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Taking advantage of a competitive edge

Owyn J. Ferguson prepares for law school studies with BARBRI Law Preview summer online course

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ccording to BARBRI Law Preview, first-year grades matter most, as law school is like no other academic experience and preparation is key. By taking Law Preview, BARBRI says students walk into law school with an understanding of core 1L material and the skills they need to get to the top of the class. This is one reason Owyn J. Ferguson is participating in an online BARBRI Law Preview course this summer, taking the opportunity to give himself a meaningful advantage, prior to commencing studies at the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

Law Preview will help him gain a competitive advantage by getting an in-depth introduction to core 1L courses before day one, brief actual cases and learn how to outline like a pro, learn proven exam-taking strategies from top law school professors, and access resources like best-selling study aids and study schedules.

“These courses tend to set students up for profound academic achievement in their first year,” said Ferguson. “The law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP had five spots reserved for Notre Dame Law students that they were willing to sponsor, and I got one of them.”

Ferguson, 22, is the recipient of a scholarship to complete the online summer course.

On its website, Morrison & Foerster LLP state that the firm appreciates that without proper preparation most students find the law school experience overwhelming and extremely difficult to earn top grades, which is why they decided to sponsor scholarships to Law Preview’s law school prep course, a program that some of their most successful lawyers took before they themselves entered law school.

Ferguson is home after a year-long volunteerism stint in Tabgha, Israel, and over the course of the upcoming weeks will be sorting through the student visa process while engaged in the BARBI law preview course.

“I’m really excited about it. I think it’s a great opportunity to go into law school with a solid understanding of how to succeed academically,” said Ferguson.

After a year of volunteerism, the former junior minister of tourism, who had an interest in the industry, set his sights on law school and will commence studies at the South Bend, Indiana, university, matriculating toward a dual Juris Doctor and a Master of Science in entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.

In the dual degree program, law students combine their law courses with classes in the ESTEEM (Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence) program, which helps students develop a unique combination of technical expertise and business acumen with a focus on fixing things that matter.

“Entrepreneurship excites me,” said Ferguson of the path he’s chosen. “It creates opportunities, brings solutions to problems, and reveals issues or disparities among us that otherwise go unnoticed. With that, I see myself using my time in law school to furnish myself with tools to serve entrepreneurs and be an agent of equity and justice in business markets. Ideally, with my affinity for working with persons of a variety of backgrounds, I would work with persons and/or entities from across the globe.”

Besides his summer program sponsorship by Morrison & Foerster LLP, Ferguson has been awarded a merit scholarship to Notre Dame. He plans to pursue student employment opportunities to help fund his law school education.

The tuition cost of both the JD and ESTEEM MS dual degree program is $197,507, according to the school’s site. Pursued separately, they would cost $241,496. By enrolling in the joint program, Ferguson is able to receive a discount on the respective costs of two degrees. The tuition cost of the JD degree when pursued alone is $186,196.

Ferguson, who graduated from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Minnesota, in May 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in economics, said he’s approaching law school the same way he approached his undergraduate degree – on a wing and a prayer.

“I really just plan on getting there, making it through the first year, and trusting that so long as I work diligently, God will facilitate opportunities to receive funds that will meet any balances,” he told The Nassau Guardian in an earlier interview.

Law studies is a 180-degree turn from his freshman year ideals.

“When I started college, I had not too long ago concluded my tenure as junior minister of tourism, and was still pretty interested in the opportunities in that industry.”

He remembers having strong interests in fiscal policy, economic development, and capital markets before landing on his current path.

“When I started my economics major, I realized the many different directions I could take – and figured it would make sense to try and have an open mind. Since then, my interests have moved around but have never returned to the tourism sector. I wouldn’t necessarily attribute this to the pandemic, but more to exposure to other career paths.”

Ferguson is expected in Indiana for orientation on August 16 with classes scheduled to begin August 23.

Ferguson, who recently completed his year of volunteerism, said he believes wanting to go to law school influenced him to take a year to volunteer, more than the other way around.

“I recognized that I will be entering a profession where humility, respect for persons, and mindfulness of the disadvantaged are not always present. These are values I wanted to be unwavering in, and I believed this experience to be one that would facilitate growth in those areas,” he said.

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