How to Get Into Law School–A Texas Tech Case Study!

McKenna Nonnenmann, October 29, 2022

This past week at the Pre-Law Society meeting, we welcomed Ms. Shawn Adams, the director for recruitment at Texas Tech School of Law.

Ms. Adams graduated from Texas Tech with a Master’s in Business Administration and a JD! We learned a lot from her educational background and experience as a practicing attorney.

On this evening, her goal was not only to recruit students to Texas Tech School of Law, but also to give us loads of advice regarding the law school application process and what to look for in law schools. She started by looking for three main things when choosing a law school. 

  1. Looking at what the cost of living will be at the school apart from tuition
  2. Bar passage rate
  3. Post-graduate employment rate

All three items can be located on the law school’s 509 reports!

Ms. Adams covered what is needed in a law school application: transcript, letter of recommendation, personal statement, LSAT score, and resume–and how those are weighted at Texas Tech.

We also learned more about what Texas Tech school of law offers and how beautiful and engaging their campus life is! In addition, they offer many great resources for students interested in criminal defense and even have a dual degree program.

As the meeting ended, Ms. Adams stressed that it is essential to go at our own pace, and it is okay if we do not make straight A’s in law school because of how rigorous it is. And she encouraged us, noting that if we continue to work hard and have our hearts in the studying, we can go far. 

Many thanks to Ms. Shawn Adams for her continual support of the LEAP Center and Pre-Law Society at Sam Houston State University.

Minding Monkeypox: Expert Panel Peels Back Contemporary Viruses

Ashlyn Parker

Unless you’ve been comatose for the past several years, you know there have been a series of healthcare crises, the most prominent of which was, of course, COVID. More recently, there has been a resurgence of Polio (!) and, of course, Monkeypox–and the latter was the topic of an expert panel assembled by the Bush School: Drs. Robert Carpenter, Syra Madad, Jennifer A. Shuford, and Robert Kadlec, moderated by Gerald Parker. It was a fascinating discussion, one that left us more educated and a bit more concerned.

There are about 60,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the world, and the U.S. makes up about 39% of those cases, which makes us first in the dubious distinction of leading the world in monkeypox cases. As a public health student, it was especially intriguing to hear how current public health officials view this threat, and what steps are being taken to prevent another pandemic.

Monkeypox is not a new phenomenon. It was first observed in 1958 in monkeys, and in 1970 it made its first known “jump” to humans. Resembling smallpox, it was dubbed monkeypox. This condition appears as lesions on the skin, and these sores make you contagious for up to four weeks. Monkeypox is spread from close skin-to-skin contact where bodily liquids are shared (e.g., kissing or sex).  At present, it is most commonly circulating within the male homosexual population (currently, more than 90% of cases are in men), but it is expected to eventually become a disease in the general population. To protect yourself from Monkeypox, practice safe sex, follow good hand hygiene, and avoid contact–especially skin-to-skin contact–with someone known to carry the virus.

The panel also discussed the differences between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Monkeypox outbreak. The key difference between the two was the level of readiness at the very beginning. Because we have been studying monkeypox for more than five decades, and because it is a relative of smallpox, we have vaccines that are effective against it. For COVID-19, we had to invent the vaccine more or less from scratch.

Both, however, may be suffering from misconceptions and poor communication. In Monkeypox, there is a misconception about who can catch it (everyone can catch it), and with COVID-19, there was resistance to the idea that it was even a threat. Those who adopted the latter group were also resistant to vaccines. Add to this the fact that vaccine distribution was spotty in rural areas, and there were some problems reaching everyone.

Dr. Robert Carpenter discussed with us how his team, Texas A&M Health Maroon Line Clinic, helped deal with COVID-19 in rural communities. One of the major issues he brought to our attention was the health disparities people face living in a rural community, such as not having sufficient medical staff. He and his team have brought vaccinations to these small Texas towns, distributing more than 240,000 vaccines and holding more than 2,000 events for COVID-19-related causes. Beyond COVID-19 the Maroon Line Clinic also has provided many primary and secondary prevention tactics such as cancer screenings, diabetes education, and substance abuse intervention.

LEAP found this panel discussion very intriguing and informative, as we further our careers in politics and policy. Going to sessions complements our classes at SHSU and inspires us to make a real change like them in this world. Many thanks to the panel and the Bush School’s Scowcroft Institute for hosting a fantastic program.

Ohana Korean Grill

With inspiration from last week’s venture to see General Chun, we decided to go for Korean food. We choose Ohana Korean Grill in College Station, which was, for most of us, our first time trying Korean food.

We ordered a few samplers such as the seafood pancake, which included vegetables and, to our surprise, octopus. We each got a traditional Korean dish such as the BiBimBap, which is a bowl of rice that comes with an assortment of vegetables and beef on top. I ordered the spicy seafood which came with an array of different sea creatures that most other restaurants might not have included. We sat around talking for so long that they brought us some cinnamon and ginger tea which was a wonderful cap to an entertaining and educational evening.

Many thanks to Marybeth Rayburn for joining us!

Real Law in a Simulated Context

The LEAP Center typically invites Professor Val Ricks from the South Texas College of Law–Houston to campus in the spring, but we made it a fall event this year. And so it was that, last week, Professor Ricks spoke to 35 SHSU pre-law students who signed up for an educational event–without extra credit, a class assignment, or give-away prizes.

They came because they wanted to learn, and they were willing to do some dense reading beforehand. The reading involved a contract, and this was no accident. Professor Ricks is one of the leading experts in the country on contract law; in fact, some of our alumni who have gone on to law school have informed us that they were assigned his book in their classes!

Professor Ricks began the course by informing us of his goals for this and any class that he teaches: (1) Get the words of the law – law is words, (2) Set the words out in a workable way, (3) Practice applying them, and (4) Consider what is “right” – the law is a moral exercise.

He went about this through the Socratic method since everyone loves being called on and questioned until they cannot answer. At least, we will have to if we plan on practicing the law, especially, in the courtroom. Through his random number generator, he called on those people to answer his questions regarding the G.D. Holdings, INC v H.D.H. Land & Timber, L.P., 407 S.W.3d 856, 2013, after delivering the facts and procedures of this case.

Many of us believed we were prepared but we did not know what to expect, so were we really prepared for Professor Ricks to hit us with questions like, What is the legal issue being addressed? How did you draw this conclusion? What is the ruling of the Court? A few of us addressed this question with the trial court’s ruling which led Professor Ricks to ask us, Where did you read that? Why do you think that is the final ruling? In these instances he let us help each other out when the person he called on was stuck, which we later learned that in an actual law class he would have picked that individual’s brain until they provided the answer he was looking for.

We continued this process as we provided evidence that we thought best fit or would prove the three different clauses of Promissory Estoppel- the legal issue of the case – (a) a promise, (b)foreseeability of reliance by the promissor, and (c) substantial reliance by the promisee to his detriment. It was at this moment, that we felt the high pressure that lawyers feel in a courtroom the most. With us acting as lawyers and Professor Ricks as a judge, who questioned us to help fill in the gaps in the story and understand what we were thinking. This proved to be a lot harder than we thought since proving that a promise, the first part of Promissory Estoppel, had been made was difficult and some of us soon learned that in this context a promise was defined as a commitment.

Following the class, most of us were more certain than ever that we wanted to attend law school. This was a sentiment Professor Ricks encouraged, as we learned when he stayed after to encourage us, answer questions, and take photos.

LBJ Presidential Library

Ashlyn Parker

On the final day of the trip, we made sure to stop by the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) Presidential Library. This will be the third presidential library we have been to since we have also seen Harry S. Truman’s and George H. W. Bush’s Presidential Libraries.

Lyndon B. Johnson was a small-town Texas boy born in 1908. His dad worked in the Texas legislature and his mom was a college-educated woman who was ahead of her time. He was very involved throughout his time in public school including being class president of his 6-student class. He ended up graduating from Southwest Texas State Teachers College with a bachelor’s in education. During his teaching years near the border, the job was able to open his eyes to true poverty and discrimination even among young kids.

Because of the struggle he observed in his students, they inspired him to get into politics to be able to make changes for the underserved communities. He soon started working for a US Congressman in Washington, D.C. while attending law school. He shortly became a senator himself preparing him for his goal to become president. When he lost the Democratic nominee in 1963, John F. Kennedy took him in as a vice president.

Due to the unfortunate assassination of John F. Kennedy, LBJ became a United States president from 1963-1969. Through his library, we learned about this extraordinary man who accomplished so much in 6 years that inspired so much change for the better in America.

The memories of his students boosted his motivation to deal with these issues he saw back home to get them handled now. He extended the new deal made by Franklin Roosevelt which would help provide better access to healthcare and education for low-income families. For example, the Headstart program promotes education to young children in low-income families.

One cause LBJ is notable for is helping certain populations who did not have a voice, such as minority or poverty-ridden groups. During his presidency, he was able to pass acts that enacted a lot of social change, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act prohibited discrimination on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in any instance. Thus, ending segregation which became a huge victory for the Civil Rights movement.

Even though the U.S. did not land on the moon during LBJ’s Presidency he contributed many efforts to make it happen. Therefore, in the museum, they have a section dedicated to America winning the space race and putting a man on the moon. They even have a real moon rock!

LBJ’s most infamous move in the presidency was getting America more involved in the Vietnam war. He was increasing the military presence in Vietnam, which resulted in many young lives being lost in the battle against communism. Many people protested our involvement ultimately taking a big toll on the president.

All of his conversations were recorded in the White House office telephone, so in the Presidential library, you can listen to over 100 phone calls via a wall-mounted phone throughout the library. We each got to experience different phone calls with him some being from other people in government and his mistress.

He was good with people but did not know the definition of personal space. He can be seen in many photos leaning over people with his 6’4’’ frame laughing or yelling, otherwise known as “the Johnson Treatment”. We were actually able to get a feel for the experience ourselves with a picture of LBJ leaning over us.

Lucky for us, we were also able to see the special exhibit of Lady Bird: Beyond the Wildflowers. It featured all kinds of memorabilia from her life including books, diplomas, letters, outfits, and more. This exhibit was made to hone in on who Mrs. Johnson really was and give a broader focus on her life outside of LBJ. My favorite part of this exhibit was getting to see all the elegant dresses she would wear to all sorts of different social events.

Not many other college students can say they have gone to three presidential libraries, so we are always thankful for these opportunities to learn more about our nation’s history. We are always impressed by the artifacts and stories told in the libraries that really in-body the person they are representing.