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Academic Skills Needed to Succeed

Statement on Pre-Law Preparation

The practice of law is a diverse profession, but there are core competencies that are required of all lawyers. Keep the following in mind as you develop your undergraduate and post-graduation plans:

  • Close reading and critical analysis of complex texts involving issues of social and political importance
  • Clear and concise written and oral communication skills, active listening, and effective presentation skills
  • The ability to research, organize, and synthesize information in a clear and logical manner
  • The ability to challenge one’s own personal belief systems, and develop comfort and tolerance for uncertainty
  • Effective negotiation and creative problem solving
  • Time management
  • Integrity and trustworthiness

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Are Some Majors Better Than Others?

  • There is no "best" major for law school. Your strengths, personal interests, and desire to grow intellectually should drive your choice of a major.
  • If you are interested in a particular field of law, consider a major or minor that provides relevant background. For example, language skills and cultural competency are important foundational skills to international or immigration law.

If you are interested in intellectual property law and practicing as a patent attorney, you should carefully review eligibility requirements of the Patent Bar Exam and consider appropriate coursework in the sciences.

What Courses Are Required for Law School?

  • None. There are no specific course requirements for admission to law school.
  • Select courses that will develop your capacity for critical analysis and your written and verbal communication skills to their fullest potential.
  • Use your distribution requirements to take courses in a broad variety of disciplines.  Consider courses that expand your awareness of social, economic, and political concerns at a local, national, and global scale.
  • Opportunities such as intergroup relations (IGR), research, or an honors thesis may provide breadth and depth to the skills acquired through traditional coursework.

Type “legal studies” into the the keyword search option in the LSA Course Guide for a wide range of course selections. Do not feel limited to these courses options.

Is It Still Possible to Attend Law School If My Academic Record Is Less Than Perfect?

  • The short answer is yes, but it does depend on where you wish to attend, your tolerance for debt, and the risks you are willing to take in terms of job outcomes. If your cumulative GPA is below a 3.0, it is still possible to attend law school, but it is important that you meet with a pre-law advisor to discuss your options and make informed choices.
  • If you have not completed your undergraduate degree, meet with a general advisor to discuss adjustments to your schedule and study strategies that may improve your performance. An upward GPA trend may help to offset a weaker start to your undergraduate career even if it doesn’t completely repair your cumulative GPA.
  • Your transcript is only one part of the admission package, so it is important to develop strategies for strengthening your overall application. Consider all of the following options:
    • Maximize your performance on the LSAT.
    • Take a gap of one or more years prior to applying to law school. Work experience demonstrating real responsibility and professional development may positively influence admission decisions.
    • Where appropriate, write an application addendum providing an explanation for challenges you experienced during your undergraduate experience.
  • A pre-law advisor can help you evaluate the options available to you, so please call 734.764.0332 to schedule a pre-law advising appointment.

Refer to the American Bar Association for more information on preparing for law school.