From App State to Law School: Maggie Buchanan and Sociology

Many sociology majors choose our "Criminology, Deviance, and Law" concentration to pursue careers in the criminal justice system. Maggie Buchanan knew that she wanted to pursue law and found that sociology met her curiosities and educational needs. See what Maggie has to say about sociology and how it has helped her during her first year at Charleston School of Law.

Having completed my first year of law school, I spent the following summer working for both the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense Capital Trial Division and the first circuit Public Defender’s office. Each of these offices provide legal counsel to individuals who are unable to afford an attorney, however the capital trial division is only appointed to cases in which, if convicted, the defendant will face the death penalty.

I entered Appalachian State University certain that I wanted to pursue a legal education following my undergraduate studies. I compared several majors; political science, history, criminal justice, and ultimately sociology. All majors offered some areas of study which I felt could contribute to my future in the law, yet I determined that sociology was by far the most comprehensive. The sociology department offered several concentrations within the BS and BA programs. I settled on Criminology, Deviance, and Law because this concentration would expose me not only to valuable sociology courses but to courses in five other departments. I gained world class writing, research, and communication skills that quickly translated into my legal education. I also gained an in-depth understanding of the socioeconomic world that made me particularly marketable to each of my job placements this summer.

For those interested in a career in our justice system (police, attorney, corrections officer, etc.) I strongly recommend a sociological education. I plan to earn my law degree over the next two years and to continue my work with indigent defendants. My hope is to become a public defender after graduating and to use my sociological knowledge and legal education to uphold the United States Constitution and ensure justice for all people regardless of class, race, religion, or gender.

If Maggie's story sparks some interest for you in sociology, then please contact Dr. Cameron Lippard, Director of Undergraduate Studies, for more information (828-262-6396) or 

Maggie Buchanan
Published: Aug 4, 2015 5:26pm