New legal studies minor for pre-law students


Abby Ludwig

The legal studies minor is not just for pre-law students

by Abby Ludwig, Social Media Editor

Simpson is now offering a new legal studies minor for students interested, and it has been a long time coming.

Professor Adrienne Gathman spearheaded the initiative and made it possible.

“We did have students that were interested in formalizing some of the previously recommended courses into something and I really wanted to make something available to students regardless of the major that they were in so that they also were getting advice about pre-law even if they weren’t a major in political science.”

“We decided as a department to formalize some of the courses that were already recommended for pre-law students into a minor,” Gathman said. “We had a lot of students that were taking these recommended courses and then there wasn’t a recognition for going through and doing the coursework.”

The minor includes courses recommended from both the American Bar Association and the Law School Admissions Council.

The courses are broken down into categories like critical reading and writing, argumentation and critical thinking, constitutional case law and law and legal concepts.

“It will help students start really breaking down writings and arguments, making arguments and thinking about how to frame them,” Gathman said.

Junior Scout Peery, co-president of the pre-law society on campus, says she is taking the legal studies minor because she plans to go to law school.

“I plan on becoming a lawyer. This minor helps expose me to some case readings and see many different areas of law,” Peery said.

Peery said that Simpson has needed a law-centered minor for a while.

]“There are a lot of students who are interested in pursuing the law field and want to dip their toes into the subject. This way students are allowed to see if they want to go into law-based careers but also gives them the opportunity to have multiple experiences within different classrooms and professors,” she said.

Peery went on to say: “I found that before the legal studies minor, students interested in pre-law typically felt restricted to exclusively political science classes to try and gain similar experiences. Now, with the new minor, students have an expanded opportunity with a flexible variety of classes.”

Peery said she’s grateful that it is now an option.

“I am grateful that my professors listened to the students’ interest over a legal studies minor and took action to implement it,” Peery said.

Student Will Keck will also be using the minor to aid himself in going to law school.

“I love the law and it [the minor] will hopefully give me a better understanding of the law and legal concepts as I enter law school and my professional career,” Keck said.

“I think it is a great additional minor for students to have. It is multidisciplinary so involves coursework from a broad range of majors and departments. No courses had to be created for this minor, it was simply created from the current courses Simpson already offers,” he said. “Students who are interested in law or the legal field now have a specific minor that they can show future employers. I think this additional minor will allow our students to have a better advantage in the workforce. I also think it is a unique program that we offer here at Simpson that can attract a lot of new students.”

While the legal studies minor is great for people majoring in political science, it can be for any student interested, even those not going to law school.

“I am hoping to go to law school and become a lawyer but I think even for people who are not going specifically into the legal field, it’s a great opportunity for people to become knowledgeable about the law and the legal process. Especially with business majors, it’s linked back to the law and they need to have some legal foundation to understand it all,” Keck said.

“This minor is also useful for students who do not wish to practice law,” Peery said. “Journalists, public policy jobs, government positions, etcetera can all be applicable to this new minor.”

“It does not matter at all what your major is. That was part of the reason we wanted to create this,” Gathman said. “Not everybody that wants to go to law school has a political science major.”