Meet Ben Harkins: Class of 2016

Posted: November 11, 2021 by Larry Morton

Benjamin Harkins, of Gainesville, GA, received his Bachelor of Science of Political Science, with a pre-law concentration, in December of 2016. He recently graduated with a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and just wrapped up an internship with a Federal Judge. He will start his new job in Georgia in October.

Ben transferred to UNG after his freshman year and decided to pursue other career opportunities. "North Georgia provided a great place to help me figure out what I wanted to do both with my education and what I wanted to do with my career long-term," said Ben.

After graduating from UNG in December 2016, Ben focused on the LSAT and law school admission process over an 18-month period. Ben did not know what to expect but he ended up being near the top of his class. "Don't discount the experience that you can have at North Georgia, because you can be right up there with the Harvard grads," said Ben.

Ben was asked if he recalled any classes or experience, he had here at UNG that be believes helped prepare him for his law studies at the University of Pennsylvania. "I think my experience with Dr. Friedman [helped me]. He was a fierce critic of my writing and my ability to persuade and he definitely made me a better writer. Anything in that you do in law school is going to be a lot of research and writing based, so I definitely feel like I had a leg up after taking those classes with him," said Ben.

Ben participated in the Model UN with Dr. Miner and said he "developed quick, on-the-fly research abilities and some public speaking skills." All PSIA majors must fulfill an internship requirement. Ben interned with Michelle Jones, a Senate candidate for the State House in Flowery Branch during the 2016 campaign. Ben said that it "has been able to help make the connections across the political scene in Georgia."

We also asked Ben what he thinks being a part of the North Georgia #PSIAfamily will mean for his future. "I think having my degree from North Georgia means a lot to Georgia employers, to the North Georgia legal community," said Ben, "While I did go away to Pennsylvania to go to law school to get one of the best legal educations I could get. I have a job offer from King and Spaulding, which is a great Atlanta firm and I hope to work for a judge in Georgia. And I'm definitely going to be playing up the North Georgia experience as a way to show that I really want to be here and come back and work in the community that raised me."

Ben had some advice for prospective students, current students and even former students of UNG. "For current and former students, definitely reach out to your network. All the time as I was looking for jobs in Atlanta, I was reaching out and seeing if a law firms had in North Georgia grad and several did and provided some great information about both that firm and about the legal job market in general," said Ben.

"For future students, this is a great opportunity to come and experience a great faculty, and small classroom environment where you'll be able to make great connections with classmates and great relationships with professors that can be a lifelong resource both for formal letters of recommendation and for informal networking opportunities," said Ben. Ben praised his time at North Georgia. "I wouldn't replace my North Georgia experience for anything where I am at my life right now," said Ben.

Establishing Connection...