By Phillip Davis (C’19)
Sewanee’s Pre-Law Program has recently begun new activities and expanded several of its existing projects, including its Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3) team, its Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) team, and talks by respected legal scholars.
“The Pre-Law Program is not an academic track, meaning…it is not a major or minor,” explains Dr. Andrea Hatcher, the program’s advisor for the last two and a half years. “Rather, it is a support and advisory program to help students, first, decide whether they want to go to law school, and, second, to help them through the process of testing and application to get where they want to be.”
Since Hatcher began advising, Pre-Law at Sewanee has provided students considering a legal career with several unique opportunities. Hatcher invited lectures from former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and the esteemed constitutional lawyer Robert P. George. “These speakers also met with Pre-Law students, giving them a chance to interact with significant figures in the legal profession.”
Asked about the program before Hatcher’s arrival, Luke Peglau (C’17), who plans to attend law school, commented, “It’s more serious than it was before Dr. Hatcher started running it. She’s bulked it up.”
“I envision continuing with events and speakers such as these,” says Hatcher about the future of Pre-Law. She plans to create a host of new resources, including alumni profiles on the program’s web page so that “Pre-Law students can see how others have transitioned from Sewanee to law school to a legal career.”
Other upcoming opportunities include an alumni lecture series aimed at educating students about the various legal professions open to them; workshops in which seniors share advice and experience with freshmen and sophomores; a Pre-Law Honor Society whose constitution and bylaws are currently “in the works.” She hopes to strengthen cooperation with the Career and Leadership Development Center to “beef up our legal internships.”
“And if there’s a generous alum reading this–we would gladly accept a donation to enable an LSAT prep course to be taught on campus every fall to help prepare students for this important test!” adds Hatcher.
Pre-Law also sponsors Sewanee’s AMC3 and TISL teams. In AMC3, students work in teams to argue for either side of a hypothetical court case. Teams prepare briefs with their evidence and arguments before orally arguing against teams from other Tennessee schools in front of trained judges. The competition begins in Nashville on November 17 this year and will host 27 teams.
“In years past, Sewanee teams have regularly advanced to the semifinal and even final stage,” says Hatcher. “Although we’ve never [won] the grand prize, this year, I’m confident, will be our year!”
TISL, of which AMC3 is technically a part, also begins its competition on November 17. “Members write bills and co-sponsor things,” explains Margaret Dupree (C’19), the team’s head delegate. “You can also go as a lobbyist or media spokesperson, but people don’t usually do that.”
Though this year’s registration deadlines have passed, both teams are open to students of all experience levels. Indeed, Hatcher welcomes anyone interested to engage with Pre-Law.
She also provides to guidance to make the process as easy as possible by “talk[ing] through their expectations, concerns, and even fears to come up with a plan for where and how to apply.
“Any Sewanee student who thinks she maybe, kinda, sorta wants to go to law school someday, should see me,” she continued. “It all begins by a conversation with me, and then connecting to other Pre-Law students, which form a big support network,” says Hatcher.