News - Capital University Law School

Incoming 1Ls, Meet Your Professors: Scott Anderson

6/10/2019  - 

Professor Scott Anderson was an assistant county prosecutor and a staff attorney for the Ohio State Criminal Sentencing Commission before he turned to teaching full-time. He received a doctorate degree in philosophy from the Ohio State University and began teaching at Capital in the fall of 2007.

In the Classroom…

What courses do you teach?
I teach first-year legal research and writing. I have taught other writing classes, including criminal legal drafting and appellate advocacy. I also have taught criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal responsibility, and professional responsibility.

What legal issue fascinates you?
Legal rules are supposed to guide our conduct. But legal rules are composed of linguistic terms—like “substantial,” “reasonable,” “reckless,” and “unconscionable”—that are inherently vague. To the extent that the language of the law is vague, how can legal rules adequately guide our conduct? And if legal rules cannot adequately guide our conduct, how are we, in any meaningful sense, governed by “the rule of law?”

When you were in Law School…

Where did you go to law school?
I went to Case Western Reserve University School of Law for my first two years. I got married during my second year, moved back to Columbus (for my wife’s job), and finished my law school training at The Ohio State University.

What was your fondest memory of being a 1L?
I bought an inexpensive little house in Cleveland Heights just before I entered law school, and that house became a gathering place for my new law school friends. My fondest memory of being a 1L is of playing poker around the dining room table on the weekends.

What was your scariest 1L memory?
My scariest 1L memory is of final exams. Our exams for each doctrinal class counted for 100% of our grade. So there was a lot of pressure and worry channeled into a series of three-hour exam periods.

Your advice to incoming law students…

What should students do to prepare the summer before law school?
Read good books that have nothing to do with law and determine—based on your experience as a reader—what makes a good writer. And remember those lessons as you read the arcane, stilted, verbose language in your casebooks.

Your best piece of advice to prepare for first year?
One of my colleagues recently told me, “I’ve always thought that law was applied philosophy.” I agree. So, my best piece of advice to prepare for the first year of law school is to read a short introductory text on logic (something like “A Rulebook for Arguments,” 4th ed. (2010), by Anthony Weston) to start grasping the underlying structure of the legal arguments hidden in judicial opinions.

Your Favorites…

What’s your favorite book?
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. A 20th Century American reimagining of the story of Cain and Abel that glories in the possibility and the power of free will (timshel, in Hebrew). Beautiful, epic, transformative.

What’s your favorite movie?
Apocalypse Now Redux (the 2001 extended version of the original 1979 movie). A 20th Century reimagining of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” that reveals the monsters men become when they seek to do battle with monsters. Beautiful, epic, transformative.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
G. Michael’s Bistro in German Village, especially the Shrimp and Grits entrée, a 21st Century reimagining of the South Carolina low-country dish. Beautiful, epic, transformative.  

Meet Other 1L Professors: