Legal Studies EnrichedGAMBIER, Ohio (July 10, 2007) An inside-out look at the legal system and its fairness will help Neil Johnston '08 make an argument for law school.
Johnston of Delaware is a student pioneer in the John W. Adams Summer Legal Studies Scholars Program. The program debuted this year with awards of $3,000 and on-campus, summer housing for four students who work with Kenyon professors on socio-legal studies research projects.
"I'm looking at how different social-economic classes interact with the legal system,"
So Johnston is working in the realm of civil litigation, interviewing bailiffs, clerks, defendants, judges, lawyers, and plaintiffs at the Franklin County Common Pleas, Franklin County Municipal, Knox County Common Pleas and Mount Vernon Municipal courts.
He is working this summer with Allison Hurst, visiting assistant professor of sociology and legal studies. The interview-based study may lead to a publishable paper,
Johnston believes his project will boost his appeal to law schools. Kenyon graduates have a tradition of success in that endeavor; 99 percent of graduates who apply to law schools have been accepted.
The benefit to students is echoed by a benefit to the College, said Christopher Yeomans, assistant professor of philosophy. The summer research projects are part of a general effort to enhance the legal studies program, he said. The legal studies program at Kenyon is an interdisciplinary program offering courses that can supplement a traditional major.
The summer research projects help students see legal studies "as a coherent whole, a track for their interests and ambitions," Yeomans said. "It affects students all the way through their time at Kenyon, knowing this sort of thing is possible."
Yeomans is working with Jeffrey Force '08 of
Alex Rinehart '08 of
Molly Schlemmer '08 of Ohio is working with Jennifer Johnson, assistant professor of sociology, on Internet vigilantism. Schlemmer is examining Perverted Justice, an Oregon-based, anti-pedophile Web outfit that collaborates with Dateline NBC on online, pedophile sting operations.
Students will submit project reports to Associate Provost Ric Sheffield in January.