Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Pre-law advising to be run by deans Dunleavy and Simmons

At the end of this semester, Executive Associate Dean of the College Perry Ashley will step down as the head of the University's Pre-Law Office and be replaced by Linda Dunleavy and Andrew Simmons, both associate deans of the College. Together, Simmons and Dunleavy will be responsible for pre-med, pre-law and fellowship advising.

The Pre-Law Office "helps students decide whether to attend law school, when to attend and how best to complete the application process," according to its Web site.

The change comes as part of restructuring the dean of the College's office, which will group similar responsibilities together under the same dean, Dunleavy said.

"One possible cluster is the post-baccalaureate cluster within the dean of the College office, including pre-law advising, pre-med advising and fellowship advising," she said. "Dean Simmons and I will be the primary professional staff in that cluster."

Simmons and Dunleavy both declined to comment on the reason for Ashley's departure. On Feb. 14 The Herald reported that Ashley was forced out amid the office's restructuring, but Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron told The Herald he was not fired. Ashley could not be reached for comment for this article.

While neither dean has much experience advising pre-law students, both have been advisers for other post-baccalaureate programs - Simmons is the adviser for pre-med students, and Dunleavy is the adviser for fellowships. This experience will help them in advising pre-law students, Simmons said.

"There are a lot of similarities between all three processes: fellowships, pre-med and pre-law," Simmons said. "I've already started to educate myself about that, and Dean Dunleavy has as well."

Dunleavy said she will also draw on her previous experience. "Through fellowship advising, I've certainly advised and gotten to know many students interested in law school, and I've had conversations with them about applying to law school," Dunleavy said. "I also advised for the Truman Fellowship, which seems to be a fellowship that a lot (of) people who are interested in law school apply for. So we do have some experience."

The two said they have also relied on Ashley's past experience to guide them in the transition and are trying to connect these past experiences to pre-law advising. "In talking with Dean Ashley and other people who have more direct experience than us, it's been clear that a lot of the issues that students in law school face (they) share with others, which happens with medical schools and fellowships," Dunleavy said.

"Our target is to really be ready to advise students by the end of June, and I think we're well underway," Simmons said. "We've been talking with (Ashley) ... we've had several meetings together. He's a very approachable, an easy guy to talk to."

Simmons and Dunleavy said they hope to work with the on-campus Brown Pre-Law Society, founded in 2004. The group prepares students considering law schools after graduation - according to its Web site, "through lectures, panel discussions and various other activities, we investigate the full implications of attending law school, as well as the many possibilities thereafter." The society co-hosted an "Advancing Social Justice through the Law" summit this past weekend, inviting Brown graduates to speak about their work in "social justice and public interest law."

Christopher Keys '08, president of the society, has worked with Ashley in the past.

"Dean Ashley has always been a great resource, but in day-to-day functioning, we operate independently," Keys said. "It's hard to see Dean Ashley go, and we will miss him, but we look forward to working with these new deans. It's going to take a bit of adjusting, and there may be issues with coordination, but we're going to meet together to see which direction our group is going."

Both Dunleavy and Simmons said they hope they will be able to learn about each of the three areas they will be advising. "We're not going to assume that we're going to be experts in all three areas, but the idea is that we can provide support for each other in different areas and that we will hopefully become good advisers for pre-law," Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy hopes she and Simmons will also improve the existing advising programs in all three areas.

But both agreed the Brown curriculum is the best way for students to prepare for most post-graduation plans.

"This is not different from what I tell pre-meds - even though pre-meds have all these courses they have to take, it would be a mistake for a Brown student to simply come here and be simply pre-med and pre-law," Simmons said.

Dunleavy agrees. "I think that pre-law and pre-med fits in with the Brown curriculum, which is to encourage students to follow their passions ... and explore broadly."



Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.