Prof lays down the law at QU

Ali Busa

Jack Leary called Gail Ellis, the dean of admissions at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, and asked her if she could send one of her staff members to speak at the next Pre-Law Society meeting.

“No, I want to come,” Ellis responded.

She said she was very impressed with the 13 applications Suffolk had received from Quinnipiac students in 2003, and she wanted to meet the members of the Pre-Law Society, especially Leary.

Leary, 67, is an associate professor of legal studies at Quinnipiac University. He is the founder of, and adviser to the Pre-Law Society, a group of approximately 100 undergraduate students who have an interest in attending law school.

In spring 2004, the school’s Student Center and Student Leadership Development organization gave the Pre-Law Society the New Club of the Year award.

Leary received his bachelor’s degree at Fairfield University and graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

“I had a girlfriend who told me to get off my ass and get a graduate degree, so I took the LSAT’s to shut her up,” Leary said. “It wasn’t until my third year in law school that I decided to practice law.”

After passing the bar exam, Leary worked as a real estate, probate, and corporate lawyer for 23 years, along with raising his four children with his wife, Lisa. It was not until he had numerous coronary problems, including three heart attacks that he decided to begin teaching.

“One time I was sitting in the hospital, and I came to the realization that I had to start doing something with my life,” Leary said. “My family knew that teaching was the appropriate decision.”

Leary began teaching at Quinnipiac in 1990 and now teaches four legal studies courses including one in which he places seniors in internships at different law offices, depending on what field they are interested in.

“There are many students who have said I’ve made a difference in their lives,” Leary said. “It’s the most flattering thing anyone could ever say. You only need a few to say it, and it raises your spirits to a new level.”

Leary plans to make the university more competitive with other undergraduate schools that are known for churning out pre-law students.

“Quinnipiac has reached the stage where there are so many students coming in that we need to beef up pre-law advising,” Leary said.

Despite all his involvement with the university, which includes serving as a faculty athletic representative who provides faculty oversight for the entire athletic department, Leary still finds time for fun.

“I play golf and enjoy my bride and six grandchildren,” Leary said. “I’m probably their prime babysitter because I have the flexible schedule. I teach them all their bad habits and always leave with a smile.”