Faculty senate approves pre-law minor

Story by Katie Thurbon

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The average student’s knowledge of the United States legal system is probably made up of mostly “Law and Order” episodes. Soon, however, Baker University students will have the option of adding an interdisciplinary pre-law minor to their resumé.

“I think the minor is going to be useful for students in deciding whether to go to law school, prepping for law school, and evaluating possible law-related careers they might want to pursue after law school,” Lee Green, professor of business and economics, said in an email.

The minor was approved during the December faculty senate meeting and will go into effect at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The minor was also grandfathered in so that current students will not have to switch over to the new catalog in order to complete the minor.

Senior sociology major Timothy Laughlin said taking the existing law classes at Baker got him interested in law.

“I think with the minor and offering more courses within each department might pique an interest in more people wanting or thinking about going to law school,” Laughlin said. “I think if each department offered some sort of law-based classes that would be really cool because it would allow everyone to have a little taste of what law is like and (discover) if they would have an interest in it.”

Laughlin plans on graduating in May; therefore, will not have the opportunity to take advantage of the new minor, but he doesn’t think that will hurt his chances when applying for law school.

“A large majority of what is considered in the application process is definitely your LSAT and your GPA and involvement in school,” Laughlin said. “But it would definitely be nice to have some prior knowledge of law because it would give you an upper hand and help you your first year in law school.”

Students will have to complete 18 credits for the minor, six credits of which are two required courses: one focusing on an introduction to law and the legal profession that Green will offer for the first time in the fall, and a law-related section of QS 411.

Green said that students may complete the remaining 12 credits for the pre-law minor by taking any four courses off a list of about a dozen law-related classes that are already in the course catalog. Additionally, law-related internships, independent studies or interterm courses can also be counted toward the minor.

“The idea is to make the 12 additional credit hours beyond the two required courses highly flexible and to allow students to “double-dip” law-related courses taken for their major to also count for the minor,” Green said.

Junior international studies major Morgan Banning said she was interested in the new minor.

“I am planning on going to law school after I graduate from Baker, and I think having the minor will show that I have an understanding of some of the basic concepts (of law),” Banning said.