Thursday, April 25, 2013

Different academic paths prepare SMU seniors for various law schools

By Julianne Bartosz
Editor in Chief

As the 2012-2013 academic year nears its end, Saint Mary’s seniors are forced to plan for the next step in their lives.  As some still struggle finding their calling, three of SMU seniors are about to embark on the next step of their lives: law school.

Seniors Meghan Campbell, Cathy Rennie and Jeunesse Rutledge have each been accepted into law school despite their different academic paths at SMU. 

Campbell is a political science & history double major who will be attending Villanova University in Pennsylvania in the fall.  She will be pursuing a career in public interest, which may include anything from immigration to civil rights and family law to low income.

“I was always fascinated by legal matters and our political rights,” said Campbell.  “Being at college has really helped me become more passionate about preserving the rights of others as well.”

Campbell said that Saint Mary’s has also prepared her through her classes and extracurricular activities.  Meanwhile, Rennie said that SMU has prepared her by becoming a better writer.

“Also, some of the classes I have taken have exposed me to various cases and taught me how to write case briefs and evaluate each case,” said Rennie, a psychology major with a business minor.

Rennie will be attending the University of Saint Thomas and is not sure what kind of law she wants to study.  She said, “I am kind of leaning toward some type of business or corporate law or trial law”

As a student-athlete who is active on campus, she said her biggest challenge will be putting all of her focus and attention on school.  On the other hand, Rutledge said the biggest challenge will be the “grading on a curve.”

“I am excited to be challenged and have to defend my beliefs while doing the same for others,” said Rutledge, a criminal justice law enforcement and literature double major who will be attending the University of Wisconsin Madison Law School.  

She plans on being a prosecutor for a larger county and can definitely see herself in the felony violence courtroom in the future.  This strong sense of her future is based on her internships, one of which was at the Lake County, Ill., State Attorney’s Office.

“My three years of internships have probably been the most helpful in getting hands-on experience and exposure with my future career paths,” she said.  Rutledge advises students interested in law school “to start internships as soon as possible and get as many under your belt as soon as you can.”

Campbell also said that her internship at a law firm in Washington, D.C., provided a very valuable experience.  

“I not only gained hands-on experience working in a firm by assisting in trials, managing case briefs and handling clientele,” said Campbell.  “I also had several opportunities to meet many other attorneys and judges who were more than willing to give me advice on my career path.”

Campbell advises students “to get involved in things that you are interested in and that might add to your career goals.”  She explained that she was able to utilize this advise by getting involved in SMU’s Peace and Justice Club and by volunteering at the Red Wing Correctional Facility.

Campbell, Rennie and Rutledge each emphasized the importance of studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and giving yourself enough time to take it more than once.  Campbell and Rennie advise students interested in pursuing law school to visit the Law School Admissions Council’s website (

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