CHOICE OF MAJOR AND COURSES
Law schools accept students with bachelor's degrees. There is no prescribed major for pre-law students. In Arkansas the most common majors of students entering law schools are political science, public administration, business, psychology, English, and history.
Regardless of one's major, a pre-law student should be sure he or she masters written and spoken communication skills
Because of our increasingly multi-national economy, it is highly recommended that pre-law students learn something about other cultures, including languages, politics, history, and religion of foreign countries.
The American Bar Association recommends that pre-law students include American government, U. S. history, and economics in their preparation for law school. You also will find computer skills essential. Finally, a judicial process course would give you a bit of a head start in law school, by familiarizing you with terms and processes.
THE LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST (LSAT)
Admission to law school requires successful completion of the Law School Admissions Test. Most students take the test sometime between the completion of their junior year and the end of the first semester of their senior year. That usually means sometime between June and December.
The LSAT measures reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. It is not designed to be a test for which one can study, since it does not measure subject matter knowledge.
On the other hand, many students undertake some kind of LSAT preparation to enhance their test-taking skill. The pre-law adviser can help you on this matter.
LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS CRITERIA
Grade-point average and LSAT scores are the two most important determinants of law school admissions. Students with sufficiently high GPA's and LSAT scores will be automatically admitted to law schools.
Admissions committees also may look at letters of recommendation and personal statements contained in the application materials.
The best advice regarding GPA is that pre-law students should try to maintain at least a "B" overall average. Students with GPAs of less than 3.0 may gain admission, but will not have a wide choice of law schools.
Some law schools consider personal qualities of prospective law students. Included in those considered desirable are civility, conscience, and compassion (or caring).
FINANCING LAW SCHOOL
Some institutions offer scholarships to students based on merit and financial need. Most financial aid given to law students, though, comes in the form of loans.
Federally subsidized loans are available, in addition to standard private loans.
Pre-law students should be prepared for the fact that three years of legal education are costly. Maintaining credit worthiness during one's undergraduate years is critical to getting adequate loans for law school. That means avoiding unnecessary debt during the undergraduate years.
Furthermore, students should keep in mind that law school loans are not interest free. Interest works seven days a week, 365 days a year, and has no vacations or holidays.
Students who live like lawyers when they are students may be condemned to live like students when they are lawyers!
WHAT LAWYERS DO
Lawyers need to know how to
- Analyze legal issues in light of the existing law and the direction in which the law is headed
- Synthesize elements of issues
- Advocate the views of their clients
- Counsel persons on legal matters
- Write and Speak clearly
- Negotiate effectively
Some specialties in the practice of law today are corporate, criminal, environmental, family, intellectual property, international, and tax law.
YOUR PRE-LAW ADVISOR
Dr. Larry Monette
McBrien Hall Room 201 G