The Law School Experience at SHSU

By Victoria McClenden-Leggett

Many students are faced with the daunting challenge of whether to continue with their education once they graduate or simply enter the workforce. For those wanting to continue their education, they often wonder if they’ll actually be able to handle the workload–particularly if that continuation involves law school. On March 30, a select group of students at Sam Houston State University had the opportunity to experience a mock law class taught by South Texas College of Law Professor Val Ricks.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Professor Ricks was cheerful and patient with all of his students…even when such patience was pushed.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Professor Hicks ran the mock class in much the same way that he’d run one of his own at South Texas College of Law.

http://www.stcl.edu/

The students were expected to be familiar with the details involving two different contract cases. In each of cases the contract was declared invalid by the court, and it was the students’ job to use the rules included in the case brief to figure out exactly why. He called on students at random…

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks, Staci Antu

…asked them about the various facts of the case, why they thought the case resulted in that particular outcome, and what principle of law applied to each.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

He also presented some hypothetical cases and asked the students to apply the principles they had just learned to them.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

All in all, we had a great time getting a taste of what their future law school experiences could be like, and we learned some valuable lessons.

First, we should speak up when answering or asking questions…

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Second, read outside of class.  Having a large vocabulary and understanding usage will be helpful.  Otherwise, we’ll get turned around….

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

Third, we should ask questions when we are confused.  The alternative is just to carry our confusion with us as the Professor is lecturing, instead of identifying the material we need.

South Texas College of Law--Houston, STCL, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Mock Law Class, SHSU, Val Ricks

They were able to ask Professor Hicks questions about class sizes, test formats, and bar passage rates, and he happily answered them all. The students were able walk away from the mock law class with a much better understanding of exactly what they could expect once they made it to law school.

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 news stories, having contributed more than 50 pieces in the past year. 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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