By Madalyn Watson | Reporter
Benjamin Cooper, Baylor Pre-Law Society program manager, created the Baylor pre-law podcast “Bears, the Bar and Beyond” when he noticed students’ busy schedules made it difficult to attend pre-law events on top of classes and extracurricular activities.
Cooper released the first episode of the podcast series on Sept. 6, intending to provide information for pre-law students and students considering the pre-law program.
“One of the things we also emphasize is for students to get a realistic understanding and expectation of what being a lawyer is like, so the hope is that through the podcast and through exposing people to lawyers in different parts of the profession, that they can get that sense of what it’s going to be like,” Cooper said.
McAllen sophomore Hannah Orendain, public relations chair, explained the benefits of the pre-law society, like meeting with law school admissions and professionals with experience.
“I wanted to grow my network. I wanted to connect with more students who are pre-law because I am very goal-based. I wanted to surround myself with people that are like minded and that are all aiming towards the same thing,” Orendain said. “It hosts different law schools, and it’s not just Texas law schools either — it’s like law schools from all around the nation. [When law schools visit], they talk to the organization as a whole and then afterwards they’re willing to stay and talk to the students individually if they have other questions.”
Cooper explained that a podcast was a good format to convey information to students with busy schedules because they could listen to it while going for a run, driving, cleaning, etc.
“The main purpose, apart from making information more accessible, was to encourage students to start doing informational interviews themselves,” Cooper said. “It allows them to get really helpful information so they can start to formulate a sense of whether law school is right for them, but it allows them to develop the kind of soft skills that are going to be very useful to them.”
Cooper requires students to listen to one of the first two episodes of the podcast before meeting with him for an advising appointment. The first episode is geared toward freshmen and sophomores and the second episode is aimed to reach juniors and seniors, both about undergraduate planning.
“The idea is that when I meet with a student, I want that time to be as productive for them as possible,” Cooper said. “The idea of having them listen to the relevant podcast episode before they come and meet with me is that we can then use that time to talk about them individually and we can come up with a plan that’s specific to their circumstances, and everyone’s circumstances are different.”
The following episodes are interviews with individuals like judicial clerks, representatives from law schools and others with law experience that students can learn from. Students can email email@example.com to suggest individuals or ask questions they would like to be answered in the podcast.
The Woodlands senior Collin Bryant, president of the pre-law society, will be featured in a future episode and speak about the ways the pre-law society can help prepare students planning on attending or who are considering attending law school.
“Personally, I think it’ll give an on-the-fly opportunity where any person that can’t show up to events if they really are trying and they really are interested,” Bryant said. “The pre-law department, holistically, has done some really great things. Ben Cooper has been really fantastic. I think that it will help students who are very interested in learning more and getting more help, but that aren’t in a position to.”
“We’re excited and we’re looking forward to the future. We want to continue to grow and continue to receive feedback from everyone that’s a part, so that we can make it better. This whole thing isn’t just one person, it’s everybody coming together. And that’s the purpose, — the purpose is to bring all disciplines together with this one common interest and to grow on our knowledge holistically on everything that we can do [before] graduate school,” Bryant said.
New episodes of “Bears, the Bar and Beyond” will be available on iTunes as well as the pre-law website every one to two weeks.
“If you are not quite sure whether pre-law is for you, it’s a great place to get a sense of what being a lawyer is like and they can listen to those first two episodes for some very generalized information on what they need to be thinking about,” Cooper said.