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Student Profile


Sarah Shannahan

Class of 2006

LSU Law Student

Background: A psychology major at LSU; author of a national contest-winning paper in health care law.

Why Law School: Every since I was very little, I wanted to be a lawyer. The logic of it all appealed to me. My dad is a mathematician - a genius. I excelled in math and science, and I love to write. Law seemed to combine the logic games I did when I was little with figuring out how to help people get equality. I could see how I could find reasonable doubt, how I could convince a jury.

Why LSU: I was going to go to the University of California Santa Barbara for college, and my older sister was at LSU. I came up one day for a football game, and I was sold. I loved the people. I loved the campus. And I stayed for law school. If you're coming from out of state, you may not think of LSU as being a great law school - I know I didn't before - but with the joint degrees it's the only place in the world you're learning both civil and common law. That's so appealing.

Her Winning Entry: I wrote a paper for a bioethics class about reproductive rights for women, and how informed consent laws are inconsistent with current abortion regulations. I feel passionate about this subject; I'm obsessed with equality. A couple of my professors encouraged me to enter it in the American College of Legal Medicine annual writing contest. Surprisingly, it won first place. I got $1,000 and the paper was published in the group's annual report. They flew me out to San Diego and I presented the paper at their annual conference to a room filled with doctors and lawyers. It was scary but a great experience.

Biggest Surprise: At LSU law, you're part of an all-star team. Everyone is that smart. Everyone makes great grades. It's humbling to be surrounded by smart people when you're used to being one of the best. Suddenly you're competing with everybody. Dedication and motivation are so important, because your brain only gets you so far.

For Fun: It's really great because on LSU's campus, the football games are still such a big deal. We look forward to that just as much - maybe more so - than we did as undergrads. Everybody gets out to have a great time and doesn't worry about school. At LSU, you get the benefits of having one of the best law schools and access to all the fun that you had in undergrad school too.

Next Steps: I hope to get a job in New Orleans. I really like the firm I'm working for this summer, and I love the city. There are also lots of other places around the country I love. LSU is the only school where you get degrees in civil law and common law. At Tulane and Loyola, you have to choose. The two degrees expand our abilities. If I did want to go out of state, I'd have knowledge of common law. Plus, for any firm who does any sort of international law or represents corporations doing business in civil law jurisdictions, we can offer something that other people can't.