Making a case for Bradley

By Nancy Ridgeway
March 13, 2012

Elizabeth Siegel ’10 says her Bradley education as a music and English major prepared her well for the next step in her life: law school.

The combination of her double majors, academic advisement from her professors and the assistance of the Pre-Law Center made Bradley a perfect springboard for the demanding world of law school. Now a second year student at the University of Wyoming College of Law, Siegel says the analytical skills she gained as a music major and the reading and writing skills required as an English major have helped her to succeed.

“I always saw law school as an option,” Siegel says, noting her father Richard Siegel, now a circuit court judge in Will County, was a lawyer when she was growing up. However, she chose to pursue her interests in violin and in reading and writing as an undergrad.

When she was a junior at Bradley, her English professor, Dr. Rob Prescott, assigned an essay in which students were to discuss their goals after graduation. Siegel wrote about contemplating law school, and after Prescott read Siegel’s essay, he encouraged her to visit Bradley’s recently opened Pre-Law Center. There, she received advisement about law schools, applications and preparing for the LSAT exams.

Nicole Meyer, director of Bradley’s Pre-Law Center, explains her role. “I advise students from all backgrounds and all majors. I emphasize that no particular major is consistently better than another for purposes of preparing students for law school. I do encourage students to take specific classes for law school preparation and to major in a field of study that interests them and in which they can succeed.”

Siegel decided to apply to Wyoming because she was interested in living in a mountainous area. She was accepted at several law schools but ultimately chose Wyoming because it has a good law school, offered her a scholarship making it more economical, and welcomed her to play in the university orchestra. While Siegel has not yet had time to play in the orchestra, she hopes to do so during her third year in law school.

Reflecting on her Bradley career, Siegel says her English background has been invaluable as she reads cases, writes briefs and does appellate arguments. She also points to studies that have been done on the benefits of studying music and says it helps people’s brains be successful at analytical work, another key factor in law school success.

 “I realize a lot of law school students major in political science for their bachelor’s degrees, but my education is completely in tune with being in law school,” Siegel says. “I have a skill set that allows me to do whatever I want to do.”

Siegel says juggling the demands of these two majors helped her learn to manage her time as she organized a workload that involved a lot of reading, writing, private violin lessons and practices for ensemble and orchestra.

Besides gaining time management skills, Siegel also learned to turn to music as a stress reliever. “Music is an escape. It helps me get my mind off things and use my brain in a different way. When I get the time, I play the violin. I wish I had more opportunities to play, and next year, I hope to join the university’s orchestra.”

As Siegel looks toward her final year of law school, she is considering the area of law she would like to pursue. She is interested in estate planning but also has many other interests. Over her spring break the week of March 12, Siegel and one of her classmates will travel to Cape Town, South Africa, where each will work on assisting a day care center with their legal issues. The trip is part of an international human rights law practicum in which she has reviewed law journal articles and met with a professor to prepare for the case.

As she looks toward the future, Siegel is confident she made the right choice in Bradley for her bachelor’s degree. “I love the music department, and I don’t think they can get enough recognition. And, I had a great experience with the professors in the English department. I feel prepared for anything I choose to do.”