Pre-Professional Advisement in Law
Pre-law curricula should prepare the student for admission into law school. Students should take coursework in those areas of undergraduate instruction which are fundamental to the later attainment of legal competence. Although there is no single course of instruction, pre-law students, in consultation with their advisors, must complete courses which:
- develop abilities in the critical understanding of human institutions and values;
- assist in the comprehension and expression of words; and
- facilitate their ability to think clearly, concisely, and independently.
Because of the complexity of the law school admissions process, the law school curriculum, and the profession of law, students should begin exploring pre-law preparation as early as possible and pursue as many opportunities to learn about it as possible. In other words, it is entirely appropriate for first-year students to begin their exploration.
Pre-law advisement includes assisting students in curriculum choices, Law School Admissions Test [LSAT] preparation, and the law school admissions process.
The Legal Profession
Generally speaking, lawyers advise clients of their legal rights and obligations and suggest particular courses of action in personal and business matters. Therefore, one practicing law should inspire trust and confidence, and be tactful, compassionate, and sensitive to the needs of others.
A lawyer while interpreting laws, rulings, and regulations, must be versatile and sharp to the ever-changing social needs and attitudes in society, economically, socially and politically.
Nature of the Work
Lawyers represent individuals on trial, counsel individuals and businesses to their legal rights and obligations, interpret the law, and apply it to specific situations. To do this, a lawyer is continually researching information and dealing with people in a courteous, efficient manner with strict confidence concerning matters discussed. Lawyers write briefs, which must communicate clearly and precisely. They must think quickly, speak with ease and authority, and be thoroughly familiar with courtroom rules and strategy.
The Pre-Law Advisors National Council states that the pre-law student should take "courses that lend themselves to the creation of a context in which law may be better understood, courses that augment communication skills and courses that sharpen analytical skills." While pre-law students are not required to take any specific courses, preparation for the LSAT and law school itself demand that they be able to analyze problems, to express themselves effectively on paper and in speech, to understand our society and how it works, and to grapple with an understanding of human nature.
The following courses (among others) offered at Springfield College are likely to provide opportunities to pursue those skills:
Social sciences, like sociology, economics, and political science, especially upper-level courses that explore society in depth.
- History, especially American history
- American Government
- Introduction to Psychology
Writing-courses in any area are strongly recommended, particularly courses (like literature courses) that require extensive reading, such as ENGL 301 Advanced Composition and ENGL 220 English Grammar and Usage.
ENGL 108 Oral English and drama courses
Analysis of Problems
- Math, computer science, and science courses provide significant mental and analytical training.
- Upper-level courses and seminars in any discipline are focused on problem-solving.
- Philosophy and religion courses, especially upper-level courses, offer considerable benefits in this area.