“Your major and your other electives really won’t make much difference to the law school application process. There’s no script you have to follow. Some sense of business and basic awareness of the U.S. government are useful, but law schools aren’t looking for anything like a stereotypical pre-law student. They’re looking for good students and interesting people. In fact, if you look a little different from most applicants, that’s a good thing. You should design your curriculum and choose a major as you think is best for you; you should get involved with on-campus and off-campus activities that mean something to you.”
A first generation college graduate from the Appalachian coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Dr. Steiner understands the power of this advice.
After receiving a B.A. in English from Lafayette College, he worked as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers before eventually taking a chance and doing a semester of graduate work at the New School for Social Research in New York City. From there he went on to an M.A. program in Political Science at the University of Delaware.
After getting his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Steiner spent a few years as a political science professor and felt called to continue his learning. So while teaching at Chapman, he earned a law degree at the University of Southern California Law School.
“Don’t follow anyone else’s path; don’t try to live anybody else’s dream.”
He left Chapman to spend several years working with Sidley Austin, a major international law firm, and worked with high-profile, principal clients like AT&T. He also worked on years-long lawsuit concerning forced labor claims arising out of Japanese prison camps during World War II. In addition, he served in 1999 and 2000 as Deputy Counsel on the California Governor’s Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Hate Groups.
After returning to Chapman in August 2002, Dr. Steiner began teaching and supervising the Master of Laws (LL.M.) program at Fowler School of Law. His teaching has ranged from law and political sciences to undergraduate courses in the Honors and First-Year Foundations programs. At Fowler, his principal courses have been Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Legislation, Private Law as Public Policy, Criminal Law in the Political Process, and Introduction to U.S. Law (for international LL.M students). This has connected him with foreign lawyers interested in comparative law and has allowed him to travel extensively to meet with legal experts and academics in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Nepal, and South Korea.
Next year, he moves back to Wilkinson College full-time, and pre-law students seeking advice will get the benefit of insights drawn from a long and varied career.