SHSU Students LEAP into Law Class

On Wednesday, 31 fortunate SHSU students gathered in a classroom to experience a one-of-a-kind opportunity. The Law, Engagement, and Politics organization, otherwise known as LEAP, partnered with South Texas College of Law of Houston to bring a “Mock Law Class” to Sam Houston State University.

South Texas College of Law Professor Val Ricks and the STCL Assistant Dean of Admissions, Alicia Cramer, both arrived at SHSU on Wednesday, ready to make an impact on the pre-law students’ lives. The students who were fortunate enough to take part in the Mock Law Class were all prepared with days worth of reading and trying our best to comprehend the two assigned cases. When the day came, all of the scholars, dressed in business attire, were prepared and ready for class to start. Everyone, from freshmen to seniors, have begun to feel the pressure of law school, and yet we were all excited to get started with the Mock Law Class. I personally, was very nervous at the prospect of attending a Law Class, as I did not know what to expect. But was sure that whatever happened this would be one more new learning experience to get me closer to law school.


Everyone took a deep breath as Professor Ricks entered and began the class by introducing himself and telling us about his law experience. Then he began with the really fun part we had all been waiting for. First, we reviewed the cases and deciphered how each rule applied to them. And then, Professor Ricks started conducting the class in a very interesting manner. As we read over the cases, he would ask different individuals questions. Of course, not really having much experience, some of us came to the incorrect conclusions. But instead of correcting us in the regular fashion, Professor Ricks used the Socratic method so that the students could find their way to the correct answer (or, sometimes another incorrect answer) all on their own (or with the help of their peers). The class continued in this style that many students are intimidated by, but all of the students in the class seemed eager to be called upon.


When one student would get stumped on a question, over half of the class had their hands raised, ready to assist. Most students thought that this type of method worked extremely well and allowed them to feel as if they were already in law school. “I thought it was extremely informative,” stated Brittany Lightfoot, “I liked how he treated us like actual law school students, and how when he asked us questions, he helped us get to the right answer instead of just asking and expecting us to know!” This classroom filled with likeminded people who were ready to learn and prepared made me even more excited for my future law school endeavors!


Afterwards, Professor Ricks remained behind for a moment to answer any questions we had concerning any aspect of a law class setting, grades, or professors. Then he turned the attention over to Mrs. Alicia Cramer, the Assistant Dean of Admissions. She presented to us the various requirements needed to get into South Texas College of Law and even other law schools.


It is true that the class was rigorous and a bit hard, but everyone was fully engaged in the class and welcomed the questions. It was a very enjoyable experience and thanks to Professor Rick’s guidance, we were all able to succeed and leave with an invigorated spirit. “Beforehand, I was nervous because I thought that it was going to be hard, and I didn’t feel as prepared as I was. Afterwards I found that I really enjoyed myself, because it taught me how to better prepare for issues that of the utmost importance, not just in law but in life itself,” said fellow classmate, Jamaus Williams.

Many thanks to Professor Ricks and Assistant Dean Alicia Cramer, for taking the time to come to SHSU and teaching us such valuable lessons and giving us a new sense of purpose and motivation. The Mock Law Class provided us with the opportunity to discover if this path was right for us and if it was, then be motivated even more to accomplish it.




Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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