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Mount Union College Alumnae Top Ranked at University of Akron Law School

October 16, 2006

Three Mount Union College alumnae, Stephanie Barille, Amanda Darrah and Amanda Lewis, received the Ernest Karam Award on Friday, September 22, for being the number one and number two day students and the number one evening student at the University of Akron Law School. They each received personalized copies of Black's Law Dictionary for their achievements.

Pictured (l-r): Amanda Darrah, Stephanie Barille and Amanda Lewis

Barille, Darrah and Lewis graduated from Mount Union in 2005 and are all second year law students at the University of Akron Law School.

Barille earned the Earnest Karam Award for being top day student and for receiving the highest grade in Legal Analysis Research and Writing course and the highest grade in Contracts II. At Mount Union, Barille graduated summa cum laude with majors in political science and math and a minor in legal studies.

Darrah, who earned the Earnest Karam Award for being the number two day student at Akron, majored in political science and accounting while at Mount Union and had minors in legal studies, math and sociology. Darrah was awarded her degree summa cum laude.

Lewis, who earned the award for being the top evening student at Akron, majored in political science and minored in legal studies and sociology at Mount Union. Lewis was awarded her degree cum laude.

According to Barille, professors at the University of Akron Law School were amazed at the quality of work from Mount Union students. Six Mount Union students entered the school last year and all six are ranked in the top 15 percent of the class.

'By the end of my first year of law school, professors consistently asked what exactly was in the water in Alliance,' Barille said.

Barille said she believes the Mount Union students were all at an advantage because of the preparation they received through the legal studies minor.

'The legal studies professors at Mount are truly gifted and provide their students with the tools needed to succeed in law school,' Barille said. 'I also have to admit that my mathematics major was great preparation for law school.'

Barille said the math courses allowed her to develop the analytical thinking skills essential to her success in law school.

Barille said if there was one piece of advice she could give incoming students interested in attending law school it would be to minor in legal studies and take a few math classes.

'It's the best preparation an undergraduate student can receive.' Barille said.

Lewis said she cannot attribute enough credit to Mount Union College and says Mount Union alumni have a great advantage over the rest of the first-year law students at Akron. She said the Department of Political Science and the pre-law program were the biggest help.

'I am so fortunate to have had such great professors and great preparation at Mount Union,' said Lewis. 'Great professors and lawyers, such as Angela Smith Alder, Pamela Newbold and Jack DeSario, give their students a classroom that mirrors a law school classroom.'

Lewis said due to the demands these professors put on their students ' to read closely, identify rules and answer complex essay questions ' Mount Union alumni are extremely well prepared to succeed in law school.

'Only once I was in law school did I realize how truly fortunate I was to have had the experience at Mount Union,' Lewis said.

Lewis said her participation in the Pre-Law Society at Mount Union was a great networking opportunity and allowed her the chance to explore different fields of work where a law degree is useful. She said she also participated in the Mock Trial Team for her political science Senior Culminating Experience, (SCE). She said this was a great experience that gave her knowledge of the how a case proceeds through the legal system.

'These activities, supplemented with my classroom experience, helped me to excel at Akron Law,' Lewis said.

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