Legal Studies

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Legal Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh

Photo of students in a classroom lectureThe legal studies program at SUNY Plattsburgh is an interdisciplinary minor designed to complement any undergraduate field of study. Our program’s focus is twofold. First, it benefits students considering a career in a variety of legal positions. Second, from a civics perspective, it is indispensable to those who wish to better understand how their community functions every day.

Our program serves pre-law students as well as others with intellectual or practical interest in law and is based on the idea that every student on campus will gain practical benefits from the study of the law and legal institutions which suffuse our society:

 
  • For the general student, practical working knowledge of major facets of U.S. law and legal process — so as to take full advantage of legal benefits while avoiding legal pitfalls;
  • For the pre-law student, knowledge of major facets of the U.S. legal profession and the skill sets necessary for professional employment in law and law related fields. The legal studies minor provides a well rounded variety of courses that offers the costs and benefits of different professional choices and trainings, from paralegal to trial lawyer, and from government or corporate attorney to notary public;
  • For the intellectually curious, knowledge of law as an academic/philosophical discipline — the study of law as a major, ubiquitous, social/historical phenomenon for its own sake;
  • For all students, development of rudimentary skills in reading, writing and reasoning.

The required prerequisite for the legal studies minor is Introduction to Legal Studies (INT 190). Topics covered include duties and responsibilities of attorneys and paralegals, civil and criminal litigation, the court system and alternative dispute resolution, and legal writing and critical thinking.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about legal studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact any of the program's co-coordinators:

Dr. James Coffey, Professor (Accounting)
Office: Redcay Hall 206
Phone: (518) 564-4213
Email: james.coffey@plattsburgh.edu

Dr. Jon Gottschall, Professor (Political Science)
Office: Hawkins Hall 149E
Phone: (518) 564-5830
Email: gottscjs@plattsburgh.edu

Dr. Wm. Peters, Associate Professor (Criminal Justice)
Office: Redcay Hall 233
Phone: (518) 564-3343
Email: wpete002@plattsburgh.edu