University begins pre-law program, student-led society




The majority of government majors seeking legal careers have inquired about a law-centered curriculum. The University administration responded to the requests and is now implementing a pre-law program.

This program will be effective starting June 1, 2013. Furthermore, a pre-law society was created for interested students.

The program’s objective is to present a rigorous educational curriculum that provides the fundamentals for success in law school, while upholding ethics and values in accordance with the mission of the School of Humanities and the University.

“The intent is for students to have a good understanding of legal history, legal philosophy and constitutional principles,” said Dr. Chris Hammons, dean of the School of Humanities.

He added that about 80 percent of government majors were interested in a law related field and that a pre-law program is one of the top unavailable programs potential students ask about. These were two factors for creating the program.

“Our tactical goal is to prepare students for admissions to law school and success in law school,” said Dr. John Tyler, adjunct professor of government and former lawyer.

Tyler added that this program will help students prepare for law school by providing them with a variety of helpful courses. The program will consist of current available courses, as well as new courses; great trials, introduction to criminal justice and jurisprudence: the philosophy of law will be added for the new pre-law curriculum. The department also plans on helping students prepare for the Law School Admissions Test and other areas of the application process.

“No other school has a dedicated pre-law program like this,” Hammons said.

The program is strictly geared for those interested in law. Lawyers chose the courses for the program based on what would be beneficial for a first year law student. The program will be more ideal for future law students than government majors. The program will consist of 124 credit hours of government, history, communications, philosophy and business as well as electives.

“If you look at the program, law and criminal justice are hot majors,” said Dr. Craig Ferrell Jr., adjunct government and criminal justice professor. “However, one of the things missing in law training is the ethical Christian world-view foundation. We will stress that strong ethical underpinning.”

Ferrell said he plans on bringing ethics to the classroom as well as the basic overview of police, courts and correction, adding that law can be a path of wealth, a path of service or both, but obtaining ethics was most important.

Tyler said that he hopes to teach about the case of Jesus Christ and legal corruption.

The department plans on allowing students the opportunity to be able to observe the classrooms of different law schools and hopes to host law conferences and bring in legal and government scholars.

In light of the pre-law program, a group of students began a society for those planning to attend law school. Senior Maryam Ghaffar, president of the society, said she began the group as a help for students going into law.

“There was no uniting venue where students could meet, discuss and help each other out in the law school admission process,” she said.

The society meets every other Monday at 11 a.m. in Hinton 201. Its next meeting is Feb. 18 and all University students are welcome.

The pre-law program will be open to students interested in law and an admission process will not be required. The University is in the process of discussing the creation of a criminal justice minor. There have also been long-term visions of a law school.