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Biola’s new pre-law minor announced at annual dinner

A panel of Christian attorneys share their experiences and answer student questions at Biola's department dinner in honor of the new pre-law minor.

Last week’s pre-law dinner introduced about 35 students interested in pre-law to four guest attorneys, as well as to the new pre-law minor, which is available for the first time this year.

Attorneys Josh Phelps, Alicia Dewey, Kevin Lewis and Riley Todd spoke on the evening of Sept. 29 about their own experiences and talked about how to survive as a Christian in the world of law. Hosted by the department of history, political science and social science, the dinner has been held every other year in the past without the minor, but was held for the second year in a row this year, according to Dave Peters, pre-law advisor and professor of political science.

Interest in pre-law has grown over the years, Peters said, warranting the implementation of an annual dinner and a full pre-law minor.

“There were those that felt that we needed to have something delineated, identified; something we could recommend as a good foundational basis for entry into law school,” Peters said.

Biola’s pre-law minor launched this year

The new minor, which has been in the works for at least 10 years, includes a maximum of 18 units. Students can choose from pre-existing courses such as Colonial Period American Revolution, American Democratic, Rise of Modern America, U.S. Since 1920, Economics, American Constitutional Law and Studies in Political Science. Peters said additional recommended classes may be supplemented as well.

Peters emphasized that anyone could enter law school with any degree, but said many parents of prospective students look for a college with a specific pre-law program. The need to bring in new students warranted the creation of a pre-law minor. While there is no pre-law major, Peters said the pre-law minor can work with any major.

Junior Steven Haddadian is one such case. Haddadian, a marketing major, said he wants to get his law degree for entertainment.

“[Law schools] want your mind to be a clean slate and they want to be able to train you in the manner that they have in mind,” Peters said. “You could be a biology major, sociology major, any kind of major.”

Students excited about the new minor

Students at the pre-law dinner, however, expressed their gratitude for the introduction of a pre-law minor.

Junior Havilah Steinman and freshman Bre Phillips said they’re considering becoming pre-law minors.

“They’re preparing us for law school, teaching us to read, think and analyze,” said junior, pre-law minor Sarah Jurkiewicz.

Steinman said she would like to attend law school and felt the pre-law dinner helps her and other students prepare for law school.

“It’s a great place to network and make connections to get there,” Steinman said. Peters agreed. The minor assures a certain degree of preparation in logic, reasoning, and other areas needed to succeed in pre-law, he said. It also prepares students to be Christians in pre-law, which is why Peters invited only Christian attorneys to speak at the dinner.

Law a divine calling for Christians

“Law school is a very liberal institution,” said Todd, who currently works in the L.A. county district attorney’s office. “Go in as a conservative, you won’t be having tons of friends on Facebook.”

Even in a liberal environment, there is still something to be held accountable to and a reason, as a Christian, to hold others accountable for their actions. Law provides a way bring justice, Lewis said.

“The Bible is divided into law and gospel,” said Lewis, who has his own law firm with his brother. “Both are divine callings because God hates sin, and you can help right a wrong. You’re doing justice.”

Dewey, who is also a history professor at Biola, said Christian integrity also plays a part in law.

“I think integrity is probably the most important opportunity for a lawyer,” Dewey said. “It’s a critical character quality to have. You have to be strong. You can minister to a person.”

Peters said he thought the dinner was successful.

“Students were asking meaningful questions and getting honest answers,” Peters said. “People were there until 10 [p.m.] staying and talking to panelists.”

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