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Career Planning: History Majors and Law School

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
12:00 AM
1014 Tisch Hall

Many History majors who graduate from the University of Michigan attend law school and pursue careers in the law and related fields.  Alumni from the University of Michigan History Department enroll in top law schools across the United States; there are currently twenty-five students with B.A. degrees from the History Department at the University of Michigan Law School alone.

Why do so many History majors attend law school?  Why is History such a popular pre-law major?  What should you be thinking about and doing now if you are interested in a career in the law or related fields?  Should you take time off before starting law school?  Should you apply to joint Law/M.A. programs?  What sorts of career paths are open to law students?  What other questions would you like to discuss with current law students and faculty?

Participants include:

Alanna Farber, currently a first-year law student at U-M, who wrote an honors thesis in the U-M History Department, graduated in 2011 with a double major in History and Psychology, and spent two years as a first-grade teacher through Teach for America in New Jersey before starting law school.

John Lin, currently a second-year student in the joint program in law and public policy at U-M, graduated in 2010 with a double major in History and Political Science, worked for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for two years before returning to professional school, and interned last summer for Chief Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Sara Winik, currently a third-year law student at U-M, graduated in 2011 with a major in History and a minor in Political Science.  Her summer employment has included positions with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which she will join after receiving her degree.  She is spending her final semester of law school in Cape Town, South Africa working on impact litigation at the Legal Resource Center, South Africa’s equivalent of the ACLU.

Bill Novak is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and also a faculty member in the History Department.  He teaches courses in legal history at the law school and has written a number of influential books and articles about law, politics, and public policy in United States history.