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Academic Preparation for Law School

Coursework

Although there is no single set of required courses for admission to law school, it is recommended that potential applicants choose courses that emphasize writing. The study of law fundamentally combines many prominent disciplines within its structure, foremost among these being history, philosophy, and political science. Furthermore, legal doctrine, and its affiliated actors and institutions, permeates American society in a multiplicity of ways that profoundly impact the relationship between citizens and government, our socioeconomic arrangement, international relations within the global milieu, and even the educational establishment. Consequently, legal professionals may be found in virtually every sector of American life.

It has long been held that a strong liberal arts education is the most effective preparation for those students interested in attending law school. Many consider a major in political science to be of particular value given the amount of exposure to legal institutions and the legislative process one receives in the discourse. As such, political science has been perceived as the de facto pre-law major and minor within many undergraduate faculties and student bodies.

UHD currently has no approved pre-law minor but faculty are proposing a minor whose specific intellectual objectives are (1) to provide students with an effective exhibition of fundamental legal principles, history and progression; (2) to develop their capacity digest legal scholarship and jurisprudence, while simultaneously possessing the ability to reason deductively, inductively, and through the use of analogies; (3) to expose students to the "case method" of legal research and Socratic pedagogy; (4) to refine the students verbal communication ability, with an emphasis on oral argument and clarity; (5) to present students with constructive guidance pertaining to effective writing and expression; and (6) to guide students interested in careers in the legal field, and assist them with preparing for the Law School Admissions Test (LSA T) and the law school application process.



Recommended Courses

Acceptance to law school has nothing to do with undergraduate major or minor. Select a major or minor that reflects your interests and ability to do well. Acceptance in to law school has nothing to do with the number of major or minors that one has declared.

The following courses are highly recommended to meet the above learning objectives for students intending to pursue legal studies:

  • POLS 3304. Introduction to Constitutional Law*
  • POLS 4301. The American Legal System
  • ENG 3308 Legal Writing
  • COMM 3302 Argumentation and Debate
  • PHIL 1302 Critical Thinking

The following electives are recommended to meet the above learning objectives for students intending to pursue legal studies.

  • POLS 3306. Civil Liberties in the United States*
  • POLS 4XXX. Critical Perspectives in Law*
  • POLS 4XXX. Philosophy of Law*
  • PHIL 3304. Logic
  • PSY 4309 Psychology and the Law
  • COMM 3306 Business and Professional Speech Communication
  • CJ 3304. Criminal Law
  • CJ 3305 . Criminal Evidence and Procedure
  • CJ 3319 Legal Research
  • BA 3301. Legal Environment of Business
  • BA 3302. Commercial Law
  • BA3315 Diversity and the Law

Faculty

It is critical for applicants to any post-graduate study program to get to know the faculty well. Faculty are a valuable source of advice, plus they alone write the all-important academic letters of support. Law school applicants should plan on submitting at least one faculty letter of recommendation and more if possible, although second or third letters can come from advanced graduate students, employers or others as appropriate.


Grade Point Average

Law schools do not stipulate minimum applicant (undergraduate) grade point averages, although they do provide statistics sufficient for candidates to evaluate their competitiveness. GPA is used in conjunction with the LSAT score to compute an index number which each institution uses in a different fashion.


The Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT evaluates applicants in the areas of reading comprehension, critical reasoning, logical analysis and writing. The exam is offered in February, June, October, and December. Take the LSAT only when you are ready, but try to avoid doing so for the first time in October or December of the year of application. This is because it is extremely time consuming to study for the exam and apply to graduate school, and work/take classes, etc. It is also better to have an actual score to help with the selection process. December scores arrive late in the process, so check the application deadline.

Applicants should expect to prepare for the exam for 1-2 semesters in advance of the test date. Since the LSAT does not test knowledge of a particular subject, the goal of studying is to become familiar with the test format, and to develop methods to answer questions with efficiency and accuracy. The best way to study, therefore, is directly from old exams. These are available from the LSAC web site. In order to have enough time to study, consider taking three classes during the quarter in which the exam is offered. Candidates should plan on taking the exam once, although nationally nearly 2 in 10 will take it a second time. Since most schools average multiple scores, do not take the test if you are not ready.

LSAT prep courses are available to students who need the reassurance such courses can provide. They are not necessary for an applicant to do well, but they can help some students. These classes are expensive in terms of time and money, so it is important to take enough prep tests beforehand to determine if a prep class is necessary. .

Note: Students in the College should pick up a copy of the current LSAC & LSDAS Registration and Information Book from the wall rack near the advising reception desk.

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Last updated or reviewed on 9/30/13

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