Pre-Law Studies

Pre-Law isn’t generally considered a major, much like Pre-Dental, Pre-Vet, or Pre-Med. It refers to any undergraduate major intended to prepare students for law school at the graduate level. Unlike with those other faux-majors, though, there aren’t any course requirements for entering into law school. The only qualifications needed are completion of a baccalaureate with a high GPA and passing the Law School Admission Test, more commonly known as the LSAT.

Baccalaureate Level

There are very few schools offering what’s labeled a Pre-Law degree. Some institutions are beginning to offer Legal Studies as an option, but, again, there are only a few. There’s only one recognized bonus in opting for a Legal Studies/Pre-Law degree, and that’s forethought. There’s automatic demonstrated, long term interest in becoming a lawyer with those two majors, but that shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor on an undergraduate major.

There’s some disagreement over what the best degrees are for students who intend to get a law degree, but English, business, and any engineering or science degrees are typically well received.

The general advice provided by most law school admissions offices is for students to major in something that they’re passionate about. While there may be some distinctions between STEM versus arts and humanities degrees, the ultimate defining factors are the same: a high GPA and a good score on the LSAT.  

While there’s one universal job title for individuals with a Juris Doctor (JD), Lawyer, there are so many types of lawyers that knowledge in any area is applicable. Majoring in environmental sciences can lead to work as an environmental lawyer, whereas majoring in any area of the artsy or creative world could lead to a job as a creative arts lawyer. A diverse, passionate student is often what admissions offices at law schools are looking for.

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT): A half-day standardized test offered six times a year and proctored by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). It consists of six parts, four scored multiple choice and two unscored, an experimental section and a writing portion. The three most important skills for the test are logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and writing skills.

Doctorate Level

Juris Doctor, JD, degrees are the highest available in law and typically take three years to complete. The curriculum will include courses on torts, contracts, property, criminal law, constitutional law, and civil procedure. Most law schools will also require courses on ethics, as well as legal research and writing, and require students to participate in Moot Court (mock trials).

After graduation, most students will go on to take the Bar Exam (BE).

The Bar Exam is a required examination to practice law. It’s typically split into two parts. The Multistate Bar Exam, or MBE, is required in every state except for Louisiana. Created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the test is broad. State bar exams, part two, encompass state-specific laws. Some jurisdictions will require a third part, the Multistate Performance Test, or MPT, which tests graduates on their practical skills in realistic situations.

Careers for graduates with a JD who have passed the bar exam include: Lawyer. The median salary for all Lawyer position hovers around $75,000, but that can vary dramatically depending on specialization, education, and years in practice. The starting salary for a Corporate Lawyer can be as low as $30,000 or as high as $100,000 (mostly depending on place of employment and Law School name), though the average median salary is around $98,000. On the other hand, a Public Defender (Criminal Lawyer) can expect a median annual salary of $51,000. At a private law firm, a Criminal Lawyer can begin as high as $115,000 per year. Medical and Patent Lawyers provide the highest average median salary, both coming in around $131,000.

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University of Utah
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Eckerd College
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Indiana Tech
Fort Wayne, IN

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Thomas More College
Crestview Hills, KY

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“…The people at Connors State are very helpful in enrolling you in classes. They are there to answer any questions you may have to ask. The dorms there are nice and clean unlike any other junior colleges.” – Lindsay from Beggs, OK

“…Santa Fe Community College is rich in diversity. I am a married mother of four children and I fit right in with all the other students. Great facility and instructors. ” – Jennifer from Santa Fe, NM

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“…Garden City Community College had great teachers and a well-maintained campus.” – Tajia from Garden City, KS

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“…The people are very friendly and decent. It's always difficult getting financial aid help/assistance. The teachers are very pleasant and friendly.” – Alexis from Soda Springs, ID

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary Of The Woods, IN

“…A 'Wonderful' campus or online experience for women! The staff, Sister's, and fellow classmates are always willing to give a helping hand. The beautiful off-road campus compels you to become one with yourself and future goals.” – Amy from Clinton, IN

Emmanuel College
Franklin Springs, GA

“…Highly accepting school with great forgiveness and understanding. Very Christian based and excels at trying to give students a focused environment that will allow them to learn with distraction. Also considered a small school, but with great...” – John from Fayetteville, NC

“…CASC is a nice school. If it was a four year school, this is where I would be. ” – Haylee from Poteau, OK

“…Good place to earn degree, classes are not extremely difficult. Most teachers are approachable and will tell you when they are available. Affordable.” – K from Dodge City, KS

“…It is a great college, that has more one on one teacher time than any other college. Every one that works there is very friendly and helpful. I enjoy going to this college.” – Nikia from Kincaid, KS

“…Located in Snyder Texas WTC is a great place if you want to start small and build your way up. The whole WTC staff is dedicated in helping you achieve the education you want and helping you succeed in your goals. Your in a big family once you are...” – Julian from Frostproof, FL

“…Central is a Christian community that is working to build well rounded graduates. It is not perfect, no college will be but it is the closest I found. ” – Lizzie from Oregon

“…Treasure Valley is a very helpful college, in regards to questions asked there is always some one very to help. Whether it be a student or faculty member. Personally, not knowing much about higher education before, the answered all my questions, even...” – Lacey from Ontario, OR

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“…The hospitality of the staff and students is amazing. I loved attending this college. The atmosphere really made it a great experience. ” – Leticia from Henderson, NV

“…Teachers are very hands on and approachable. Class sizes are small so lots of one on one time with teachers. Houghton campus is new construction and very up to date.” – Taylor from Ontonagon, MI

“…caring and interested in your success. available and helpful in your interests. willing to take the time with you and are genuine.” – Kenneth from Crownpoint, NM

“…started out here, got my associates. it was great, just didn't have a bachelor's option for my major. every college i have been to afterward does not measure up!” – Danielle from Mason, OH

“…a great, small, christ-lead community. a place for people of all backgrounds and goals to come together to achieve in god's light. my new home.” – Lindsey from Seward, NE