There is no “preferred major” to prepare you for law school. Most law schools, as well as the American Bar Association, recommend that you choose a major on the basis of interest. That makes sense because you will probably do better studying something you are interested in. Most law schools are even reluctant to prescribe a list of courses you should take.
Although we agree in general with these opinions, we feel that it is possible to provide some structure to the Pre-Law experience. We have two goals in this. The first is to help you to maximize your chances of being accepted into law school. The second is to help you to succeed once you get there.
With these goals in mind, we have developed the program described below. It consists of a composite of classroom and other experiences. Successful completion of this program will result in a Specialization in Pre-Law, a designation that will be included on your transcript. More importantly, it will help put you on the road to a successful law career.
- Professor James Lemke, Coordinator of the Pre-Law specialization
Students in the Pre-Law Specialization are required to complete a minimum of 18 semester hours of course work from following courses. A minimum of 9 of these hours must be at the 300-level or above. Courses must be distributed among at least two of the following three groups. POL280 Constitutional Law and PLS450 Topics in Legal Studies are required of all students.
Each student will be expected to complete an internship with an attorney. The purpose of this internship will be to expose the student to legal practice as it is performed on a daily basis. The internship will be governed by a “learning contract” that will specify the expectations and obligations of each party. The contract will also specify the conditions for the student to successfully complete the requirement. Internships will be coordinated through the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL).
Whenever possible, students in the Pre-Law Specialization will be paired with a practicing attorney who will serve as a mentor to the student. This experience will augment the more formal learning that occurs in classes and internships and will orient the student to the formal, but important, aspects of the culture of legal practice.