High school students explore law careers at pre-law academy host - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

High school students explore law careers at pre-law academy hosted by SFA

Dr. Joyce Johnston, director of SFA’s Pre-Law Academy, introduces students to several law school representatives. (Source: KTRE Staff) Dr. Joyce Johnston, director of SFA’s Pre-Law Academy, introduces students to several law school representatives. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Shanell Taylor, a high school senior from Port Arthur, wants to be an accountant with sights set on a becoming a tax attorney.. (Source: KTRE Staff) Shanell Taylor, a high school senior from Port Arthur, wants to be an accountant with sights set on a becoming a tax attorney.. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The State Bar of Texas already has a lot of members. High school students aspiring to be lawyers may keep the profession strong. (Source: KTRE Staff) The State Bar of Texas already has a lot of members. High school students aspiring to be lawyers may keep the profession strong. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

High school students aspiring to be lawyers or at least want to research the career are attending a pre-law academy held at Stephen F. Austin State University this week.

It's never too early to prepare, nor recruit for a legal career.

Some of these high school students have heard it before. You're argumentative. You ask too many questions. You should be an attorney when you grow up.  

"When I was younger I used to always joke, and I used to be like, 'I want to be a lawyer because I just like questioning people,’” said Shannell Taylor, a senior at Tekoa Academy.

Inquisitive minds are sharpened at the week-long camp where students prepare for a mock murder trial, or could it be a suicide?

"This woman, she calls 911, she says my husband is dead,” said Lauren Bowlby, a New Braunfels senior. “He shot himself in the head."

The role playing of both prosecutor and defense is judged by judges.

"They grade you pretty hard on what you're doing, but I think the whole experience teaches you to be more confident,” Bowlby said.

It’s something handy to have when facing law school recruiters from University of Houston, Texas A&M, South Texas and Baylor, who like sports recruiters, are searching for strong talent.

"It's a pipeline program,” said Katherine Sims, the director of Admissions at Baylor’s Law School. “We're trying to get to students a little bit earlier, so that they understand their opportunities."

There's no law school at SFA, but Dr. Joyce Johnston knows aspiring high school students must first obtain their bachelor's degrees. 

"If you want to go to law school, and you want to be a lawyer, you need to know how to write, and you need to be ready to read, and this is exactly the sort of education that our liberal arts background will give you,” said Dr. Joyce Johnson, the academy’s director and the director of SFA’s Division of Multidisciplinary Programs.

The well-rounded education falls in line with an increasing number of law degree holders seeking non-traditional jobs. 

"I want to be an accountant,” Taylor said. “I maybe will try the tax law."

This is the 4th year SFA has hosted the event. 

The president of the Texas State Bar Association, judges from Smith County, prosecutors from Montgomery and Nacogdoches counties as well as the City of Tyler helped lead this year’s program.

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