From Liberal Arts to Law School: Alumni Talk Clinics, Coursework and Career Paths

Emmanuel is the alma mater of dozens of law professionals, with positions ranging from district attorney to corporate lawyer, from politician to professor.

Alumni panelists from left to right: Max Butterbrodt ’18, Danielle Angelo ’14, Frank Pustorino ’14, Eric Cote ’18 and Elizabeth Hayes Patterson, Esq. '67

Though their paths and professions vary greatly, they all share the foundation of a multidisciplinary liberal arts education from Emmanuel College. The Pre-Law Committee of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions encourages the development of skills such as problem solving, critical reading, writing, oral communication, research and more. Emmanuel's Pre-Law program consists of a series of courses in public speaking, philosophy and political science found to be excellent preparation for the Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) and for successful study of the legal profession. 

At a law school application panel for current students, alumni ranging from the Class of 1967 to the Class of 2018 shared anecdotes from their own experiences in law school, as well as advice for students who are considering studying law, fielding questions about the application process and what to expect with law school coursework.




For those of you who are interested in careers in the law—there is no more-crucial time in the history of our country to understand the systems in place, decide what kind of people we are and effect change. I was a French major. I want those of you out there who are music majors, chemistry majors, et cetera, to know that the law has no set prerequisite when it comes to preparation. You can major in anything; what's crucial is that you have taken courses that have required you to read a great deal, to analyze what you read, and write about what you read. You can major in anything."

Elizabeth Hayes Patterson, Esq. '67

Professor Emerita,
Georgetown University Law Center

Patterson



















A graduate of Emmanuel College's Class of 1967, Patterson has served on Emmanuel College's Board of Trustees and received an honorary doctorate from the College in 2008. Patterson is a Professor Emerita at Georgetown University Law Center where taught for 38 years, specializing in courses such as Conflicts, Contracts, Race and American Law, Commercial Law: Sales Transactions, and Law and Social Change: The Civil Rights Movement. Before joining the Georgetown faculty in 1980, Patterson served as Chair of the D.C. Public Service (Utilities) Commission and was a Commissioner of the D.C. Public Service Commission. Though she has had an extensive career in law, Patterson did not plan to study law from the beginning, and she encourages interested students from any discipline to pursue law.



"Say yes to every opportunity to try something new both in undergrad and in law school. This is the time to really explore, and gain an informed outlook on how to achieve your ultimate goal. Clinics and internships are a great way to get credit while learning outside a traditional classroom, and it's the best way and the safest environment to figure out what type of law you like. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone."

Danielle Angelo '14

Roger Williams University School of Law, 2018
Political Science major, internship at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office

Danielle












A recent graduate of the Roger Williams University School of Law, Danielle is waiting on her results from the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Danielle worked as a 3:03 Student Prosecutor for over a year, as well as an Advocate at The Women's Resource Center in Providence, Rhode Island, for nearly two. At Emmanuel, the political science major held an internship at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, a position she said inspired her to proceed "full-speed-ahead."

In law school, the only person you're competing with is yourself. Don't fall into that competitive nature-find out the way that you study, and stick with it. Make goals for yourself, and stick with it. Do your reading, and stick with it, and you'll be fine. It's a marathon, not a sprint."


Frank Pustorino '14

Boston University School of Law, 2017
Associate at Proskauer Rose LLP
Political Science major, internships at Suffolk County Superior Court and Lynn District Court  

FrankA political science major from the Class of 2014, Frank went on to study law at Boston University, from which he graduated in 2017. Frank is currently an Associate at Proskauer Rose LLP, a private investment funds practice, where he focuses on corporate, business and transactional law. Frank said his approach to law school was "to go all in," citing that, although it was challenging, he loved it, as it made him into a better academic, not just in law but overall. During his undergraduate years, Frank completed internships with the Suffolk County Superior Court and Lynn District Court, which he feels helped shape his approach to law school.

There's no downside to exploring internship opportunities. Not only do you gain experience but also you build your network, which can only lead you to even greater opportunity. There are so many opportunities out there, and the earlier that you can prepare, think it through and meet new people, the more lucrative career you'll have. It's a very organic process once you figure out what you enjoy."



Max Butterbrodt '18

First-Year Student, Suffolk University Law School
Political Science major, campaign intern with Barbara L'Italien, Massachusetts State Senator  

Max

A first-year law student, Max graduated from Emmanuel with a degree in political science and a knack for working in political campaigns. An experienced field organizer, Max worked for Massachusetts State Senator Barbara L'Italien, a position he landed after he completed an internship for Senator L'Italien in the spring of his senior year at Emmanuel. Now a full-time law student, Max has his sights set on pursuing career in American politics after completing his program. His advice to prospective law students is to "put in the time and effort." 

Emmanuel prepares you really well to be able to do the work in law school, and once you get to law school it's time to really do the work. It's a full-time job, but if you budget your time and make a plan, it's very doable. It's not impossible at all-just make sure you give yourself time to study."



Eric Cote '18

First-Year Student, UMass Dartmouth Law School
Political Science major, campaign intern for Barbara L'Italien, Massachusetts State Senator  

EricAnother recent graduate from the Class of 2018, Eric is studying law at UMass Dartmouth Law School, the only public law school in Massachusetts. Eric also worked for Massachusetts State Senator Barbara L'Italien as a campaign intern, a position he held in the latter part of his senior year. Former Student Government Association Executive President, Eric stresses the importance of maintaining the extracurricular components of undergrad, stating that these skills gained by being involved at Emmanuel have given him the confidence and work ethic he needs to work throughout the week and attend law school.  

Beyond studying for the LSAT and being accepted, the skills you build while you're an undergrad, curricular and extracurricular, are just as important. I feel better prepared to do something beyond my comfort zone—now, it's in my comfort zone. As a part-time student working full time, having a job that's accommodating and supportive, it's definitely manageable. If you can invest yourself in whatever you study, you will be able to perform and succeed."


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