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Law

English majors choose legal careers more than any other path. Of those who pursue graduate education, at least one-third attend law school. The skills listed as most important by the American Bar Association are the very ones you will develop by majoring in English. More information is available here.


Kortni Hadley"The real strength of the English department at BSC comes from the interdisciplinary nature of the college itself, which is reflected in the English curriculum."

"I credit my time at Birmingham-Southern both with developing my analytical reading and writing skills and with giving me exposure to a broad range of perspectives and ideas."

Kortni Hadley, Class of 2012
New York University School of Law (class of 2015)

I went directly from Birmingham-Southern to New York University School of Law, where I am currently a 2L in the AnBryce Program, which is a scholarship program for first-generation law school students. I credit my time at Birmingham-Southern both with developing my analytical reading and writing skills and with giving me exposure to a broad range of perspectives and ideas, both of which I have found essential in law school generally and in my pursuit of a career in legislative policy specifically.

I feel that the real strength of the English department at BSC comes from the interdisciplinary nature of the college itself, which is reflected in the English curriculum. English students are not just taught how to read and write, but we are taught to consider broader social, historical, and cultural contexts both within the literature itself and in the situations that produced it. In classes I found myself considering the experiences of Native Americans in the United States with Dr. Sprayberry; exploring the field of performance theory for the first time with Dr. Klein; and writing my senior thesis, under the supervision of Dr. McInturff, about how cultural changes over time have led to different performances and interpretations of Hamlet.

Outside of the classroom, the faculty was always available to help me further develop ideas that had caught my interest during class. Dr. Tatter was kind enough to be the faculty sponsor for my honors project on English landscape gardens, a topic I became interested in when taking his class Literature and Arts. Dr. Ashe, who was my faculty advisor, was instrumental in helping me hone my writing skills. He was always available, along with Dr. Hagen and other members of the English faculty, to discuss my goals both in English and for my future as they evolved and sometimes shot off in entirely new directions.

The skills I learned at BSC have transferred into my legal career in important ways. During my 1L summer I had the opportunity to work at the New York Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Project at Fordham Law School's Feerick Center for Social Justice. I was able to put the skills I learned at BSC to good use in legal research and writing and in drafting language for a conceptual type of task force for a model statute, and when the summer ended I was invited to continue working for the Project during the school year. Since then I have been working closely with the Project's director and a group of other legal experts to draft a report for the family court judges of New York, and I have been given independent assignments to research and write legal memoranda on a variety of subjects, including health care access and labor and employment issues for immigrant children. I was also selected by way of a writing competition to be a staff editor on the NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy.

Birmingham-Southern was my first stop in a hopefully successful career, and I feel like my experiences there have been invaluable to my success at NYU and beyond. The English department and its faculty truly care about teaching students how to think instead of what to think. My experience at BSC challenged what I thought I knew about literature and about myself as a student, and that process has led me to where I am now and has also given me the tools to be successful here.


Scitt Shelton"Being comfortable with uncertainty, a key part of my English education, serves me well in a field that is more often fluid and nebulous than black and white."

Scott Shelton, Class of 2010
Northwestern University School of Law

Scott Shelton is a second-year law student at Northwestern University School of Law where he is a staff member for the Northwestern Law Review, an Academic and Professional Excellence Advisor for incoming law students, and the Secretary of Operations for the American Constitution Society. He will spend next summer as a summer associate at Covington & Burling, LLP in Washington DC. After law school graduation, he hopes to serve as a federal judicial law clerk before returning to private practice.

My courses at BSC helped me develop a keen eye for detail, an interest in the interpretation of language, and strong analytic writing skills all of which have served me well so far. I believe that the training I received as an English major makes it much easier to approach and analyze the complex judicial and statutory language that can make much of law school so daunting. Reading an opinion by Justice Holmes is a breeze after spending an entire semester wrestling with Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English.

I credit the professors at BSC for instilling in me a deep comfort with uncertainty. A comfort that is important to my legal education not only because the law is often more fluid and nebulous than it is black and white, but also because uncertainty creates room for empathy, and empathy is essential to being a legal advocate.

During my time at Birmingham Southern, I was a member of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta. I also had the chance to serve as a teaching assistant for Dr. Cowan's Survey of American Literature course. I am very thankful for all of the opportunities, guidance, and training I received as an English major at BSC, and believe that my experience has provided me with an excellent context and a fantastic skill set for pursuing a legal career.


Saucier"The team at BSC gave me the tools to stretch, grow and design a wonderful life – living outside of the box and even creating some new boxes along the way."

Ryanne Saucier, Class of 2002
Mississippi Public Broadcasting
Deputy Exec. Director for Contracts and Support Services

In 2011, Ryanne was published by the American Bar Association in a book titled Entertainment Law for the General Practitioner on the topics of film and music licensing, making her one of the youngest attorneys published by the American Bar Association on the topic of entertainment law. A cum laude graduate from Mississippi College School of Law, she was selected by professors at Mississippi College School of Law as the Most Valuable Entertainment Person of the Year. Ryanne received the American Jurisprudence Award for the class focusing on the law surrounding Trademarks and Unfair Competition. In addition, she is an associate member of The National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences – Memphis Chapter, the group who gives out the GRAMMY© awards.

Out of the box. Even as I type it, I know my former English professors at Birmingham-Southern College are cringing at my choice of such an overused cliché phrase, but I just cannot help it. It is true and how I describe my experience at Birmingham-Southern, especially with the English department.

The skills I learned were vital to my becoming an intellectual property/entertainment attorney. As a self-diagnosed Type A personality, I struggle with being out of the box. I find comfort in rules and the parameters the box gives me. Now, that's not to say that I won't decorate the inside of the box, strategically hanging some great paintings and throwing a decorative couch in the corner, but for the most part I thrive in procedure, rules and structure. My love of rules led me to law school after graduating from BSC and a rewarding career in the entertainment industry.

My career has varied outside of the normal "legal box," working in areas of artist management, radio programming, concert planning, artist promotion and film production. I currently serve as the Deputy Executive Director over Contracts and Support Services for the PBS and NPR affiliate at Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB), which serves the entire state of Mississippi.

My day-to-day activities include overseeing the intellectual property rights, drafting all licensing and contracts entered into and making sure the agency complies with federal regulations with the Federal Communications Commission. Prior to joining MPB, I practiced entertainment law working with musicians, writers, filmmakers, and broadcasters in the areas of music licensing, music publishing as well as copyright, trademark and media law.

I also regularly get the opportunity to lecture to different groups, sharing my love and knowledge on the topics of intellectual property related to the entertainment industry. The team at BSC gave me the tools to stretch, grow and design a wonderful life – living outside of the box and even creating some new boxes along the way.


Anil Mujumdar

 

Anil Mujumdar, Class of 1997
Special Counsel for Adams and Reese, LLC

One of many English majors to be active in student government, Anil served as Birmingham-Southern's SGA president and as as a Student Senator at the University of Alabama during his graduate studies. He later joined the board of the ACLU of Alabama and has served as its president since 2006. Anil continues to show his devotion to BSC through the alumni association and by serving on the college's Norton Board of Advisors.

More recently, Anil was recognized in the 2012 "Alabama Super Lawyers listing. The Birmingham Business Journal chose Anil as one of Birmingham's "Top 40 Under 40" for 2013. When asked about the best advice he had ever received, he told the Journal, "An experienced and accomplished lawyer I formerly worked with once told me, 'It is important to understand people.'"