The University of Georgia School of Law is offering nine classes for undergraduates during the fall 2019 semester.
“This is something that law schools across the country have been doing more of in recent years,” Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Law Randy Beck said. “This year, we thought it was time to take a bigger step and try a few more courses.”
Courses like Foundations of American Law and Undergraduate Mock Trial have been open to undergraduates for a few years now, but Beck said the law school wants to improve their interaction with UGA students who are considering law school down the road.
Business Law Practicum and Practicum in Animal Welfare Skills require permission before a student can register for the course. One class is reserved for members of the mock trial team.
Even if students don’t yet have an idea if law school is a part of their future, professors such as Christian Turner think everyone should be exposed to basic principles of the law.
“I had a very strong view early on that we should do better in civics education,” Turner said. “It would be good if people knew more about the rule of law.”
Turner, who teaches Foundations of American Law, created the course after speaking with law students in a Supreme Court discussion group, he said.
“The idea was what if we could get some undergraduates to enjoy this kind of conversation, but there's some stuff they need to know first,” Turner said, emphasizing that the goal of these courses is “to give you a wider picture of the society of what you're going to be a part.”
In Legal Aspects to Entrepreneurship, Associate Director for Research Services T.J. Striepe and Research and Copyright Services Librarian Stephen Wolfson — who will both be teaching the course — hope to provide students with the legal tools they will need when they try to start a business.
“There's a lot of interest in entrepreneurship right now,” Wolfson said.
For the spring 2020 semester, Wolfson is teaching a course entitled Pirates, Spies & Speech: Exploring the Intersection of Law & Technology in the Information Age, about copyright and privacy law. The class will be divided into three parts: copyright and ownership law, privacy law and bringing the two together while analyzing how they affect free speech and freedom of the press.
“We're not teaching anybody to be a lawyer,” Wolfson said. “But so it's exciting to teach people to be able to recognize legal issues, even if you are not aware, then help people understand how to speak with lawyers if the need arises.”
Freshman English and history double major Tasha Jose, who is thinking about pursuing a law degree, believes this is a great opportunity for students who want to get a “glimpse into what law school will be like.”
These classes may not transform you into the next Annalise Keating or Jack McCoy, but Beck said they will benefit any student.
“Law is such an important factor in all aspects of life today that so many of the things that we do are going to be regulated by laws,” Beck said. “It's important to a well-rounded education to have some understanding of the law.”