Preparing for Law School
Preparing for law school can be a complex process without the right help. The resources within these pages can help you prepare for law school, no matter what your year, and set yourself up to have a highly competitive law school application.
What do law schools want you to take?
- Law schools are looking for applicants who have performed well in taking a challenging curriculum, so potential applicants are encouraged to take classes that will offer them a challenge and force them to tackle difficult material. Law school will push you intellectually, so you will benefit from being in such environments as often as possible.
- Law school requires intensive writing, reading, and critical thinking, so students should seek writing intensive courses, courses that require extensive reading of material that is difficult to navigate (such as literature, philosophy, or law), and classes that push you to critically evaluate your beliefs and assumptions. The more classes of these classes you take, the better your critical reading and writing skills will be, and the better you will do in law school.
- Law schools are also looking for applicants with a diverse base of knowledge across disciplines. The liberal arts education provided by PLU is specifically designed to give students this diverse background through the general education requirements. However, potential applicants should further diversity their curriculum by taking courses in the hard sciences, humanities, and social sciences regardless of their major.
What don't law schools want you to take?
- Law schools don’t necessarily like students whose undergraduate curriculums focus on learning the law. The purpose of law school is to learn the theory and practice of law, so the schools do not expect you to already know the material before you arrive. Thus, you do not need to take every class with “law” in the title. If a class seems interesting, then you should take it to learn the content but not to attempt to demonstrate proficiency in the law.
- Law schools do not look for students who have dedicated their life to “law”; rather, they are looking for students who can handle the rigors of law school and have a passion or intellectual interest for which a law degree will be useful.
- To re-emphasize: law schools do not expect you to be proficient in the law before arriving and thus do not necessarily use “law” classes as a signal of future success; they look for student who have succeeded in challenging courses, have critical thinking, writing, and reading skills, and have the perseverance to handle the pressure and challenge of getting a law degree.
What classes will help prepare me?
- No particular class will get you into law school or help you succeed; rather, then entire body of your coursework should push you to develop the skills important for law school.
- Classes, in any discipline, that require extensive writing, challenge you to read and comprehend difficult material, and push you to think critically will help you in law school.
- Classes that require you to develop your skills in written and oral argumentation and teach you to structure logical arguments.
- Classes with expose you to diversity in topics, people, perspectives, and approaches to understanding.
What classes at PLU should I take?
- While any class that challenges you develops your reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, the follow classes may be particularly helpful:
- 228 Social and Political Philosophy
- 233 Formal Logic
- 328 Philosophical Issue in the Law
- 221 Research and Writing
- 231 Introductory Statistics
- Political Science
- 371 Judicial Process
- 372 Constitutional Law
- 373 Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
What extracurricular activities should I do?
- Law schools look for students who show ambition, initiative, and drive. Extracurricular activities can help signal those characteristics; however, the best extracurricular activities are those that align with your interests and serve to reinforce the interests that you express through your studies.
- Extracurricular activities enhance an application when the demonstrate a passion and high level of commitment, so a good general rule is that a smaller number of activities that you stick with over a long period of time will be more impressive than a lot of activities that you only stick with for a brief time period. Committing to a large number of activities and them abandoning them quickly can actually be a negative signal to law schools.
- Extracurricular activities need not be law related; participation in any sort of activities serve to signal law schools that you are committed and passionate and can provide a unique opportunity. So, don’t feel obligated to abandon your passion for something that seems to “fit” the law better. You can make the law work with your interests!
Should I do an Internship in Law?
- Absolutely! Internships are an excellent way to gain experience and knowledge about the law and explore whether law school is the path for you.
- Many people possess vague and inaccurate notions of the practice of law stemming from television and book; internships allow you to get genuine exposure and an more accurate perception of what practicing law entails.
- To get information on internships opportunities visit PLU’s Career Connections.
How can I gain more information?
- Plan on attending one of PLU’s regular law school information sessions. Each semester, PLU bring experts to campus to give presentations on what you need to know if you’re apply for law school and considering law as a career. Look for announcements across campus.
- Attend one of the law fairs at UPS or UW in November every year and meet with law school admissions officers from schools around the country.
- Join the Pre-Law email list and receive regular updates on events such as law school preview days, law fairs, speaker.
- To join: send an email to email@example.com with the subject: LISTSERV: Pre-Law