Mount Union College Graduates Headed for Legal Careers

April 15, 2010

A number of Mount Union College students are headed for careers in the legal field, inspired and aided by experiences provided through the legal studies program at the College.

Dr. Jack DeSario, director of the legal studies program at Mount Union, sees the most recent graduating class headed for promising legal careers, as several of them accepted offers from law schools, including some of the most highly-rated in the country.

Brooke Anderson of Sharpsville, PA, who graduated magna cum laude this May, will be attending the University of Pittsburgh law school this fall, planning to focus on family law. As a psychology major, Anderson is interested in incorporating her interests in that field with legal studies, perhaps doing some type of counseling. When she came to Mount Union as a freshman, Anderson knew she had an interest in the law, but she cites DeSario's "Intro to Law" class as the deciding factor that a law career was in her future.

Another 2002 graduate, Barbara White, from North Lima, Ohio, will be attending Akron University this fall on a full-tuition scholarship. White, who graduated cum laude with a degree in philosophy and political science, is thinking about going into family law, a decision that she said has been prompted by an internship in the Canton juvenile court. White says that she feels very prepared for law school based on her classroom work, as well as her experiences out of the classroom. Catharine Zurbrugg, of Sebring, Ohio, came to Mount Union College intending to study education. Her "Intro to Government" class changed her mind. Now, after graduating summa cum laude, Zurbrugg is planning on attending New York University Law School, one of the top five law schools in the country. Zurbrugg has not decided yet, which area of law she is most interested in, but she says that she is definitely interested in being involved in public interest work at some point. Last summer, Zurbrugg had an internship in Washington DC, which she says was a great experience.

She also cites many of her law classes as being helpful. "My brother is in law school, and a lot of what he was learning in his first year of law school was what I was learning at Mount Union," said Zurbrugg. "I think I have had really good preparation here."

Zurbrugg also points to DeSario as a reason she feels confident in her preparation. "I could not have done this without his him," she says. "He helped with everything, even in encouraging me to keep my grades up."

In addition to the preparation they receive in class, Mount Union students have the opportunity to become involved in the Pre-Law Society, an extra-curricular activity for students with an interest in legal issues. The Pre-Law Society has hosted several distinguished speakers this academic year, including Judge Joseph D. Russo, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge; Dean Carro, Akron University law professor; Ronald Kopp, a private practice attorney from Akron; Judge Lee Sinclair, Stark County Common Pleas Judge who recently received a scholarship from the National Judicial College to investigate the handling of death penalty cases; and Judge James Gwin, United States District Court Judge for Ohio, appointed for life by President Clinton.

The Pre-Law Society members had the opportunity to visit Case Western Reserve Law School in Cleveland, the law school at Boston College and Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, the students were able to sit in on a class conducted by Laurence Tribe, an internationally famous constitutional law professor who is well known for representing Al Gore before the United State Supreme Court in the case of Gore vs. Bush.

DeSario joined the staff at Mount Union in 1990. In addition to having earned his Ph.D at the State University of New York and his juris doctorate at Case Western Reserve Law School, Dr. DeSario has extensive teaching experience, served as Chairman of the Ohio Ethics Committee and has been featured on various television shows as a legal analyst. His fifth book, "Capturing the Fugitive - the Final Chapter of the Sam Sheppard Trial," is expected to be published around December 2002.

A new full-time faculty member has recently been added to the legal studies program. Angela Smith Alder received her juris doctorate from Creighton University of Law and then received her LL.M. from Harvard Law School.

DeSario and Smith Alder intend to further strengthen the legal studies curriculum at Mount Union. "We are working on revising the legal studies minor," said DeSario. "We will be offering more course options and the opportunity to study constitutional law more in-depth by offering two separate courses on the subject.

We are pleased to report that the past academic year has been extremely busy and successful," said DeSario, reflecting on the success of this year's graduates. "We are striving to make sure that what we teach students is not just theory, but that it is also practical and applied."

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