American Studies Degree Offers Law Student Unique Perspective

Harry Hall headshot

Harry Hall, RWU Class of 2017, 2019 JD

Majors:  Cultural Studies

Roger Williams University is dedicated to offering our students a well-rounded interdisciplinary education, allowing them to combine their career interests through double majoring. For Harry Hall '17, now a 3L in the RWU School of Law, this combination included legal studies and American studies.

“I was able to find something that combined my appreciation for history and my career goals,” says Hall.

With his acceptance into the "three-plus-three” program, he was able to begin law school in his senior year of undergraduate studies. When he graduates law school next semester, he will have earned his bachelor's and juris doctor degrees in just six years, as opposed to the seven it would have taken him on the traditional path. 

Because many of the American studies electives fulfilled legal studies requirements, Hall was able to take classes that he found interesting and would serve him well in law school. Constitutional Law, The American Legal System, Policing in America, are just a few examples of classes that count for both majors.

Hall says that American studies requires students to question everything, which will be important when he begins practicing law.

“It’s a very lawyerly way of thinking because it forces you to ask why," says Hall. "You have to get to the underlying interest behind people’s positions.”

His American studies major allowed him to even question commonly held beliefs about The American Revolution for his thesis, and explore the role that his beloved state of Rhode Island played in this pivotal event.  

Hall has integrated this inquisitive mentality into his own career path by remaining open to exploration. He entered law school so that he could make a difference in the world, and has realized that there are many ways he can do that within the field.

While he is open to practicing different types of law, he hopes to ultimately become a judge.

“I wanted to help society that way, because judges are the ones that decide what’s right and wrong, and they have a big effect on the outcome of cases,” Hall says. 

Choosing the “three-plus-three program” with a double major in American studies and legal studies has given him the practical foundation for this path. It has also given him the freedom to follow his passions and explore different perspectives.

Update: Hall graduated cum laude with a Doctor of Law degree in 2019. He now works as a Law Clerk for Sensata Technologies.