Bench and Bar Pre-Law Society offers students support, encouragement

Release Date: 10/21/2011

With its solid pre-law coursework and events like summer internships and classes in Washington D.C., University of the Ozarks offers its students many opportunities to prepare themselves for law school and careers in law. And now, several pre-law students have formed a club to help themselves and others in their career track prepare for the future.

The Bench and Bar Pre-Law Society is the new pre-law club on campus. "I think a lot of people associate pre-law only with political science majors, and that just isn't the case," says Mark Pearson, a senior political science major from Clarksville. "Pre-law is a track, like pre-med, so it extends through all majors on campus. We have history majors, we have English majors, we have philosophy majors, we have poli-sci majors. My goal for this club is just to create a guide/community we as pre-law students can fall back on for help and support and advice."

Pearson, who helped organize the club, says the group is working on several projects at the moment. "One main focus for the club is to help advertise the presence of the pre-law track on campus," he said. "I know we have a ton of pre-med majors, and I think that's partly because they market themselves very well. A lot of people come in here and start out pre-med. I started out pre-med. Turned out it wasn't the right thing for me, and that's fine, but we'd like to reach out to more pre-law majors. I think a lot of students are curious but don't know exactly what the pre-law track offers and can do for them, and that's one of the things we want to do better."

One upcoming event the group is organizing is a trip to Houston to attend a Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) forum on November 19. "The LSAC hosts about 170 law schools," Pearson said. "It's a great opportunity for us to go there to talk to them about admissions, resumes, stuff like that."

He said the Bench and Bar is also setting up opportunities for students to study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). "One major goal we have is to set up an LSAT library," Pearson said. "That way, students who have taken the LSAT and don't need their strategy books anymore can hopefully pass those down to future students who can then use them over time."

Pearson added one other project is bringing a speaker to campus in the spring. "Ashley Teague, who's in the group, is spearheading this. We'd like to get the former president of the Arkansas Bar Association to come speak. She specializes in bankruptcy law and would have a lot of interesting things to say."

They are also planning to organize an alumni panel of former pre-law track students for the spring semester. "The point, again, is to help build our connections with future pre-law track students," Pearson emphasized.

The club will also have an information booth at Fall Preview Day on November 12.

Right now Pearson says there are about 15 students involved in the club, although busy schedules keep members hopping. "Kirk Ross is also involved with Ozarks Outdoors; Morgan O'Neil does stuff with the SGA, Oxfam, and the Planet club; and Emily Towe is SGA president. Everybody's got something going on. Actually we get a lot of business done in the classroom. We're all in a lot of the same classes together and so we talk there before and after."

Ultimately, Pearson says, he hopes the club will attract more pre-law students. "Bench and Bar is a really great organization," he says, "and I'd like to extend our presence here, show what Ozarks has to offer in pre-law. I personally feel pre-law is a great track for prospective students, and having a club like this I think will help attract students. We've been meeting every couple of weeks. If anybody is interested, they should email me and we'll get 'em involved."

Pearson can be reached at mpear886@ozarks.edu.