Pre-Law Certificate

On Campus; Faculty
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Paul Barresi
Law and Politics

The Pre-Law Program at Southern New Hampshire University is an interdisciplinary instructional and mentoring program that helps students to prepare for law school by giving them substantial insight into what it means to "think like a lawyer."  Although the program is hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences, it is open to students in the undergraduate day school from throughout the university.  The Pre-Law Advisor, who is a full-time School of Arts and Sciences faculty member, a lawyer, and a former law school legal practice skills instructor, is available to advise students in the Pre-Law Program on all matters related to their preparation for law school and the practice of law.

Although the most common undergraduate majors for law students nationwide are Political ScienceHistory and English, the Pre-Law Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) does not recommend any particular major or group of courses as the best preparation for law school.  Instead, the ABA recommends that pre-law students take "a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors," and "seek courses and other experiences that will engage you in critical thinking about important issues, challenge your beliefs and improve your tolerance for uncertainty." SNHU's Pre-Law Program has been designed with these factors in mind.

Students may declare the Pre-Law Program as a certificate. Students in any major in the undergraduate day school may participate.

Pre-Law Certificate Required Courses

POL-210: American Politics
This course offers a broad introduction to the structure and function of the American political system at the national level, including the roles played by the president, Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, political parties, interest groups and the mass media in the policy- making and electoral processes. This course places special emphasis on how the efforts of the framers of the Constitution to solve what they saw as the political problems of their day continue to shape American national politics in ours.
POL-306: The American Legal Tradition
This course offers a broad introduction to the American legal tradition, including the structure and function of the courts, the legal profession, legal education, and the politics of judicial selection. As an introduction to what it means to "think like a lawyer" in the United States, students learn how to write parts of a predictive legal memorandum of the type that first-year law students learn how to write, in which they analyze a legal issue of concern to hypothetical clients by applying the reasoning and conclusions in selected judicial opinions to the facts of the clients' case.
GOV-110 or POL-210
POL-316: Legal Reasoning and the Constitution
This course explores the reasoning process by American courts in resolving constitutional disputes. It is modeled on a first-year law school course. The readings consist almost exclusively of abbreviated U.S. Supreme Court opinions in civil liberties and civil rights cases. Students learn how to write brief, formal summaries of these opinions of the type that first-year students in American law schools learn to write, and are expected to participate actively in the type of in-class Socratic dialogues that are the standard method of instruction in American law schools.
POL-336: Advocacy and the Law
This course aims to dispel some of the myths about lawyers as advocates that are perpetuated by popular culture and the mass media in the United States. Students spend much of the course exploring case studies that illustrate the ethical dilemmas faced by lawyers as advocates in the American legal system, the ethical rules that govern their behavior as a condition of their license to practice law, and the fates that befall them when they fail to fulfill their ethical obligations. In addition, students learn how to write parts of an appellate legal brief of the type that first-year law students in American law schools learn how to write, and how to make an appellate oral argument on behalf of hypothetical clients in a moot court setting.

Select Two of the Following:

BUS-206: Business Law I
The background, foundation and ethical aspects of the United States' legal system are examined. Torts, product liability, criminal law, contracts, sales, business organizations, and agency and cyber law also are explored.
BUS-307: Business Law II
The study begun in Business Law I continues as the topics of commercial paper, real and personal property, creditors' rights and bankruptcy, agency, business organizations, estate planning and government regulation of business are explored.
JUS-375: Criminal Law
An introduction to substantive criminal law that reviews the social, philosophical, and legal foundations of criminal codification. In addition, the course covers the historical development of criminal law in the U.S. Other subject matters include parties to crimes including principals/accessories, criminal capacity, criminal elements, e.g. mens rea, actus rea, and the specific crimes against person, property, and public order. Lastly, the course captures criminal law from the defendant's perspective by reviewing the accuser's mental states, potential defenses and uses of mitigation.
JUS-376: Criminal Procedure
A procedural law course which includes a review of the law of arrests, search, and seizure, the making of bail, adjudication, pre- and post-trial activities and the nature of plea bargaining. Substantial emphasis is given the constitutional protections afforded through the Bill of Rights, particularly the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th. The course deals extensively with case law applications of these principles and the role of judge and jurist in the crafting of criminal process standards.
JUS-497: Law and Evidence
A comprehensive review of evidentiary principles, both common law and statutory, and how evidentiary standards affect and govern both civil and criminal process. Topical coverage includes: Real and physical evidence, demonstrative substitution, hearsay and first-hand evidence, witness scope and qualification, as well as privilege principles. Both federal and state rules will be interpreted. Students will be required to advocate cases utilizing these evidentiary principles in a mock court environment and to research an area of emerging evidence law.
PHL-214: Formal Logic
This course is a study of the fundamental principles of correct and incorrect argument, historical forms of deductive logic, and the significance of language and clear verbalization. Offered as needed.
POL-319: US Environmental Law and Politics
How can businesses, governments, and public interest groups achieve environmental sustainability goals in legal and political contexts that were designed with other goals in mind? This interdisciplinary course explores the options in the United States, and provides a comprehensive point of comparison for topics explored in POL 329 and POL 349. Students spend about half of the course learning how to spot facts that give rise to compliance issues for businesses and other private parties under a full spectrum of federal environmental laws, and to identify opportunities for achieving broader sustainability goals within the constraints imposed by the law. In the other half, students learn both how to predict environmental law and policy outcomes and how to shape them adaptively in pursuit of sustainability goals in a fragmented system of governance that was designed to privilege special interests and to favor the status quo.
Take ENV-101 or SCI-219 and POL-210 or junior stan
POL-326: World Legal Traditions
This course explores the history and contemporary significance of the world's major legal traditions, including the common law, civil law, and other municipal legal traditions, and the international law tradition. Students compare and contrast the essential features of these traditions, and explore how they shape what it means to "think like a lawyer" in the United States, in many foreign countries, and internationally.
POL-211 and POL-306
POL-329: Int'l Environmental Law and Negotiation
How can we resolve environmental disagreements without picking winners and losers or merely agreeing to disagree? This interdisciplinary course explores the most effective strategy for doing so in negotiating environmental agreements of all kinds, using the multi-country agreements that are at the center of international environmental law as illustrative examples. Students spend most of the course building "win-win negotiation" skills in a series of increasingly complex computer-assisted and other role-playing simulation games, including an unregulated international common pool resource negotiation, an International Whaling Commission negotiation, and a global climate change negotiation using C-ROADS, an award-winning computer simulation used by governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations worldwide to model the long-term climate impacts of alternative greenhouse gas emission policy scenarios.
ENV-101 or SCI-219 and either POL-211 or at least
POL-349: Comparative Environmental Law and Sustainable Development
How effective is environmental law as a strategy for achieving sustainable development? How does its diversity across countries and cultures constrain the ability of businesses, governments, and civil society organizations to achieve environmental sustainability goals in an increasingly globalized world? This interdisciplinary course examines the many legal, political, cultural, and other factors that shape the answer to these questions, using China, India, Russia, the European Union, and the United States as illustrative examples. Students explore the implications of these factors not only for businesses, governments, and civil society organizations pursuing sustainability goals within their own countries, but also for their counterparts in other countries to whom the former are linked through bilateral trade relationships and global supply chains.
ENV-101 or SCI-219 and either POL-210 or at least

*At least four courses must be in addition to any courses counted toward the requirements of a student's major.

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Paul A. Barresi
B.S., Cornell University 
J.D., George Washington University
M.A.L.D., Tufts University 
Ph.D., Boston University