The Pre-Law Center draws on several faculty and staff who are trained in law and other academic disciplines. We have many years of experience in advising students who are interested in law-related careers. We are anxious not just to help UT-Arlington students avoid as much fear as possible, but also to strategize about how to make law study pleasant and affordable!
Dr. Brent Boyea
Dr. Brent D. Boyea is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at UT Arlington. He advises many political science majors who are focusing on pre-law. He has an M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University (2002, 2006) and a B.A. from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Boyea is a member of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies, as well as several other professional organizations. He has done research and writing recently on judicial campaigns, state supreme courts, and the United States Solicitor General. With Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers, he co-authored a book chapter on campaign finance for women political candidates. Dr. Boyea offers graduate courses, for example on state court systems, and regularly teaches the undergraduate political science survey course POLS 2312. He often is asked to give public lectures on judicial appointees.
Dr. Keith Burgess-Jackson
Dr. Keith Burgess-Jackson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at UT Arlington. He specializes in moral, social, political, and legal philosophy. Dr. Burgess-Jackson holds a BA in political science from the University of Michigan-Flint, an MA in history from Wayne State University, a JD from Wayne State University, an MA in philosophy from the University of Arizona, and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Arizona. Dr. Burgess-Jackson writes on a variety of philosophical, legal, and historical topics. Among the courses he offers that will be of interest to pre-law students are PHIL 2311 (Logic), PHIL 2312 (Ethics), and PHIL 3320 (Philosophy of Law). Dr. Burgess-Jackson has been at UT Arlington since 1989 and has been a pre-law advisor since 1992.
Ms. Karel Carpenter received her Bachelor Degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and her Master of Arts Degree in Criminology/Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at Arlington. She worked for the Public Health Department for the State of Texas under the Department of Homeland Security where she worked as a Bioterrorism Trainer and was a member of the Bioterrorism Response Team. Ms. Carpenter teaches in the Department of Criminology and and Criminal Justice and serves in the capacity of an Undergraduate Academic Advisor and Recruiter, as well as an online instructor. Ms. Carpenter recommends that pre-law students in any discipline consider taking certain Criminal Justice courses: CRCJ 2334 (Introduction to Criminal Justice); CRCJ 4301 (The Judicial System); CRCJ 3337 (Advanced Criminal procedure); and CRCJ (Comparative Criminal Justice).
Dr. Elisabeth A. Cawthon
Dr. Elisabeth Cawthon has taught at UT Arlington for 25 years. She received her graduate degrees in legal history from the University of Virginia’s joint law and history Ph.D. program. Her concentration was English constitutional and legal history (Beowulf to Virginia Woolf), with sub-fields in early modern Europe, modern England, and U.S. legal history. Her dissertation was on medico-legal history, and she continues to publish on both medical and legal topics. Her most recent book is Famous Trials in History (2011). Dr. Cawthon helped found the Pre-Law Center. She has been the history department’s undergraduate advisor and an advisor for the university Honors program. Currently she serves as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts; prior to that, she served as Associate Chair of the Department of History. She is proud of the many students that she has watched succeed in law-related workplaces.
Dr. Joseph Ignagni
Dr. Joseph Ignagni is a judicial scholar. His main areas of expertise and interest are the U.S. Supreme Court and judicial decision-making. His research has focused on civil liberties and the relationship between the Supreme Court and other branches of government. He has published numerous articles in these fields, and has presented his research nationally and internationally.
Research interests: U.S. Supreme Court; Judicial Review; Solicitor General; Establishment Clause; Free Exercise Clause; Checks and Balances; Separation of Power
Ms. M. Denise Longgrear joined the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department (CRCJ) in 2010 as an academic advisor. She previously served as an advisor in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at UT Arlington. Before moving her career to higher education, she was a certified public school teacher for thirteen years. Mrs. Longgrear holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration. Following her teaching experience, Ms. Longgrear served as an academic advisor and worked with the teacher certification program at Dallas Baptist University. In her position in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department, Ms. Longgrear advises undergraduate students, works with faculty, other advisors, and coordinates between departments on campus and with Community Colleges around the Metroplex. She participates in many recruiting activities including Information Forums, Preview Days and Orientations.
Rafia Mirza is a reference librarian who is the UTA library contact person for Pre-Law students. Rafia can assist students in searching databases, doing legal research via online resources such as Lexis-Nexis, and even accessing LSAT practice tests through the UTA Library website. Ms. Mirza pursued a PhD in American Studies in graduate school at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, in addition to earning a library science graduate degree from the University of Michigan. She is accessible via socia media (@rafiamirza13 on Twitter) as well as through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Lewis Wasserman
Dr. Lewis Wasserman is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies. He holds BA, MA, and PhD degrees from Hofstra University (all in psychology), as well as a JD from St. John's University School of Law. Prior to coming to UTA in 2010, Dr. Wasserman was an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, a civil rights lawyer in New York City, and an assistant school superintendent in Long Island, NY. Over the past six years, he has published a dozen peer-reviewed articles on issues ranging from gun control in schools to attorney/client privilege. He was named a 2014 Distinguished Research & Practice Fellow by the National Education Finance Conference.
Amber N. White, Esq.
Ms. Amber White is currently serving at the Director of the Pre-Law Center. Mrs. White joined UT Arlington in January 2015. She received her Bachelor's degree in Communications Studies from Texas Tech University before completing law school at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Previously she practiced law as a family law attorney in Dallas and Tarrant County. Ms. White is also a former government employee working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as serving as an attorney for Thompson Reuters handling mortgage backed securities and AML/fraud cases. As Director of the Pre-Law Center, Ms. White counsels and advises students on preparing to apply to law schoo, reviews personal statements and resumes, and aids in establishing a plan of action for LSAT study. Advising appointments can be made online by clicking here.
Dr. Kenneth Williford
Dr. Kenneth Williford earned his Ph.D. and an M.A. in Philosophy from University of Iowa in 2003 and 2000. He is a 1995 graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington. He serves as the Chair of UT Arlington’s Philosophy Department, where he helps to advise students who are pursuing the pre-law track within the philosophy major. Students find that philosophy is an excellent background for law study, because it emphasizes logical thinking as well as intensive reading and clear writing. Dr. Williford offers courses as part of the UTeach program at UT Arlington. He recently has published articles and book chapters, as well as a co-translation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Imagination.
The Pre-Law Center at UT Arlington
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