April 23, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Happy Beginnings | Sams Heading to University of Oxford This Summer to Study Law

Sara Sams, portrait in graduation gown

Sara Sams

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

Sara Sams ’17 attends Ohio State University Moritz College of Law as a first-year law student. She is a member of the Women’s Legal Society and is a Moritz Ambassador.

This summer she is studying abroad at University of Oxford, where she will study the American and British legal systems as part of The University of Oxford-The Ohio State University Summer Law Program, one of the oldest existing overseas legal programs.

Sams graduated from Ohio University in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the College of Arts & Sciences. During her time at Ohio University, Sams was an active member of Delta Gamma Fraternity, a swim team athlete, and a founding member of the Ohio University Mock Trial Program.

What was your major?

I majored in Political Science, with a minor in French and participated in the War and Peace Studies courses offered through the Political Science Department.

What is your hometown?

I grew up in Pickerington, Ohio, which is a small suburb of Columbus.

Why did you choose to attend Ohio University?

I originally attended Ohio University to be a member of the Women’s Swimming and Diving team. I was recruited to come to Ohio University for a visit and fell in love with the beauty and community of Ohio University. Ohio University offered me the amenities of a large university, with the small-town feeling of being in Athens, Ohio. I was also able to participate on varsity athletics, which was a big draw for me coming out of high school.

What made you decide to major in the liberal arts?

I have always loved politics and critical analysis. Coming from high school, I knew a career in math or science wasn’t for me. However, I did not expect to enjoy pursuing a liberal arts degree as much as I did. I believe it is so important for students to critically think and analyze during their formative years in college, and my political science degree allowed me to do that. I also knew I wanted to attend law school, and political science is a “traditional law school” degree (although I could have majored in anything!).

What were your best Ohio University experiences?

My best experiences from Ohio University were the student organizations I was a part of. I made my best friends through the swim team, Delta Gamma, mock trial, and my job at Baker University Center. The relationships I built at Ohio University are professional contacts that I am still in contact with today. They shaped my Ohio University experience and made it really extraordinary.

How did you become interested in pursuing law?

I always had an idea in my mind of attending law school, which was only confirmed throughout my classes at Ohio University. The law is so fundamental to our functioning society, and I love the idea of making a difference in the community through legal action.

What has kept you busy since graduating from Ohio University?

I am currently in my first year of law school at the Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law. This summer, I will be doing research for one of my professors and will be studying abroad at Oxford University with the law school.

How did your Ohio University experience prepare you for law school and shape your career path?

Ohio University prepared me for law school by offering a rigorous academic course load with a variety of programs and clubs that allowed me to figure out my interests. I don’t know what my career path will be, but I know I will be prepared because of Ohio University. Further, the Bobcat Alumni network is second to none, and its amazing to meet up with fellow Bobcat Alums in the legal profession. (There are a lot!)

What do you think were the most important things you did as an undergrad to prepare you for law school?

Mock trial definitely directly prepared me the most for law school. However, the Political Science Department did a wonderful job teaching my analytical and critical thinking skills, and I constantly had professors who pushed my academic limits to make me a better student. I think the most important thing is to find something you are passionate about for four years because when you get to law school it’s a set schedule for your first year with no choice. I think it was important as well to be a well-rounded student and learn time management skills, because law school is all about time management and delegating your important assignments.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

I would tell students to take classes that interest them and not just strictly take classes that directly relate to law (although I would always tell students to take Dr. Ross’s International Law class!). When you get to law school, there is no choice and the concepts are really difficult. Directly relating to law school, I think getting involved in student organizations that relate to law, government, leadership (mock trial, PAD, student government, Student Alumni Board) and try to get a leadership position. Learning to work with others and communicate effectively are vital for law school. Finally, take as many classes that require papers as you can. Law school is all about effective and concise communication, both oral and written, and the only way to hone those skills is to practice them.

What are your future plans?

I want to work at a firm in Columbus and eventually move into Ohio politics. I am hoping to start my career in litigation and eventually transition to administrative law or politics.

What is your favorite Ohio University memory?

My favorite memory from Ohio University is living with my four best friends my senior year. My friends turned into family at Ohio University and I still talk to them almost every day. My experience would not have been the same without my friends and I cherish all my memories from Athens with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *