Early Development of Legal Studies Minor in Progress
By Gauri Mangala, Managing Editor
Scott Boddery, pre-law advisor and assistant professor of political science, is currently making plans to develop a legal studies minor. The minor would be intended for any students interested in law, rather than just for students interested in going to law school.
“The impetus behind this is the fact that I’ve seen — in my role as a political science professor, but also as a pre law advisor — . . . students who are really interested in law, not necessarily just for the objective of going to law school. That’s not what legal studies is about,” Boddery said.
“But I’ve seen them interested in law and they’ve kind of navigated the course catalog in a way that gives them exposure to . . . law related to courses in an informal way. . . The objective is to put some formality behind it.”
The current state of pre-law advising is similarly informal. Courses are suggested, but not required, so students can become familiar with law and legal philosophy and decide whether or not they wish to pursue law school. Some of these courses of potential interest include POL 399: Legal Analysis, HIST 334: Law & Society in United States History, LAW 250: Criminal Justice, and PHIL 222: Philosophical Perspectives on Justice.
“This is all to say that you can major in whatever the heck you want and still go to law school and be perfectly okay. There’s not a set of courses that make it more beneficial,” Boddery said.
Beyond advising, Gettysburg offers some other resources for students considering law school, like Pre-Law Club, which offers some LSAT preparation, and advising with faculty members like Boddery.
Jay Hauser ‘19, who is currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said of the pre-law program, “When it came to the application process, I found Dr. Boddery and [Associate Director of the Center for Career Engagement] Tiffany Kurzawa’s guidance immensely helpful when it came time to crafting my application materials.”
He continued, “As for the law school experience, Dr. Boddery’s classes were great preparation, providing a background in skills like effectively reading a case and applying the law to a set of facts. I picked up a lot of the study techniques I use today in his classes.”
Olivia Fischer ‘19, currently studying at Boston University School of Law, worked closely with Boddery during her law school applications.
“I knew I wanted to be in Boston, and there are only so many schools there, so I really constructed my application list on my own,” she said. “Professor Boddery provided candid advice on which schools I might like and which I wouldn’t and why as well as which ones I actually had a chance of getting into. He also read so many drafts of my personal statement.”
Boddery was also recently appointed to the Law School Transparency Board (LST), which works to fight against deceptive alumni salary numbers that law schools submit to provide incoming students with the full picture. Boddery is the only current college pre-law advisor on the board; other members are practicing attorneys. He uses the data that the LST releases to inform his role as a pre-law advisor at Gettysburg.
The legal studies minor idea stands as a working proposal that has gained support from other department faculty members and administrators. He is currently working to draft a list of courses to live under the ‘legal studies’ umbrella, however, some of the courses that Gettysburg offers that could fit have not held a class in years.
“I want to present this to the faculty as a complete package that’s been thoroughly vetted… I’m talking with interested faculty across disciplines and then working on building that course catalog,” Boddery said.
He hopes to present to the faculty by the end of 2021.