UBC alumnus follows his dreams to Harvard Law School
Daniel McMann is a dreamer. He is also ambitious, hardworking, determined and persistent. And good thing, because it was these gritty attributes that helped the young UBC alumnus reach his long-time goal of attending Harvard Law School.
“I applied to Harvard twice; the first time I was rejected,” says McMann, who is currently travelling in Myanmar, before heading to India, Nepal and possibly Bangladesh. “I rewrote the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and got a great score. But it was a battle — I wrote the LSAT three times to get the scored I needed. I studied for the test for three months, eight hours a day like it was a full-time job.”
McMann then submitted personal statements, resumes, four reference letters, followed by a letter of continuing interest and two additional reference letters.
Finally, the call came.
“On a Friday night at 2 a.m. in Seoul, Josh Rubenstein, Assistant Dean of Admissions, called me when I was in a taxi,” recalls McMann. “I knew right away why he was calling and got super excited! The taxi stopped at my apartment and the driver started yelling at me thinking I was not going to pay the fare. So I’m on the phone being admitted to Harvard Law School while being yelled at in Korean to pay my cab fare. It was all too overwhelming.”
McMann graduated from UBC’s Okanagan campus in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a minor in political science. He was able to graduate debt free, as he received a $20,000 four-year major entrance scholarship from UBC, awarded for academics and community stewardship. As well, McMann was the first recipient of the Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP Graduate Award, which provides an annual $1,000 award to a graduating student from the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences who has taken courses focused in law and shows great promise in the field of law.
“UBC is what got me to Harvard,” says McMann. “It all started with the major entrance scholarship. Through my years at UBC I made great contacts with professors who were more than willing to support my application to Harvard. And UBC offered me the resources to get strong enough grades to be admitted to Harvard Law.”
If McMann hadn’t been accepted to Harvard, he might have ended up at the University of Pennsylvania, who had offered him a $130,000 Levy Scholarship (nearly full tuition and fees).
But his heart was always set on Harvard, says McMann.
“Hopefully at Harvard I will make connections with some of the current great legal minds; and my colleagues will surely be some of the future’s great legal minds. I just hope to use Harvard’s tremendous resources to make contacts and open opportunities to study law and practice law in a meaningful way.”
However, with his Harvard education not beginning until the fall of 2011, McMann plans to take the next few months to enjoy life before the grueling demands of law school become a reality.
“Right now, I am not preparing at all,” he says. “I am just enjoying my freedom before the three years of school begin and the subsequent years of actual work. Closer to Sept 2011 I will read a few prelaw books and familiarize myself with some American history and law.”
As for his UBC alum status, McMann is determined never to forget his roots.
“Of course I will stay connected with UBC — in every and any way possible. Wouldn’t it be great if one day I came back to UBC as a law professor?” he asks, adding, half-jokingly, “put in a good word for me.”