The Association of American Law Schools believes that the effectiveness of prelegal study cannot be advanced by prescribing courses of study or extracurricular activities. Instead, primary emphasis should be directed toward the development in prelaw students of basic skills and insights through education for comprehension and expression in words, for critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which law deals, and for creative power in thinking. This is best achieved in fields of individual interests and abilities. In addition, law touches so many phases of human activity that there is scarcely a subject which is not of value to the law student and to the lawyer. A student is therefore advised to place as much emphasis on the liberal arts as his or her own program of undergraduate study will permit; and within the outlines of that program the following should also be noted:
- Pre-Law is not a major in that students cannot receive a degree in pre-law. Since virtually all law schools now require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree, students are advised to select a major in the academic area in which they would like to obtain a degree.
- The following subjects are common baccalaureate majors and minors among pre-law students: Accounting, Anthropology, Economics, English, History, Life or Physical Science, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Speech Communication.
- The essential ability to think precisely and exactly is most likely to be acquired through courses in Logic, Mathematics, the Natural Sciences and Philosophy.
- Courses in English composition and Public Speaking develop the power of clear and well-ordered expression. Courses in which students receive intensive faculty critiques of their writing skills are highly recommended. Preparation in composition is essential and preparation in public speaking is of great value.
- The fields of History (particularly English and American History), Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology are important to an appreciation of human institutions and values and their relation to law.
- An understanding of financial statements and of elementary accounting principles has almost indispensable. In the changing face of the law office, knowledge of technology is imperative.
- There are opportunities in special types of practice for those who concentrate in particular fields, such as Agriculture, Business Administration, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering or Physics, before entering law school.
- To practice law in the courts of any state, a person must be licensed, or admitted to its bar, under rules established by the state’s Supreme Court. To qualify for the bar exam in most states, the applicant must complete at least three years of college and graduate from a law school approved by the American Bar Association. The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is generally required for admission to a college of law. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading comprehension and analytical, logical, and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants. The LSAT also requires a writing sample.