The top two University of Arizona student government offices are both held by BA in Law majors, and they say the degree is shaping how they govern and their future careers.
As president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, Natalynn Masters sets the student government budget, negotiates agreements between ASUA and campus departments, and coordinates with the ASUA policy director and the UA Title IX director to educate students about Title IX policies.
“The law courses I have taken have taught me how to better analyze documents,” says Masters, a law and sociology double major who has always envisioned a career path connected to law. “A lot of my position involves policy work. My law major has allowed me to understand the legal history and reasoning behind the policies we have at UA.”
ASUA executive vice president Matthew Rein is a double major in law and political science who interned in Washington, D.C. this summer in the office of Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
“I can confidently say my law classes have helped prepare me to navigate difficult decisions in student government and beyond,” says Rein, who oversaw more than $100,000 of ASUA appropriations to 80 student clubs in the fall semester.
Rein says his interest in law and passion for environmentalism drove him to explore the BA in Law program and that pursuing the major solidified his desire to attend law school.
“I always had a general interest in law school, but the law major confirmed that's what I really wanted to do,” says Rein. He says that because the BA in Law teaches core first-year law subjects, he feels he will have a head start when he enrolls in law school.
Students in the BA in Law program are instructed by University of Arizona Law faculty in key foundational areas of the law such as criminal and civil procedure, contracts and torts. Elective courses and specialized internships allow students to focus on areas of potential interest and enhance their career prospects.
“I like that the BA in Law provides undergraduate students with the ability to explore the law without having to wait until law school,” Masters says. “I have loved every minute of it.”
In addition to sharing the major, Masters and Rein also have the same favorite course: The American Common Law System I (torts and contracts) with Regents’ Professor Rob Williams.
“It's not easy to teach complicated legal concepts to undergrads, but he breaks down information in easy, digestible ways and truly makes the class enjoyable,” says Rein of Williams. “Special shout-out to (current Arizona Law LLM student) Derek Kauanoe, who is an awesome TA for that class.”
Masters adds, “Professor Williams is very engaging and makes sure we understand how the cases we cover affect us. His class is also entertaining and full of some great laughs.”
Overall, both student leaders agree that what they’re learning in the BA in Law program will travel with them far beyond campus.
“I love learning about cases that have dramatically shaped society and the power of the law,” says Masters. “These cases are often not talked about, but have changed how we live our lives. It is very empowering to see the changes that can be made using the legal system.”
“The classes I've taken have genuinely been so meaningful and rewarding,” says Rein. “Not only have my research, writing, and critical thinking skills improved, but the major has ultimately helped prepare me for the rest of my life beyond my time in college.”
About the BA in Law
Offered as a collaboration between the James E. Rogers College of Law and the School of Government and Public Policy, the BA in Law is the only degree of its kind in the country. The degree offers rigorous training for high-performing undergraduates with an interest in law and equips them for law school or employment in an increasing number of jobs that require legal training.