wanted to make sure that I would be “putting my best foot forward” in the high-stress and often opaque world of law school admissions. Shannon played a key role in helping me to achieve this goal. With her help, I was accepted to schools across the T-14, and will be attending a T-5 school on a full-tuition merit scholarship this fall. Shannon’s support was invaluable, and I would highly recommend her for anyone looking to get the most out of their cycle.”–K.
Derek Meeker is a nationally respected professional among law school admissions and career services deans. His 18 years of experience include serving as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for the University of Pennsylvania Law School, as Recruiting Manager for global law firm Paul Hastings, and as an admissions reader for the University of Chicago Law School.
As Dean of Admissions at Penn Law, Derek evaluated and made the final decision on every J.D. application–over 6,000 per year. During his tenure, Penn Law received a record number of applications, significantly increased selectivity, and expanded need-based, public service, and merit scholarship programs. As a consultant, he has successfully guided hundreds of law school applicants through eight admission cycles and has advised law schools on their admissions and career services strategies. He also has counseled current law students on the big law hiring process, interviewing skills, and etiquette. He has spoken at dozens of colleges across the country and served on committees and panels for various professional organizations, including as a research assistant and Chair of the New Admission Personnel and Faculty Members Workshop for the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
A first-generation college student from Appalachian Ohio and member of the LGBTQ community, Derek is most proud of his legacy of increasing racial, sexual orientation, and socio-economic diversity at Penn Law and in helping to launch diversity scholarships at Paul Hastings. He also has served as a career mentor and writing coach to first-generation college applicants in the Los Angeles area. A former practicing attorney, Derek holds a B.S. in Journalism and takes continuing education courses in the Writers’ Program at UCLA. He is passionate about writing and loves coaching students to be better writers. In his free time, Derek enjoys acting, yoga, meditation, biking, cooking, and camping.
“Derek, I decided to pull the trigger and commit to Harvard Law School. I am incredibly happy about my choice and can’t wait to begin my law school journey this fall. Thank you so much for all your incredible help and insight throughout the zany admissions process. Your guidance was invaluable, and I will be forever grateful to you. You not only helped me achieve a level of success I couldn’t imagine was possible but also—through your indefatigable editing and note-giving—elevated my writing ability to new heights. Both are gifts that will benefit me throughout my life. And through it all, your calm demeanor helped keep my anxiety at bay. I am so appreciative of your services.” —A.P.
Before founding Spivey Consulting, Mike helped lead the admissions, employment, external outreach, and strategic initiatives of three top law schools while at Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Colorado. Mike has been featured in several CNN interviews on law schools as well as Fortune Magazine, the New York Times, the Economist, and U.S. News & World Report, and has been highlighted in The Chronicles of Higher Education for his forward-thinking efforts in admissions. Mike is a former Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) faculty member for new admissions professionals and a former Advisory Board Member for Lexis Nexis. He has also served on the board of both a non-profit and tech start-up. Mike was honored and is an inductee of The Blackburn Society for his demonstrating ethics and leadership in his career. “Dean” Spivey has helped counsel thousands of students through the admissions, scholarship and legal career search processes. He has been a featured speaker and panelist at more than 150 prestigious universities, including Princeton University, Stanford University, and Dartmouth College, and has been actively sought out to consult for a wide range of law schools.
A former athlete, Mike was twice invited by the Cleveland Indians to participate in professionally scouted tryouts and recruited to play baseball, football and track in college. Mike was a Philosophy Major at Vanderbilt University, MBA graduate from the University of Alabama and Doctoral Student in Higher Education Leadership at Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt University. He now spends his spare time hiking the mountains around Boulder, Colorado with his dog and running 5k and 10k races.
“As a parent and business professional, I am deeply compelled to share my experience with anyone considering using Spivey Consulting.
Mike was a Dean at Washington University when my son attended law school there during the “Great Recession.” My son wanted to practice law in Boston and Mike specifically flew to the area and met with a number of law firms – which ultimately helped open a door for my son to land a position at an elite Boston Firm. Mike took personal interest in placing his students when most law schools across the nation were being shut out due to the hiring freeze of the time.
For admissions help, this year we called Mike because our daughter was wait listed at her dream school. While not making any guarantees, Mike did make a promise. That he would commit himself to do everything he could on her behalf. Today she was admitted.
I write this testimonial because far too often I have heard similar promises in life – only to receive a follow up email or call with a litany of reasons when things didn’t work out. But this was different. Mike spoke to us during this process with calm confidence, an exhaustive knowledge of the process, and with palpable commitment to my daughter. And he delivered.
It is rare to find this type of sincere commitment and passion to delivering results in the business world. But we have found that with Mike and Spivey Consulting twice now. I hope that others reach out to Spivey Consulting, because I think you will see the same dedication and personal attention that my family has seen. And I know firsthand how important this process is.” –Ron Weissman
Joe Pollak is a former admissions officer for the University of Michigan Law School. At Michigan, Joe reviewed thousands of applications, negotiated scholarships, and counseled students on their law school aspirations. Among his other roles, Joe ran the waitlist, supervised application processing, and managed applicants’ campus visits. As a consultant, Joe works with all kinds of clients and has a reputation for giving pragmatic and friendly advice about the admissions process. Joe also has special insight to offer Jewish clients.
Joe received his B.A. and J.D., both with honors, from the George Washington University. Earlier in his career, he practiced law in Washington, DC, and in between college and law school, he was the assistant director of a summer camp in central Texas. Joe is a part-time consultant with Spivey Consulting Group, and his flexible other job is as the executive director of an environmental nonprofit organization. In his free time, he is an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, a fair-weather hiker, and a so-so bread baker. Joe lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife and two sons.
Patrick Connorton works with incoming law students to prepare them to succeed in their academic and professional careers. Patrick has extensive experience teaching, tutoring, and mentoring law students, having taught legal writing as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School and having worked as a faculty-appointed tutor for students struggling to adjust to the rigors of law school. Patrick brings the perspective of both a “Big Law” and “Boutique” practitioner to his teaching. He worked as a litigator for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, one of the most prestigious law firms in the country, and for Cohen & Gresser, an elite litigation boutique. At both firms, he regularly handled complex, multi-million and multi-billion dollar disputes involving issues of contract, securities, intellectual property, and digital media law. Prior to entering private practice, Patrick clerked for federal judges in the Southern District of New York and on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where he honed his legal writing and research skills. Patrick is currently Co-Founder and General Counsel of Reefill, a “Green Tech” startup company based in New York City.
Patrick is a graduate of Fordham Law School (magna cum laude), where he served as Managing Editor of the Law Review. He received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College. When not teaching or helping his startup cure Americans’ addiction to bottled water, Patrick can be found hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, chuckling over a good P.G. Wodehouse book, or, most likely, watching Game of Thrones with his wife.
“This course exceeded my expectations. Not only did I get drastically better at legal writing as the course progressed, but also I was able to use Patrick’s extensive feedback on my assignments to develop a set of personally-tailored guidelines, which I plan to use as a sort of checklist from now on when I do any legal writing. I will enter law school much more familiar and comfortable with the demands of legal writing because of this course, and I expect that to be extremely valuable.” —C.D.
Laura Wrobel’s law school admissions career began in 1999 as an admissions officer at Duke University School of Law. In her time at Duke, Laura served as the Senior Admissions Officer and Director of Financial Aid for many years. Laura’s knowledge of law school admissions comes from having managed every aspect of the process. She has been a decision maker on tens of thousands of admission and scholarship applications, conducted interviews, managed scholarship and financial aid programs and awarded millions of dollars in scholarship and aid funds, as well as counseled applicants regarding the admissions and financial aid process. Laura also worked to assist those in need through her service as a member of the Board of Advisors for NC LEAF, North Carolina’s law loan repayment assistance program.
In her spare time, Laura is an avid runner, community volunteer and active in several philanthropic organizations. She enjoys traveling nearly anywhere, but especially cherishes time spent with her husband, three young children and dog in both the Outer Banks and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Delphine Byrd has over twenty years of experience at both the undergraduate and law school levels, primarily in admissions. Her background includes work in financial aid and scholarships, as well as academic and career counseling, but admissions has been her passion. Delphine has served as the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Michigan Law School, and most recently as the Assistant Dean for Admissions at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She enjoys helping students navigate through the application process, and supporting them as they reach for their goals. She is very familiar with the holistic and comprehensive application review process, as well as scholarship negotiation. She is the recipient of a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for her urban outreach work.
Delphine hails from the “Motor City” — Detroit, Michigan. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, and watching old movies.
Jenn Kopolow has over 15 years of experience in legal practice and higher education. As the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Richmond School of Law, she read and made decisions on thousands of admission files, counseled hundreds of pre-law students, and frequently traveled to undergraduate institutions giving presentations on getting into law school. Jenn’s professional experience also includes 5 years of teaching legal writing and criminal law courses as a professor of law, grading Virginia bar exam essays for the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, and serving as a bar adviser for Themis Bar Review. These roles highlight her talents for, and interest in, mentoring students and teaching enhanced writing skills. As a Partner with Spivey Consulting, Jenn’s admissions and academic background allows her to merge her passion for legal education with her love of counseling students.
Jenn brings an enthusiasm for running to the collective athleticism of the Spivey Consulting Group. She has run two marathons, twelve half marathons, and countless shorter races. When she’s not chasing her next half marathon personal record, Jenn is planning her next travel adventure with her husband and searching for the perfect cup of coffee.
Jenn earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina and her B.A., summa cum laude, from James Madison University.
“Jenn was so helpful during my application cycle! I was impressed by her patience, accessibility, and work ethic. Her experience in law school admissions helped me to make strategic decisions that got me into my dream school, Harvard! She’s a detailed editor who made my application shine. The process was so much smoother because of Jenn, and her knowledge and passion gave me confidence at every step along the way. I would highly recommend Jenn and the Spivey Consulting Group for your law school application cycle!” —S.N.
Kevin Petty has over 10 years of law school admissions experience, most recently as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Chicago Law School. In this position, he reviewed applications for both admissions and for scholarship awards and was responsible for both initial scholarship decisions and reconsiderations. He also managed the Summer Public Interest Program funding and the Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago Law School, Kevin’s background included experience working in human resources, business and financial management, and business consulting. He received a B.S. in Business Management from DePaul University.
Kevin calls Chicago home, and he enjoys clean eating, cooking, running along Chicago’s lakefront, and walks with his very sweet but very opinionated Boxer.