Club helps prepare students for legal careers

Washington State University Vancouver students Naomi Grande and Jose Scott co-founded the Pre-Law Society last year to support and educate future law students, and those on the fence about the legal profession. With more than a dozen members, matching polo shirts and a growing following on social media, this club is gaveling in 2017 with gusto.

According to Scott, pre-law students show interest in studying law beyond their undergraduate degrees. Legal practice is a very broad field, Scott said, and includes many areas such as law enforcement and paralegal work. Scott is planning to pursue graduate studies in immigration law, while Grande is interested in immigration and environmental law.

WSU Vancouver does not currently offer a law degree. Although some law degrees require a specific major, Scott said any undergraduate major has an opportunity study some form of law in graduate school.  Most members of the Pre-Law Society major in public affairs, but Scott said there are also some English and science majors.

“There is this view that law is government-related,” Scott said, “but law is anything. We are engineers, we are biochemists, we are everything. So [the field] is very broad.”

The club is planning to host several events in the near future. On Tuesday, the WSU Vancouver community will have a chance to hear from Clark County’s senior deputy prosecutor Dan Gasperino.

On Mar. 28 the club will be conducting an open mock trial. The members will fill the roles of the judge, defense, prosecution and witnesses. The audience will act as a jury and will present the verdict.

“We really want to be a community focused group,” Scott said.

“It is really nice to have this sense of community because sometimes you might not know what to do in order to get into a law school, or someone might not know what the LSAT [is] or that they need to build their resume,” Grande said. The LSAT is a half-day, standardized test administered four times each year at testing centers throughout the world. Students planning to pursue graduate studies in law are required to take it.

Overall, according to Grande, the Pre-Law Society experience provides opportunities for specialized learning and networking with peers and experts that come to speak on campus.

“It is our first shot at a network,” Scott said. Members have the opportunity to interact and make connections with students from various fields of law. Such connections can be beneficial when graduates begin their careers as lawyers, Scott said.

Upon graduating, Pre-Law Society members receive a graduation sash that sets them apart as members of the club.

Organizers say club meetings are more formal than students might expect, as they are intended to simulate a legal environment. Meetings are open to all students and held every Tuesday, with more details available on CougSync. During the meetings members discuss club affairs and practice LSAT questions.

For more information, contact Naomi Grande at naomi.grande@wsu.edu.

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