Pre-law advising charts success for Gettysburg graduates entering law school

Political Science Prof. Scott Boddery
Political Science Prof. Scott Boddery, who serves as Gettysburg’s pre-law advisor, meets with a student in his office in Glatfelter Hall. Boddery tracks his students’ law school placements by adding the schools’ logos to the whiteboard in his office.

Since 2017, Gettysburg College’s pre-law advising has garnered more student interest and attention from law schools that admit Gettysburg graduates into their programs.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, 39 Gettysburg graduates matriculated to one of 27 law schools, including Harvard Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law, and Notre Dame Law School. These students scored an average of 160 on the LSAT, the Law School Admission Test. Of these students, 21 were political science majors, with the remainder majoring in history, philosophy, and business.

Political Science Prof. Scott Boddery, who serves as Gettysburg’s pre-law advisor, said that about half of his pre-law appointments come from alumni who were not political science majors.

“The American Bar Association is adamant that you don’t have to major in one particular thing in order to go to law school,” he explained. “In many ways, we mirror that here. We encourage students to discover what they’re passionate about in the first two years so they can focus on what they really love in their second two years. With that comes the GPA, which is important for law school admissions.

“When law school admissions committee members get Gettysburg applications, they know who they’re getting and get excited about it,” Boddery continued. “I think we punch above our weight in terms of the number of students who go to law school compared to schools of our size. It’s the reputation that we’ve garnered that speaks volumes about our students.”

Pre-law advising for students and alumni

Pre-law advising is available for both current students and Gettysburg alumni. Several Gettysburg alums who have been in their careers for five to 10 years have reached out to Boddery to express their desire to go to law school, underscoring the strength of Gettysburg’s advisors supporting students during and after their undergraduate studies.

Gap years are common as professionals take the time to learn what they want to do. For example, Harvard Law School’s J.D. Class of 2026 admitted 82% of students who had previously spent at least one year out of college, and 69% and 21% had spent two and four years out of college, respectively. Alex Rosado ’24, a political science major and economics minor, is taking this route and came to Boddery for advice.

“What you can offer in terms of character and experience puts you above the pack,” said Rosado.

Christian Lansinger ’19, an economics major, can attest to the strength of Gettysburg’s pre-law advising. From shadowing a litigator in New York City through the pre-law program, Lansinger learned what lawyers do day to day, such as conduct legal research and advise clients. Gettysburg courses in constitutional law and legal policy and analysis, taught by Boddery, gave him a well-rounded perspective of law school and career expectations. This coursework also provided opportunities to hone problem-solving, critical thinking, written communication, and public speaking skills essential for success in law school and other professions in the legal field.

“I’m still using the same legal writing and research skills I first learned at Gettysburg,” he said. “The building block to being a lawyer is knowing how to write as a lawyer. And I used the pre-law resources at the Center for Career Engagement specifically for applying to law schools and understanding what I was getting into.”

After attending William & Mary Law School, Lansinger now works as a litigation fellow for the Institute for Justice, representing clients who allege their constitutional rights were violated by the government.

Boddery explained that law school applications change each year and come with different expectations for applicants. Autumn Chassie ’23, a political science major, was involved in pre-law advising since her first moment at Gettysburg after she learned about it during Get Acquainted Day for accepted students. As a first-generation college and law school student, she was pleased with the advice she received about the application process. Thanks to that advice, she is currently attending Notre Dame Law School.

“If you don’t have anyone to tell you when to take the LSAT, you’re going to be scared. That’s where pre-law advising came in,” Chassie said. “I was a little late to the game. Now I try to pay it forward and give people advice: I tell them to get involved and practice outside as fast as possible.”

“When law school admissions committee members get Gettysburg applications, they know who they’re getting and get excited about it.”
Political Science Prof. Scott Boddery

The value of faculty mentorship

Boddery reflects on the mentorship provided and the experience of watching the student-faculty relationship come full circle by seeing his graduates get jobs.

“This is my seventh year, and I’m just now experiencing students who I’ve had in class, graduated from law school, and now are finally getting jobs as lawyers. They’re getting incredible jobs and making a really great living for themselves,” Boddery continued. “I’m only a small sliver of that, but I get this incredible sense of pride seeing them doing these great things and making a life for themselves.”

Drew Lemon ’24, a double major in economics and public policy, recognizes the role faculty mentors like Boddery play in a Gettysburg student’s education.

“It means a lot that Gettysburg offers a platform for you to explore interests that aren’t necessarily at the undergrad level,” said Lemon. “Prof. Boddery is an asset in this community because there aren’t a lot of professors at small undergrad schools who have the lawyering experience as well as political science knowledge that can steer you in the right direction. People are what make us, and Prof. Boddery is an example of that.”

Learn more about Gettysburg College’s pre-law advising and opportunities to explore careers in law.

By Katie Lauriello ’25
Photo by Shawna Sherrell
Posted: 02/29/24

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