Jurisprudence Learning Community

Whether you plan on pursuing law school following graduation or are interested in learning how the law pertains to a career in public administration, policy, or politics, this community is for you!

Jurisprudence Faculty Director Ally Coll, right, with Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky

Jurisprudence Faculty Director Ally Coll, right, with Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky

Position Yourself Now for Your Future Career

  • Earn course credit (three credits in the fall semester, one credit in the spring semester)
  • Attend field trips in and around the D.C. area
  • Meet and network with leaders throughout the legal profession
  • Pursue opportunities for leadership development
  • Benefit from law school admissions guidance and resources 
  • Learn alongside students with similar interests and career goals
  • Participate in career workshops and study groups with guidance from legal studies faculty and staff

This community is open to any interested sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

The Jurisprudence Learning Community gave me amazing insight on what law school admissions and what a career in law realistically looks like. I’ve met with Supreme Court Law Clerks, white house officials, and Solicitor Generals alike with the thanks of my professor.


The JPLC was the perfect balance of career focused students and a fun community. I have never met so many like-minded people committed to their future and wish I could continue the program beyond its two-semester length.


Jena Musmar, JPLC '23

Jena Musmar
Jurisprudence - Fall 2022 dinner

Jurisprudence LC student Miranda Céspedes with Justin Dews, Associate Counsel to the President

A Supportive Enviroment

The Jurisprudence Learning Community will help you connect with social and academic programs designed to help students with an interest in law, such as the Black Justice Association, Patriot Pre-Law Program, and career services.

You'll also be encouraged to identify organizations and activities in the D.C. area that align with your interests and engage with them. Both individually and as a group, community members will reflect on how these experiences impact their personal and professional goals.

Help Achieving Your Goals

You can also count on easy access to school resources to help prepare you for law school or landing a great job right out of school, such as:

  • Preparation for the LSAT
  • Resume help
  • Career support
  • Guidance on internships
  • Help with personal statements
Jurisprudence - Fall 2022 dinner

Student Spotlight: Ernesto Galeas

Galeas joined the Jurisprudence Learning Community, because he knew the program would give him a better understanding of how workers’ rights cases, which impact his day job, became law. Through the yearlong JPLC, Galeas learned about civil rights and constitutional law both in and out of the classroom including visits to the Supreme Court of Virginia in Richmond, the U.S. Congress, and the Department of Justice. 

Galeas credits the JPLC with giving him tools he could immediately apply in other classes, as well as in his professional job of labor organizing.

Thanks to his experiences with the JPLC and the Schar School, Galeas now wants to pursue a master’s in public policy after he graduates in May 2023. Ultimately, he plans to use his education for the advocacy work that originally inspired him. 

“I would like to do lobbying for unions or for nonprofits that advocate for access to education, health care, housing, and reform of the criminal justice system, which are all very important,” he said.

Read the full profile on Ernesto

Schar School learning communities students help welcome Australia’s Prime Minister to the White House.

A Memorable Year

Past and future events include: 

  • A weekly dinner series with high-profile speakers for participating LC students. Speakers have included the Associate Counsel to the President at the White House, and the Senior Advisor to the Speaker of the House
  • A field trip to the Supreme Court of VA for a talk and tour with Justice Cleo Powell
  • A law school admissions tour and class visit at GMU’s Antonin Scalia Law School
  • An evening with David Zapolsky, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Amazon
  • A field trip to the Department of Justice to meet with Matt Klapper, Chief of Staff to the US Attorney General

To participate in the Jurisprudence Learning Community, you should enroll in the GOVT 301 section that is specifically for learning community members for the fall semester.

This course, GOVT 301: Public Law and the Judicial Process:

  • goes towards the Law, Philosophy, and Governance concentration in the Government and International Politics major
  • counts as an elective in the Criminology, Law, and Society degree with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • is a core course in the Legal Studies minor

During spring registration, community members will enroll in a connected 1-credit GOVT 399 course for that semester.

Shea M. Holman Kilian stands wearing a gray blazer and white shirt while smiling

Meet the Jurisprudence Learning Community Director 

Shea M. Holman Kilian, J.D. and contact:

For any questions or to learn more, contact: sholman3@gmu.edu