Overview

The Division of Social Sciences sponsors the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Scholars Program.  This rigorous, highly selective, life-changing, interdisciplinary program is designed for incoming freshpersons who are interested in attending law school, or pursuing careers within the legal profession, or who simply desire to learn more about the enduring impact of the law on the moral, social, legal, and economic institutions of our society and how it affects people from every socioeconomic corner. The program is also open to Tougaloo sophomore students who possess the same commitment to interdisciplinary study through the lens of the law. There is no required major for acceptance into the program, nor do we recommend any single major as best suited for success as a law student or attorney. Rather, the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Scholars Program fosters the pursuit of academic excellence across disciplines. 

Upon admission into the program, students are awarded a stipend and are expected to embrace the privileges, challenges, and responsibilities of participating in a variety of required courses, programs, seminars, symposia, lectures, and internships related to law.

Mission

The mission of the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Scholars Program is to equip Tougaloo students with all tools necessary to become high-performing, logical thinking, socially responsible graduates who can intellectually contribute at the highest level of discourse to various schools of jurisprudential thought and, if so desired, successfully matriculate through a law school program or any post graduate study of their choice.

Requirements to Apply/4 Scholar Positions Available

  • Incoming freshpersons who have a composite ACT score of at least 23 or an SAT score of  1050 or greater, with a high school cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Tougaloo sophomore students who have completed 24 semester hours at Tougaloo College with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher

Students must have an interest in pursuing a law-related career, or possess an easily discernable interest in learning how the law affects our everyday lives. Students who do not meet the required ACT or SAT score must obtain permission from the coordinator of the program to apply.

To be eligible for the fall 2016 scholars program, students must apply by June 6, 2016.  All applicants will be notified of a decision by June 30, 2016. RVA Application Form

Requirements if Accepted

Students are required to take the following courses: Constitutional Law I, Constitutional Law II, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Legal Environment of Business, and Logic and Effective Thinking. Students are also urged, but not required, to take Mock Trial I and II, American National Government, and Ethics, Medicine, and Technology. Additionally, students must attend all pre-law convocations and a minimum of three pre-law seminars per semester regarding careers in law.

After the junior year, students should enroll in a May LSAT Preparation Workshop offered at Tougaloo and take the June LSAT. 

Some of the required courses may have prerequisites that are not themselves counted towards fulfillment of the program.  Students must acquire the prerequisites and not asked to be waived into courses. 

Students must maintain a professional dress code and adhere to standards of ethics, morality, and conduct as delineated by the program’s coordinator and the highest principles of the Tougaloo tradition of excellence so as to replicate that which is widely and commonly expected of Tougaloo students. The dress and conduct code will respect various cultural viewpoints.

Students must present a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40 at the end of each year to avoid being placed on probation.  If a student fails to present a cumulative grade point average of 3.40 in two successive years, the student will be excused from the scholars program.

All credits must be taken at Tougaloo, unless this requirement is specifically waived by the Pre-Law Program Coordinator and approved by the College.

In the summer months, those student scholars promoted to their sophomore, junior, or senior years must be engaged in an off-campus pre-law summer program or internship, or enrolled in an on-campus legal writing course or LSAT workshop as delineated by the program’s coordinator. Those students enrolled in an on-campus legal writing or LSAT workshop will receive on-campus housing and meals at the expense of the scholars program, if such funds are available as determined solely by the Pre-Law Program Coordinator and appropriate college officials. All other expenses must be met by the student.

Program Benefits

Through the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Scholars Program, students will have a chance to develop an accurate picture of the realities, rewards, and challenges of being a lawyer in today’s society.  Throughout the program, students will have an opportunity to:

  • gain a comprehensive grounding in fundamental legal concepts and techniques;
  • explore the varieties of professional roles open to lawyers;
  • prepare for law school, or a lifetime of informed citizenship;
  • develop professional contacts; and
  • receive a stipend of $2,500 per academic year to be distributed evenly in eight monthly installments

Students will also be able to address such questions as:

  • How do the careers of lawyers portrayed on TV compare to those of real-life lawyers?
  • How much of my legal career will involve arguing over lofty Constitutional issues?
  • Will my success as a lawyer hinge on being the smartest person in the room?
  • Will I make a lot of money if I go to law school and become a lawyer?
  • What’s so great about being a lawyer?

Internships

To gain experience and insight into the day-to-day work of lawyers, students may be able to participate in a specially arranged full-time or part-time internship.

These internships are paid and unpaid, optional, limited in number, not guaranteed, and will be assigned by the Coordinator on a first-come, first-served basis.  If a student is interested in being considered for an internship, the student must aggressively make that interest known to the coordinator and advisor of the program.  The student should also be aware that market conditions may affect the availability of internships.

The program will make every effort to match students’ interests and talents with available internships.  The nature of each internship will be at the discretion of the hosting firm or institution.  Students should be prepared to work exceedingly hard at these internships as the goal is to replicate post-graduate work experience.

Past internships have ranged from private law firms to government agencies, and nonprofit organizations including, the United States House of Representatives, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi,  the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi, the District Attorney’s Office of Hinds County,  ACLU of Mississippi, Phelps Dunbar LLP, etc.

About the Coordinator

Program Coordinator Timothy C. Howard earned his B.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, from Millsaps College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and, among other honors, was chosen by the faculty as the most outstanding pre-medical senior.  Instead of pursuing the medical profession, Howard earned his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School and LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Before joining the Tougaloo faculty, Professor Howard clerked for Justice William L. Waller of the Mississippi Supreme Court and for Judge Henry T. Wingate of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.  Howard also served as an Assistant District Attorney and Special Assistant Attorney General where he prosecuted property crimes, as well as, murder, insurance fraud, and Medicaid fraud cases (head of Medicaid Fraud Division).  As an associate of Phelps Dunbar, Howard defended corporations against defective tires and diet pills litigation.

Howard currently serves as Lead Pastor of a local United Methodist Church in an economically depressed area of Jackson, Mississippi.

Course Descriptions

Constitutional Law I (POL 441)

This is a seminar course conducted through the use of the case method.  Students are required to make an extensive study of the United States Supreme Court decisions, particularly with respect to the powers of the three branches of government, federal-state relations, and civil liberties. Offered fall semester. CREDIT:  THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Constitutional Law II (POL 444)

This second part of a two-semester sequence in constitutional law places a major emphasis on civil rights cases, with focus on the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and the constitutional rights of the individual, including the rights of the accused.  Readings will include leading constitutional cases involving basic rights and liberties.  Offered spring semester. Prerequisite:  Constitutional Law I.  CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Legal Research (POL 438)

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the sources of law in the American system, the legal research process, and specific instruction in finding and analyzing primary and second source materials. Offered spring semester.  Co-requisite:  Legal Writing I. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Legal Writing (POL 313)

This course provides development of skills in analysis and writing in the context of writing primarily interoffice or predictive memoranda with emphasis on plain English.  Students build from every exercise applying a rule to a short set of facts to synthesizing and applying complex rules to more extensive fact patterns. As time allows, students will also be taught how to write a legal brief. Offered spring semester. Co-requisite:  Legal Research I.  CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Logic and Effective Thinking (PHI 103)

The development of sound and valid reasoning.  Includes inductive and deductive reasoning, propaganda analysis, argument analysis and evaluation, detection of fallacies and psychological factors that affect the thinking process.  Offered each semester.  CREDIT:  THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

The Legal Environment of Business (BUS 261)

Study of the functioning of the legal system as a framework for modern business.  The law of contracts, bailment and commercial paper will be considered.  CREDIT:  THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Suggested Course Sequence:

Freshperson
Spring Semester
PHI 103 Logic and Effective Thinking

Sophomore
Fall Semester
POL 441 Constitutional Law I

Spring Semester
POL 444   Constitutional Law II

Junior
Spring Semester
POL 438 Legal Research
POL 313 Legal Writing

Senior
Fall Semester
BUS 261 Legal Environment of Business