How do I prepare for law school?

There is no prescribed major or set of undergraduate courses for admission to law school. The best guide is to follow your own personal and academic interests so that you will be motivated to excel—in other words, study what you love. In selecting students, law school admissions committees look for individuals with a well-rounded, liberal arts education. According to the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education, good lawyering requires certain core skills, experience, and values, including:

  • Problem solving
  • Critical reading
  • Writing and editing
  • Oral communication and listening
  • Research
  • Organization and management
  • Relationship building and collaboration
  • Public service and promotion of justice
  • Exposure to law

In addition, lawyers need an increasingly broad range of knowledge including:

  • A good understanding of history, particularly U.S. history
  • A basic understanding of political and legal institutions
  • Familiarity with ethics and theories of justice
  • A grounding in economics
  • Basic mathematical and financial skills
  • Informational technology (IT) competency (aka computer literacy)
  • An appreciation for diversity and cultural interdependence

In law school, you will study the legal principles underlying specific areas of the law; in your undergraduate classes, you need to acquire the core knowledge and skills upon which your legal education will be built. Since law deals with a wide variety of human conflicts, the more you know about the diversity of human experience, the better prepared you will be to study law. Law school admissions officers will be evaluating your overall academic performance in order to decide whether you have the intellectual ability and motivation to succeed in law school.

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(Image: “Studying for last law school exam” by John Althouse Cohen is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)