Chancie Ferris Booth Professor of Political Science; Pre-Law Advisor
At Knox Since: 1972
Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy
are just a few people Lane Sunderland has worked with throughout his career.
A Supreme Court Fellow for more than 20 years, Sunderland came to
Knox in 1972 and took responsibility for helping students get into law school.
Sunderland's advice to students interested in Knox's pre-law program: pick a major that you're most interested in and where you feel you can excel. Since law schools require no set curriculum for applicants, Sunderland says successful law students are well-rounded in many academic areas ranging from the humanities to social sciences -- making a liberal arts college an ideal place for pre-law students.
"The quality of academic counseling and the personal nature of instruction at Knox increase your chances of fully developing your academic potential and therefore achieving a good academic record," he says.
To help students perform well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Sunderland developed a series of study sessions to help students prepare for the test. Students find these sessions extremely helpful in raising their scores.
"Knox students applying to law school do very well, including admission to a number of 'top ten' law schools," he says. Some of the law schools where Knox students are currently enrolled: Harvard, Georgetown, University of Chicago, Boston University, Washington University, Temple, William & Mary, Syracuse, DePaul, Chicago-Kent, Iowa, Illinois (two on full rides), St. Louis University, and Texas.
By keeping a careful eye on students' progress and the classes they've taken, Sunderland says he is eager to help his students design a curriculum that achieves both the goals of a liberal arts education and their individual interest in law -- whether it's in patent, public interest, business, or other areas of the law.
Outside the classroom, Sunderland is currently studying Associate Justice Stephen Breyer's constitutional jurisprudence and has published two books and many articles that focus on issues such as constitutional interpretation, First Amendment church and state issues, and the rule of law in the 21st century.
He also worked with Former Chief Justice Warren Burger to establish the James Madison Memorial Fellowship, which provides financial assistance to students who plan to become teachers of the American Constitution.
"The two most important things that define an excellent teacher are a deep commitment to students and love of the subject matter," Sunderland says.