Jessica Lincoln | staff writer
In their exploration of law school options, undergraduate students now have an additional resource to use.
Located in room 128 of the Law School, the new Pre-Law Center is intended to be an all-in-one resource for students interested in law school, public service and similar postgraduate opportunities.
The center is run by Kristen Coopie, Duquesne’s new director of pre-law. Interested students can meet with Coopie to discuss career goals, courses of study, LSAT registration and preparation, law school options, the undergraduate mock trial team and the Pre-Law Society, among other things.
Gabrielle Kolencik, a current law student, said she was “thrilled” that the university had opened one central location for law school information.
“I wished there was something else available while I navigated through the application process,” she said. “Fortunately, Duquesne now has that resource.”
“Dr. Coopie has been extremely supportive throughout my undergraduate career, and still is someone I can always count on for encouragement. I could not imagine a better person to guide our future lawyers to the next phase of their academic careers,” Kolencik said.
Housing the Pre-Law Center in the Law School, rather than in one specific department, also has its advantages, according to Coopie.
“The new Pre-Law Center is meant to serve undergraduates in all majors across campus. This way, students have one central place to access resources related to course offerings, LSAT prep, law school admissions and the other opportunities available to them on campus, such as Mock Trial, the Pre-Law Society and the new Pre-Law Certificate,” Coopie said in a statement.
“It has long been a vision of President Gormley to have a centralized office that can help out with all aspects of pre-law studies, and we are very excited to have opened to students this fall.”
Among the opportunities provided by the Pre-Law Center is information on Duquesne’s new Pre-Law Certificate. Open to students in all majors and programs, the certificate is designed to prepare students for law school admission and careers in government, public service and foreign policy. If students earn a 3.0 GPA or higher with the certificate, they will be eligible for expedited consideration if they choose to apply to Duquesne Law, as well as a guaranteed $5,000 scholarship upon enrollment.
“The certificate features specially-designed courses that emphasize the skills that law schools are looking for in incoming students,” Coopie said.
These include American Presidents and the Constitution, a course taught by Gormley and Coopie based on President Gormley’s book on the subject and a new undergraduate Legal Research and Writing course, designed to prepare students for law school legal writing courses.
To receive the Pre-Law Certificate, students will be required to complete 15 credits of coursework in three out of four areas of emphasis: Dedicated Pre-Law Courses, Analytical Skills, Legal Studies and Advocacy Skills. There is no restriction on sharing credits with any other major, minor or concentration requirement. Eligible courses are listed on the pre-law program website.
The Pre-Law Center will also advise students interested in the 3/3 Early Admission Program, which is offered to Duquesne undergraduates in the schools of Liberal Arts, Business, Music and Natural and Environmental Sciences. It allows students to complete the requirements for their bachelor’s degrees in three years and enter Duquesne Law School in their fourth year.
According to Kolencik, the program “has been one of the greatest opportunities I have ever had in my academic career.” She encourages any student who is up to the challenge to consider entering the program.
While the process of applying to law school, according to students who have done so, is almost universally challenging, both Kolencik and Coopie hope that the Pre-Law Center will make it somewhat easier.
“I’m available to any student with questions, and can help with anything from scheduling to navigating the Law School Admissions Council website,” Coopie said.
For those interested in the 3/3 program, the Pre-Law Center and the Law School are co-hosting an information session on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. in Room 302 of the Law School. Students of all majors who are considering a law-related field are highly encouraged to contact Coopie at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.