Judge Schudson relates liberal arts to law

Kayla Wilson

Wisconsin Reserve Judge Charles B. Schudson completed his three-part lecture series last week, marking the end of a three-week residency with the Lawrence government department.
During his time here he presented a lecture series, “Law and Society – Confrontation in America’s Courts,” which included movies that corresponded with the lecture’s topics and a two-part discussion series, “So You’re Thinking About Law School?”
Schudson’s visit resulted from contact with Lawrence Provost David Burrows, whose office sponsored the visit.
“He is interested in the importance of liberal education for persons planning a career in the law,” Burrows said of Schudson, “and we decided that some presentations on that would be helpful to students at Lawrence.”
The two worked closely in deciding what topics to address in the lectures. On Jan. 31, for example, the topic was “The Journalist and the Law.”
“We worked on this for months and Dean Burrows picked these topics,” Schudson said that evening. “I know how he arranged that – e-mails and phone calls with me – but I don’t know how he arranged this,” holding up that day’s New York Times, which featured a front page story about journalist Judith Miller, an issue directly related to that night’s topic.
An interesting and entertaining speaker, Schudson worked to keep students engaged. He gave out reading assignments beforehand, giving the students access to background material. These materials were on reserve at the library and available in the administrative offices of academic buildings.
Before his movie showings, Schudson also provided a quick rundown of key terms and people, which allowed those without a law background to fully understand the film.
In addition, his long career in law enabled him to speak on a wide array of topics, answer questions, and ask thought-provoking questions.
Burrows, appreciating how this series helps students who are thinking about law, also thought it important for students to see how the liberal education they are getting at Lawrence will help them.
“I believe that students at Lawrence should have every opportunity to consider how liberal learning – the kind of learning that occurs at Lawrence – can serve them, both for a life of fulfillment and for a productive professional career,” Burrows said. “Judge Schudson’s presentations address these issues in ways that are very interesting.