Law is a critical element in the human experience, from Hammurabi’s Code in Ancient Mesopotamia to contemporary debates about law and order or the Constitution, it has been a significant part of the American story. This major equips students to understand how law has functioned in a variety of historical settings and empowers them for citizenship and their future careers.
The Law and History major is outstanding preparation for students considering a career in law. The Department of History has a long tradition of preparing students for their futures after Samford, and it has successfully placed graduates in some of the most prestigious law schools in the country. As a nationally known Alabama lawyer once observed, “History is the best preparation for law school.” We agree. Law and History provide first-rate training for a career in law by preparing individuals with the research, communication, and logical skills necessary to serve as advocates in our judicial system.
Law and History majors are intellectually curious and engage in meaningful interactions with faculty and peers. Motivated and detail-oriented students find their skills sharpened in this program. Our students thrive in a hands-on, problem-solving environment where they become detectives in pursuit of sources and answers.
“My time as a history major at Samford University was enriching and invaluable. ”
“My professors taught me to think critically, master the art of storytelling, learn the importance of writing in plain English, and the need to be scrupulous in researching a subject—all skills that are crucial for lawyers and judges. To put it plainly, I would not be where I am today without the exemplary education that I received from the Howard College of Arts and Sciences Department of History.”
— Chief Judge Stephen Louis A. Dillard, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Class of ‘92
The Department of History is home to a vibrant and dynamic community of teachers and scholars. Through our productive scholarship, hands-on teaching, and guided mentoring, we work closely with students to help them achieve personal, academic, and career goals. Our faculty goes beyond research and presentations to teach with a passion that demonstrates our faith in Christ and serves the greater community.
History is a natural major for anyone interested in the legal profession. To use the law intelligently and creatively, a good lawyer must not only know what the law is but where it came from and why it exists. Lawyers who understand the historical context of developments in the legal system thus have a real advantage.
Law and History students at Samford focus on knowledge-based courses in legal history and receive valuable work experience through a legal studies internship.
Our Law and History graduates move on to be attorneys, judges, politicians, business executives, and other law-related professions.
The Legal Studies Internship is a cooperative effort between the Department of History and a public or private law-related office. The purpose of the internship is to give students the opportunity to apply their education to real-work experiences. Our students have interned at several of the most prestigious law firms in the country, at in-house law departments at various business and non-profit organizations, and with local, state, and federal judges.
With law schools requiring students to have excellent research, writing and critical analysis skills, Law and History majors will learn from some of the top published scholars in the historical fields of law, constitutional, Revolutionary, civil war, civil rights, American, British, Middle Eastern, Asian, Latin American, Russian, and other fields.
Samford’s history professors have won numerous research awards from historical societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. They are also outstanding authors; Jonathan Bass received a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize for Blessed are the Peacemakers (2001).
Our alumni are serving in various fields of endeavor, particularly as lawyers and judges.
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