Academic Preparation for Law School
No particular undergraduate major or course of study is required for admission to law school or even recommended as the best preparation for the study of law. Rather, law schools typically emphasize the need for pre-law students to cultivate certain skills –- such as clarity in written and oral communication, an understanding of human institutions and human nature, and creative and critical thinking –- that can be developed in the context of a variety of majors offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. Pre-law students are therefore encouraged to choose a major on the basis of their intellectual interests and to design, in consultation with the College’s pre-law advisors, an additional program of courses that will help them develop these relevant skills and introduce them to legal concepts and arguments.
While virtually any course in the Arts and Sciences can serve as an occasion to develop the skills essential to success in law school and beyond, the following might be particularly useful: SPCH 1120 (Argumentation and Debate), SPCH 3120 (Persuasive Speaking), PHIL 1210 (Critical Reasoning), PHIL 2010 (Symbolic Logic), PSCI 1100 (Introduction to American National Government), PSCI 3170 (Interest Groups), ECON 2200 (Microeconomics), ECON 2220 (Macroeconomics), and ENGL 2400 (Advanced Composition).
And while a wide variety of courses, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, will make reference to legal concepts and arguments, the following may be mentioned for the specificity of their concern with such issues:
PSCI 4170 (Constitutional Law: Foundations), PSCI 4180 (Constitutional Law: The Federal System), PSCI 4190 (Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties), PSCI 4050 (The Judicial Process), PHIL 1020 (Contemporary Moral Problems), PHIL 3010 (Philosophy of Justice), HIST 4330 (U.S. Constitutional History to 1860), HIST 4340 (U.S. Constitutional History since 1860), HIST 4600 (Anglo-American Legal History), BLST 1220 (Law in the Black Community), JOUR 4410 (Communications Law), JOUR 4420 (Theories of the First Amendment: Free Speech and Press), GEOG 4820/BIOL 4820 (Introduction to Environmental Law and Regulation), and SOC 4500 (Law, Family, and Public Policy).
Undergraduate courses primarily concerned with the law are not a necessary preparation for law school, nor do they necessarily render one better prepared for law school than another student who has taken no such courses. Such courses might be useful, however, to those students who are unsure of the solidity their interest in law school or, on the other hand, those who are certain of their interest and who already have a sense of the particular field of law in which they are primarily interested. Generally, the pre-law student’s program of study should provide a balanced set of courses from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities that challenge the student to develop keen analytical skills and clarity and persuasiveness in a variety of forms of written and oral communication.
For more information, please contact the Pre-Law Advisors in the College of Arts and Sciences:
Dr. Carson Holloway, Department of Political Science, ASH 275, (402) 554-4862, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Laura Grams, Department of Philosophy, ASH 205, (402) 554-2629, email@example.com