Trustees present at Lawrence Scholars in Law program

Amy Sandquist

The Lawrence Scholars in Law program hosted its first event Oct. 27. Four attorneys who are also on the Lawrence University Board of Trustees talked and dined with students interested in pursuing legal careers.
William Baer ’72, William Hochkammer ’66, Jeffrey Riester ’70 and Pricilla Peterson Weaver ’69 gathered with students in the Hurvis Room to discuss their lives as lawyers and to field students’ questions.
Associate Professor of Economics David Gerard moderated the event, and after he asked the alumni to introduce themselves, each of the alumni offered a distinctly different perspective about his or her career.
The panelists talked about their reasons for getting into the legal profession and shared advice that they commonly give to prospective law students.
“What do you do to steal time?” asked Riester, prompting students to contemplate linking what they enjoy doing with legal work. “If it’s reading, you’re on the right track. I get joy from reading and analyzing the written word.”
The panelists also pointed out the numerous uses for a law degree. “The better question,” Weaver said, referring to those who wonder what they can do after law school, “is ‘what can’t I do with a law degree?'”
After more discussion amongst the panelists, Gerard turned to students’ questions. Students asked about dual-degree programs, the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing other graduate work before law school and the logistics of balancing a rewarding personal life with a demanding career.
Stacy Mara, director of development at Lawrence, was responsible for planning the program. Mara spoke of future plans for Lawrence Scholars in Law, saying, “We plan to offer a Lawrence Scholars in Law program at least once per term this academic year. We already have many alumni willing to participate in future events.”
Gerard described Wednesday’s event as “a proving ground and a springboard.” Commenting on why the trustees make good panelists for this first event, he explained, “The trustees are really great for this audience. They are successful attorneys, they all love Lawrence, and they are a very affable group.”
Gerard sees law school as a viable track for many Lawrence students, but he hopes that Lawrence Scholars in Law will prompt students to consider their post-graduation plans, even if those plans do not include law school.
“Clearly, law school is not the right direction for everyone, and we’d like to get that on the table as well,” Gerard said. “We want students to understand what the opportunity is and what the opportunity cost is.”
Angela Ting ’11 was pleased with the event. “I found it extremely helpful, especially for seniors,” she said. “I liked that they encouraged us to really follow our passions.”
Ting was relieved that the panelists encouraged students not to rush into law school. “It does help to know that I can hold on and think for another second,” she said with a smile.