I'm considering law school in the future, but I definitely haven't committed to it yet. Is it a good idea to specialize in pre-law in college to signal to law schools that I'm serious? Or would it be a better idea to major in English or gov or poli-sci or history or IR (which all have a little more flexibility)?

Answers

Scarlet Michaelson, English and Writing Teacher

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You can major in whatever you want and go to law school! I have a friend who majored in Theater and then went to law school and became a lawyer. This was considered an unusual move but actually, if you're a trial attorney or an attorney who goes to court only occasionally, then it makes sense. My advice is to major in a subject that you're interested in (and can achieve good grades in) while also taking an elective here or there that signals an interest in law (such as Public Speaking or Writing Persuasively). Do well on your LSATs, and you're all set if you do decide to go the law school route. Best of luck to you!

Amanda Morris, College Professor, Writer, Advisor, Writing Coach

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Great question and I applaud your willingness to consider your options. As an English professor, I have seen several students move on to law school and have a few professional friends who started out as English majors and then went to either law or medical school. English is a fantastic and flexible major for your future law school aspirations. Consider the transferable skills you gain as an English or Writing major:

Strong written communication skills in any environment Ability to formulate sound, reasonable arguments backed by evidence Ability to analyze arguments Problem-solving Research skills Ability to self-start - many assignments ask you to make your own choices, which means you will have experience making your own decisions in a slightly higher stakes environment (graded work) Familiarity with internet environments (including, very often, the ability to write and produce content for those environments) Ability to think creatively AND critically about social & cultural problems and issues Ability to negotiate decisions with groups (teams are essential parts of most organizations’ structures and groupwork remains a key component in many composition and rhetoric classrooms) Ability to work collaboratively on projects Ability to proofread and edit

Obviously, I'm biased because I was an English major and I am a professor in an English department. But consider the skills and abilities I've outlined. Those are real. I've seen students succeed in law and many other environments because they have these skills and abilities. Choosing English or Writing or another humanities field as your major will make you a better candidate for law school and the legal profession.

Keith Scheuer, Attorney

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Major in something in which you will get excellent grades and is academically rigorous. Law schools care about high GPAs, especially in difficult courses of study. I went to law school with people whose undergraduate majors included mathematics, physics, electrical engineering, pre-med, English, history and virtually every other topic under the sun. The one thing they had in common was a successful undergraduate track record. Pre-law is a neutral major; if you excel at it, law schools will notice. If you are a mediocre pre-law major, law schools will notice that as well.

Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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Hi, I remember asking this same question when I was a senior in high school. While I didn't follow a law school path, I do remember advice that a few lawyers gave me then, and it still makes sense to me now. They advised me to major in History or Political Science, fields that would give me content knowledge that I could build on in law school and draw from in a practice.

Interestingly enough, journalists gave me the same advice should I have followed in their career path!

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