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University-wide Pre-law Advising

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What is the best major for those seeking to eventually attend law school?

There are a number of articles and studies one may look to for what the “better” law school preparatory major is

Here are a few of the most recent one

However, there are no rules on law school majors. There is no “perfect major,” one that law schools clamor for when reviewing applications. In fact, several jurists have stated that one’s choice of baccalaureate major does not matter. Law schools are, however, seeking certain skills and experiences.

Here are a few:

  • Critical thinking/reading
  • Oral & written communication
  • Collaborative & individual problem solving
  • Broad knowledge base
  • Editing
  • Exposure to the Law
  • Organizational and management
  • Solo problem solving
  • Public/volunteer service
  • Relationship building
  • Research (beyond mere search engine searches)

Gain valuable exposure to the legal profession: consider an internship

It is advisable that one explore the law and the legal profession before entering law school. Doing so provides a fuller understanding of the day-to-day practice of law and the skills needed to enter legal employment job market later. There is no doubt that a more informed opinion of the legal practice, its vocabulary, practice groups and institutions can advance one’s understanding of law school curriculum and the application of it. Equally important is knowing what you are getting into before spending tens-of-thousands of dollars only to discover law school is not for you.

Contact the university-wide pre-law advisor, Dr. Brooks (cbrooks@esu.edu) to see if you qualify for a law firm internship opportunity. These internships are reserved for the best of students. Perhaps you are one of them?

What kind of jobs are there for non-courtroom lawyers?

There are many non-litigation roles lawyers play. They include, but are by no means limited to:

Compliance Officer
Judicial clerk
Equal Opportunity Officer
Law school professor
Estate planning attorney
Lobbyist
Federal law enforcement officer
Patent attorney
Human Resources Director
Tax attorney

How do law schools decide who they will admit?

Simply put, there are five main factors:

  1. Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The higher your score, the better. Currently, the LSAT consists of three kinds of questions:
    • reading comprehension, which assesses one’s ability to read perceptively and with understanding;
    • analytical reasoning, which measures a candidates ability to comprehend the structure of a set of relationships and to draw conclusions about that structure;
    • logical reasoning, which is the type that stumps the many of those who sit for the LSAT. It assesses one’s ability to complete, understand, analyze, and criticize a variety of arguments/scenarios.
  2. As much as half of the admission decision is based upon the applicant’s LSAT score. Exactly how much weight is given that test depends on the law school to which someone is applying. For that reason, taking key courses that prepare the mind for such an exam are crucial some of those courses include:
    • Logic I
    • Statistics
    • Foreign languages
    • Literary analysis courses
    • Upper-level history and political science courses that have heavy reading and writing components
  3. Grade-point average: Obviously, the higher one’s grades, the better off one’s chances for law school admission will be. Law schools tend to weigh GPAs as being 30-50 of the admission decision. The major completed (and, in some instances, university attended) will be a factor as well in the law school admission’s process as a means of assessing the academic rigor of the applicant’s undergraduate academic experience. Whether or not the applicant was in an honors program may also be a deciding factor.
  4. Law school admissions essay/personal statement: These essays are an opportunity to make an applicant stand out and to better highlight skills and experiences that the rest of the application materials may not afford sufficient attention.
  5. Recommendation Letters: Normally, two or three are requested to be uploaded to LSAC. Establishing solid, professional relationships with professors, employers or both is highly recommended so that the prospective law school student can ask for letters that provided law school admissions officers the best, detailed picture of what the given applicant has to offer.
  6. Work experience and activities: Active leadership roles through work and volunteer experience play a role in the admission process. Best is concentrating energies one or two activities and excelling and leading than to have list of several organizations on one’s resume with which the student was only tacitly involved. Demonstrated responsibility can be a real benefit, and this is especially the case for volunteer or paid community or legal work performed.

Paying for law school

Post-secondary students at all levels know that higher education is an investment in one’s future and that the loans taken for that study accumulate interest and need to be repaid. For that reason, it is essential that those going on the law school to spend the time informing themselves on some of the ways to pay for law school. Here are some helpful sites:

  • Student Loan Repayment and Forgiveness
  • Financing Law School
  • Access Group

Study Abroad

During your undergraduate studies at ESU, consider studying abroad. Why? The academic and intercultural experiences abroad enhance your growth as an individual, affords you new perspectives, language-skill enhancement and the interpersonal aspects considered by many law school admissions officers. For more, contact the International Study Programs office.

Useful Podcast to help prepare you for the LSAT

Who are the primary pre-law contacts at ESU?

The current University-Wide Pre-Law advisor is Dr. Christopher Brooks, Department of History (cbrooks@esu.edu). However, several other faculty across campus will be solid resources when it comes to scheduling courses that both meet the demands of many majors and help in acquiring the skills necessary for law school admission.

Computer Science: Dr. Mike Jochen mjochen@esu.edu
Economics: Maria Ramirez, J.D. mramirez@esu.edu
Philosophy: Dr. Storm Heter sheter@esu.edu
Politcal Science: Dr. Kimberly Adams kadams@esu.edu

In many cases there are cross-overs, but sometimes there are not. So, do consult pre-law advisors if you have questions.

For additional information: