Michael Killingsworth

Pre-Law Student Thinks Outside the Box

Michael Killingsworth

Michael Killingsworth is a senior sociology, political science, and psychology triple major with law-school aspirations from Lincoln, Nebraska. Michael has been interested in becoming a lawyer for as long as he can remember, but his interest in sociology and psychology did not emerge until his senior year of high school.

During his senior of high school, Michael took classes in both sociology and psychology, and developed an interest in the fields after learning about theorists such as Karl Marx and George Herbert Mead. Michael also began to realize how sociology and psychology can be relevant in the legal field.

“Sociology can really help you understand the law as well the reasons why laws are created,” Michael said. “Sociology also helps you understand how laws affect different groups in society.”

Michael has had positive experiences with all his teachers in the Sociology Department and also believes his current majors will provide him with an advantage over other applicants when he applies to law school. While many prospective law students major in fields such as business, economics, or mathematics, these areas of study often only provide individuals with deductive reasoning skills, Michael said.

“Those kinds of deductive reasoning skills are useful to lawyers, but psychology and sociology allow you to think outside the box,” Michael said. “Economics and mathematics usually give you one answer, but with psychology or sociology, you start to realize there are many correct solutions in any legal situation.”

Michael has also been involved in research studies with both the Sociology and Psychology departments at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. One of these studies, led by Associate Professor Lisa Kort-Butler, analyzed how academics, textbook publishers, and criminology experts have portrayed violence in media over the years, as well as what forms of media (such as newspapers, comic books, or video games) have been criticized for containing violent material.

Though Michael arrived at UNL with a clear idea of what he wanted to study, he understands that some new students may not know where their interests or passions lie. He encourages all prospective UNL students to pursue an area of study which interests them.

After he graduates in 2015, Michael plans on attending law school outside of Nebraska. However, Michael believes the University of Nebraska College Of Law will always be an option for him if his out-of-state plans do not work out.

Story by Lane Chasek

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