Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Pre-Law

Fighting for Justice

  • News Image
    Kevin McGarry ’08
November 26, 2012
Kevin McGarry ’08, a former history major with a minor in political science, talks about how his undergraduate experience helped him prepare for a career in law. He serves as Assistant District Attorney in Lancaster, PA.

What attracted you to the practice of law?

I’ve known I wanted to be lawyer since I was about 14, when I realized military fighter pilots needed 20/20 vision. I’ve always been interested in politics and the legislative process. As a criminal trial attorney, I can be at the intersection of these two discourses. I’m also in a position to defend the rights of victims.

Did you have any big revelations studying law at Penn State?

I truly didn’t understand that all you do is read and take a test at the end. But I was extremely prepared for that, given my liberal arts background.

What skills did you acquire at WC that turned out to be relevant?

Obviously reading, writing, and analytical reasoning are important. But the biggest one for me was time management. My schedule is actually less crazy now than it was in college. I would attend classes, then go to swim practice, then attend one of various club or honor society meetings or a KA event, and then it was time to go to bed and do it all over again the next day.

What college course most influenced your career path?
In my freshman year I took Dr. Michael Harvey’s leadership study course, “Cowboys, Generals and Company Men.” It was in this freshman seminar that I realized I wanted to be in a position to use my talents and serve as a leader in my community. 

Your senior thesis mirrors that freshman topic a bit, doesn’t it?

Yeah, in a way. I thought it would be interesting to take a historical view of firearms as a reflection of society. As a hunter and outdoorsman I’m familiar with guns, but I was surprised by how much historical material I found. My thesis examined the colonial-era Pennsylvania long rifle, also known as the Kentucky rifle, the Colt Peacemaker of the Wild West era, and the Thompson submachine gun, which was used during the Roaring Twenties through World War II.


Last modified on Nov. 26th, 2012 at 2:31pm by Marcia Landskroener.