About Us

The Spivey Consulting Group was established to help clients understand leading strategies for admissions, employment, and law school administration with a commitment to developing tailor-made plans for individual clients.

Our Team

With well over 40 years’ experience working in legal education, the Spivey Consulting team has counseled thousands of students on gaining admission to law school and developing legal employment strategies. All the while, we saw a growing amount of misinformation, mistakes and neglect in how prospective students apply to law school, how law students search for jobs, and how law schools have adapted to the rapid change in legal education.

We started in Boulder and now have consultants across the US who work with clients all over the world. The people you'll work with aren't just the best in their field; we have been there as law school admissions committee decision-makers and — most importantly — we care about your success. Indeed, your success is our success, and we have used this simple philosophy to build the strongest reputation in the industry.

Shannon Davis

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 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.

Emily Allen

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.

Marianna Moss

Marianna Moss litigated at top firms in Denver, Milwaukee, and New York. She was a law clerk to a federal judge, after graduating Fordham Law School with multiple honors: top 5%, Order of the Coif, magna cum laude, and Fordham Law Review.

In addition to running her own law practice, Marianna enjoys mentoring law students and new law school graduates. As an attorney, she has advised and coached moot court teams, judged mock oral arguments, and mentored law students formally and informally. As a law student, Marianna tutored struggling students. In her law practice, Marianna has employed law students and young attorneys, training them in research and writing.

Marianna works and lives in Denver with her husband and two children.

Patrick Connorton

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.

Erika Guckenberger

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 two years. In addition to her work for Spivey Consulting, 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 two Fulbright Group Study Abroad trips to East Africa and Japan. She is eagerly anticipating her next adventure: taking part in a person-to-person exchange in Cuba in mid-February.

Karen Buttenbaum

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.

Mike Spivey

Mike Spivey has long been considered a leader at the cutting edge of law school administration and higher education. Since 2000, Mike has 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, and the Economist, 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, Dartmouth College and most recently the University of Florida, and has been sought out as a consultant at numerous 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.

You can listen to a podcast in which Mike is a featured speaker on goal-setting, admissions and more here. You can also view Mike’s LinkedIn profile with completely unsolicited testimonials.

Jenn Kopolow

Jenn Kopolow is a legal writing professor with a law admissions and law firm background. Prior to merging her passion for counseling law students with her love of legal writing and academia, Jenn served as Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Richmond School of Law in Richmond, Virginia, where she read and made decisions on thousands of admission files, counseled hundreds of pre-law students, and frequently traveled to colleges and universities giving presentations on getting into law school. Jenn arrived in law admissions by way of a judicial clerkship and private practice, where she read hundreds of resumes and interviewed hundreds of law students as a voting member of her firm’s Recruiting Committee.

Jenn earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina and her B.A., summa cum laude, from James Madison University. In addition to teaching first-year and advanced legal writing courses at Arizona Summit Law School, Professor Kopolow is also the school’s Director of the Writing Center, where she gets to geek out over grammar and writing style every day. In her spare time, Jenn spent years grading actual Virginia bar exam essays for the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, and she continues to serve as a bar adviser for Themis Bar Review.

Jenn brings a love of running to the collective athleticism of the Spivey Consulting Group. She has run two marathons, nine half marathons, a handful of ten-milers, and countless shorter races. When she’s not chasing her next half marathon personal record, Jenn is planning her next travel adventure. Recently she and her husband traveled to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, where they befriended giant land tortoises.

Jennifer Jenkins

Jennifer Jenkins has worked in higher education for nine years. In her law school admissions career, she has served as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Northeastern University School of Law and as an Admissions Officer at Harvard Law School. At Northeastern, she made final decisions on applications, evaluated 3,000 files, and recruited across the U.S.; she also closely worked with pre-law advisors around the country. As a member of the Admissions Committee at HLS, she reviewed and made recommendations on approximately 3,000 files. She also served as the liaison for student groups. Prior to HLS, Jennifer was the Coordinator for the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.

Jennifer has followed her passion for advising students as a faculty member at Lone Star College in Texas. After studying abroad during her junior year in Madrid, doing Mellon Undergraduate Research in Durham, England, researching her dissertation as a scholar-in-residence at L’Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and being an Exchange Officer, teacher, and tutor at University College Utrecht, Jennifer has finally landed back in her native home of Texas. When she is not teaching and traveling, she enjoys spending time with her seven-year old son and playing tennis. Jennifer earned her Bachelors in History and Spanish from Wellesley College, her Masters in History from The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and her doctorate in History from Brandeis University.

Danielle Early

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.

Anna Hicks

Anna Hicks began as an intern with Spivey Consulting in 2013 before transitioning to the role of Research and Analytics Consultant and eventually becoming Chief of Staff in February 2017. Anna has a BS from the University of Miami, where she majored in journalism and graduated magna cum laude, before returning to her home state for law school to attend the University of Virginia as a Dillard Scholar. In her spare time, Anna enjoys musical theater, reading fiction, and spending time with her husband and her lovable mutt Noodle.

Christina Williams

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.

Jennifer Winslow

Jennifer Winslow began her legal career in 2002 as an associate at Morrison & Foerster after graduating from UCLA School of Law. After practicing for six years, she refocused her career on attorney and law student recruitment and professional development. As a Managing Director for Major, Lindsey & Africa, Jennifer counseled lateral attorney candidates on their job searches and collaborated with law firms seeking to fill specialized roles. At the University of Colorado Law, she managed the on-campus interview and judicial clerkship programs. While serving as the school’s representative to the Colorado Pledge to Diversity Committee, she worked with leaders of the state’s efforts to increase the number of underrepresented attorneys within the profession. She currently serves on the faculty of BarBri’s Associate Edge Boot Camp, teaching “How to Be the Go-To Associate” to new lawyers across the country. At Spivey Consulting, Jennifer tutors students in the Pre-L program and provides consulting services to law schools.

Jennifer also is a nerdy writer-type who actually enjoys detailed cover editing as though she were a 7th grade English teacher. When not wielding a metaphorical red pen, she can be found being repeatedly humbled by much faster runners in various 5 and 10ks, then going home to her dog who thinks she’s awesome anyway.

Jayme McKellop

Jayme has 10 years of experience in legal practice and education, most recently serving as the Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School. In her five years 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. Before joining the admissions world, 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. Although Jayme now focuses her time in the nonprofit sector concentrating on animal advocacy, she is excited for the opportunity to reconnect with law school applicants (and to work with a few of her favorite admissions colleagues again). Jayme is a detail person. She loves seeing the different pieces of the application come together and learning about an individual’s personal story.

Jayme grew up in a small town in central Ohio but after 10 years she considers herself a Chicagoan. She lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter, and two senior West Highland White Terriers. She loves dogs (with a soft spot for terriers and older rescue dogs), Ohio State football, California wine county, and classical music. If she had more free time, she’d probably take up running or tennis again. Most weekends, she and her family enjoy exploring the city, and she is always in search of a new local coffee shop, great vegetarian food, and anything sweet (if you need a recommendation for gourmet doughnuts, she’s your person).

Nicholas Everdell

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.

Rob Cacace

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.

Derek Meeker

Derek Meeker is a nationally respected professional among law school admissions and career services deans. His 16 years of experience in the industry include serving as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for the University of Pennsylvania Law School, as firm-wide Recruiting Manager for global law firm Paul Hastings, as an admissions reader for the University of Chicago Law School, and as an admissions and career consultant.

As the Admissions Dean at Penn Law, Derek evaluated and made the final decision on every J.D. application–over 6,000 per year. As a law school admissions consultant, he has successfully coached numerous clients in gaining admission to Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and every other top-ranked law school. Derek has presented on law school admissions and financial aid at dozens of colleges across the country. He also has advised numerous law students on the law firm hiring process, coaching them on employment strategies and interviewing skills. His extensive network among law schools and law firms across the country has proven to be a boon to his clients.

A former practicing attorney, Derek is a continuing student in the Writers’ Program at UCLA and holds a B.S. in Journalism. He is passionate about writing and loves coaching students to be better writers. When he is not advising clients or working on his memoirs, he enjoys acting, improv, yoga, meditation (yes, he clearly lives in LA), biking, cooking, and traveling.