LEAP Center Hosts Law-School/Grad-School Seminar

Almost fifty students attended the Law School/Grad School Seminar hosted by the Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) earlier this month. The seminar featured Karissa Morissey from Princeton Review; Stephen Perez, Dean of Students at Texas Tech Law School; Kathryn Meyer, Director of Recruitment from the Bush School at Texas A&M University; and Thomas Leeper, attorney with Smither, Martin, Henderson, and Blazek.

Students and Panelists at the LEAP Center Legal Seminar
Students & Panelists at LEAP Seminar

Their advice was to the point and useful. Karissa Morrissey provded a helpful overview of the LSAT and GRE, offering a timeline for preparing for graduate school or law school. High points included:

  • The LSAT ranges from 120-180; The GRE ranges from 130-170
  • The LSAT is offered four times a year (Feb, Jun, Oct, Dec), while the GRE offers more frequent tests
  • The LSAT should be taken approximately a year prior to when the students wants to enroll in Law School.
  • The Princeton Review offers Prep Courses at SHSU in the spring of each year.

Dean Stephen Perez stressed the importance of the LSAT Scores and a student’s GPA, while pointing to Tech’s strong rates on bar passage, employment, and the excellent performance of students in Moot Court and Mock Trials.  Also, the National Jurist magazine ranked Tech among the top 10 in the country in both “overall value” and “student satisfaction.” Perhaps not surprisingly, more SHSU students are enrolling in Tech, with four Bearkats matriculating last year.  Dean Perez seems to be intent on duplicating that success this year, offering the students who attended the seminar fee waivers to apply to Texas Tech.

Dean Perez Discusses Law School Admissions
Perez Discusses Law School Admissions

Kathryn Meyer caught students’ attention when she discussed the programs of the Bush School of Public Service. The Bush School is a top 35 Public Administration across the country, featuring broad programs in Administration and International Affairs and endeavoring to keep students’ costs low.  SHSU boasts more graduates at the Bush School than any other University in the nation with the exception of Texas A & M.

Thomas Leeper’s discussion bridged both law and public affairs.  Leeper has served as an attorney in private practice, a city attorney, and a political appointee.  Leeper discussed life in law school (giving particular attention to the Socratic Method), the kind of work that attorneys do, and the importance of public service.

The Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) promotes learning opportunities across diverse disciplines at SHSU.  Over the past seven years, SHSU has significantly increased its efforts in the pre-law field, doubling the number of students accepted to law schools in the United States.  Moreover, last year, SHSU moved in the top five percent nationally in the Law School Admissions Council’s (LSAC) ranking of “Law School Feeders.”


Day 2: Dallas Historical Tour–Dulce Martinez and Tessa Fendley

The second day of our Dallas trip started early Saturday morning at the Southern Methodist University campus. SMU has one of the most beautiful campuses we have seen. The architecture is the first thing that captures your eye.  Dallas Hall, for example, is beautiful, and it was the first building on SMU’s campus (1915), designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge.

SHSU Students in Front of Dallas Hall
       SHSU Students in Front of Dallas Hall

Also impressive was the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, the location for our New Politics Forum Seminar.  Given Tower’s history serving Texas, it was a fitting venue for our conference on public careers.


We first attended a panel on State Policy Making, featuring Chancellor Lee Jackson, Representative Kenneth Sheets, and Representative Rafael Anchia. Chancellor Jackson Lee was formerly a member of the House of Representatives and is perhaps unusual in that he owns no social media accounts.  He emphasized the importance reliability and integrity.

Chancellor Lee Jackson
                Chancellor Lee Jackson

Representative Sheets fell into politics through his work in the military and volunteering for the Republican Party.  Unusual for a public official, he notes that he is horrible at remembering names. His tip for combating this is to always call someone “Ma’am” or “Sir.”

Representative Kenneth Shields
          Representative Kenneth Sheets

Representative Anchia, a first generation American, was the speaker who stood out the most to us.  He emphasized that politics and public service are separate, and that the former should never get in the way of the latter.  He was also spent the most time with students from SHSU, appearing impressed with the school’s LEAP program.

Representative Rafael Anchia with SHSU Students
    Rep. Rafael Anchia with SHSU Students

Our second session featured the keynote speaker, Senator Royce West. He is a fine speaker, and he interacted well with the audience.

TX Senator Royce West
                 TX Senator Royce West

He emphasized integrity as well as the importance of bipartisanship.  He applied these qualities to his own career, and noted that he was able to save his own legislative agenda by “listening and working with people.”  He also graciously stayed after with us, and encouraged us to continue getting the most out of our education.

SHSU Students with TX Senator West
       SHSU Students with TX Senator West

The last panel of the day addressed the Media and was led by Carol Reed, of Reed PRC, and Gromer Jeffers, from the Dallas Morning News.  Both, again, pressed issues of integrity and, members of the media, stressed credibility.

Following the event, we moved to Bandito’s Mexican Cantina for food and conversation.  We met Casey Bingham, who works for Greg Abbott and is a member of the Young Republicans of Dallas.

Casey Bingham and Dulce Martinez
       Casey Bingham and Dulce Martinez

We also met a student from UNT, who told us about a program the University offers focusing on non-profit economics.

We dined at Eatzi’s, a build-your-own meal place, that combines elements of a grocery story and a sit-down cafe. Here we enjoyed a wonderful array of foods. One of the must haves is the spicy spaghetti, with freshly prepared pasta and a spicy tomato sauce. If comfort food is your thing, the combination of the lemon chicken, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes is the ideal combination. If you are adventurous, the sweet curry chicken offers a unique blend of ingredients and texture. For dessert, we visited a small gelato ship, and I Had the “Monkey Business” gelato, which was probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had, offering banana, cinnamon, vanilla, and—as a surprise—chocolate.

With some energy restored, we headed to Dallas City Hall, which was designed I. M. Pei, probably the most celebrated living architect.  It was a beautiful and peaceful scene.

Dallas City Hall by I.M. Pei
               Dallas City Hall by I.M. Pei

From there, we checked out Pioneer Plaza, which was created by Robert Summers, a Texas artist.  It is the largest bronze sculpture in the world and makes for a dramatic scene in downtown Dallas.

Pioneer Plaza
                Pioneer Plaza

It was the perfect way to end the day!