Communication Connection

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Wise Words from a Lawful Seahawk

Monday, December 21, 2015

By Jihan Wright

For those who are approaching the crossroads of graduation, with a communication studies degree or as an alum looking for another educational pursuit, law school might be the next step. When discussing future plans with seniors, there is a restrained line of pressure that stems from planning life after undergrad. Graduate school is always an option, or even pursuing an entry-level job but law school is another possibility. Nowadays, the job market requires recent graduates to have at least 3 years of experience or a master's degree. According to U.S. News, "a law degree is favorable among employers even if the job description doesn't require one." Additionally, a law degree can be one of those things that may open the door to a multitude of job opportunities.

UNCW Communication Studies alumna, Ms. Lauren McKoy, is in her second-year at the competitive North Carolina Central University School of Law. As a communication major, her focus was Public relations. McKoy hopes to pursue corporate law after graduation.

For McKoy, the transition from undergrad to law school was challenging as expected but overall, a positive experience."I was in a new city, with new people, and a new curriculum," she explained. "I had to learn new study habits and testing strategies, which led me to be a successful law student."

McKoy's public speaking skills acquired at UNCW were helpful in her law school courses, but she insists that COM 200: Communication Research Methods proved most beneficial for legal research courses. Legal research is a huge component of law school and McKoy had a slight edge over her peers.  McKoy contends, "Having a communication studies degree has helped me with my public speaking skills, which is attributed to the Introduction to Public Speaking course. In my law school courses, there is an ample amount of public speaking in front of colleagues and professors and being able to feel confident in my public speaking has been very beneficial. Also, I have been required to do legal research within an academic setting, as well as my internship with the District Attorney's office and the skills I learned in the Research Methods course were especially useful."

Research is also a large component of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which includes an argument's section that requires the dissection of arguments that mirror legal reasoning arguments in law school.  The 5 canons of rhetoric which include invention, arrangement, memory, style, and delivery are grounded in UNCW communication studies courses. McKoy used these 5 canons in her preparation for the LSAT.  "The 5 canons of rhetoric were helpful in determining my legal reasoning for choosing the appropriate answer." Legal arguments in the logical reasoning section of the LSAT require strong analytical skills that are essential in law school." Critical thinking and problem-solving are core skills of a COM major.

 For anyone thinking of applying to law school, first thing's first: research. Research the type of law you might want to practice. Research the degree programs. Research the requirements. Law school is a full-time job in many ways. "I knew law school was going to be challenging, but I honestly did not know how challenging it would be. I went into law school with an open mind and with the expectation that I would work hard and do my best. My perspective now is similar, due to the fact that law school presents a new challenge every day. I am constantly learning new concepts and new laws. Each year I develop new goals to pursue and I look forward to the challenge that is presented," McKoy said.