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Frequently Asked Questions for Pre-Law Students 

Pre-law is not a formal major at Rice. The expression "pre-law" is used as a convenient way to describe all training, studies, and experience which precede formal law study. It should not be viewed as underemphasizing the importance of undergraduate work, nor as implying that such work is a mere preparation for the study of law. The success and effectiveness of your legal training depend upon the breadth and depth of your cultural and intellectual background and experience; they must not be underemphasized. Students who plan to enter law school would be wise, therefore, to take traditional and demanding academic courses.


1. What are the requirements for admission to law school?

A bachelor's degree with any courses or major. No particular courses are specified nor is there a preferred major.

2. What do law schools ask of an applicant beyond the fact that they have a degree?

First, a high grade point average (GPA) and a strong score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Beyond that they look for a program of study that was designed to develop basic skills and insights in a. comprehension and expression in words, the ability to think deductively, inductively, and by analogy, and creative power in thinking.

Schools also want “interesting” students who have demonstrated a passion in life that externally focused and beyond themselves. This is done in the personal statement.

3. Which courses should I take to develop these basic skills?

No specific courses are required; however, anyone entering the legal profession should have the ability to easily communicate both verbally and in writing. Courses with a strong writing component are, therefore, recommended. Generally, basic accounting courses are useful as well as the Economics and Philosophy of the Law courses offered at Rice. Legal courses in history, political science, or anthropology can provide a historical overview to law which is usually not given in law school.

4. As a Pre-law student, what criteria should I use in selecting a major?

The best guide is your own interest, passion, and ability. Major in a field that interests you, you enjoy, and in which you can express your passion. You will make better grades in subjects you like. That is important. Also, if you get no fun or inspiration from your studies, you are probably in the wrong field. Look beyond your major, however, to your other course selections. You should also select distribution and elective courses that contribute to your vision of your curriculum.

5. How important are extracurricular activities?

This varies from law school to law school but they are generally not a major consideration in admission to most law schools. However, reasonable participation in campus activities can help you develop valuable communication, social, and logical skills.

 

6. What resources are available to research law schools? 

A good place to start researching law schools is the ABA- LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, where you will find valuable information on each school's programs, as well as statistics on grade-point averages and Law School Admission Test scores for its last entering class. Each school also provides a section on its financial aid resources, employment opportunities, bar passage rates, and a breakdown of its enrollment by ethnicity. This information is available online at LSAC.org.

 

7. How should I prepare for the LSAT?

LSAC provides previously disclosed tests and other test preparation materials. It is advisable to take the LSAT only when you are fully prepared. When LSAC sends out LSAT scores to law schools, ALL test scores are sent, along with an average. In evaluating your application, some schools will use the average score, some will consider the highest score. 

 

8. What is the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and do I need to register for this? 

The CAS provides law schools with an analysis of your academic work and a record of your LSAT scores. As an applicant, you are required to register for the CAS and have your colleges send a transcript directly to the service. A copy of the transcript, along with the analysis and LSAT scores summary, will then be sent to each law school you apply to.

 

9. When should I apply to law school?

You should be ready to apply by mid-fall, a year before you plan on entering law school. Here are some tips: In august, a year before you plan to attend, you should browse websites for information on particular law schools and sign up for the CAS, which includes electronic applications. If you did not take the LSAT in June, sign up for the September/October LSAT. Some schools will accept the December and the February LSAT. Please check with the individual schools. You should also start preparing your resume and personal statement. 

 

10. Should I request an interview or visit the law schools to which I am applying?

With a few exceptions, in general, law schools do not grant interviews. While they do encourage visits, these may or may not have an impact on admission. It is best to check a particular school's website to learn about its procedures. Visiting a law school is a great way to meet current law students and to get a general idea of the environment at the school. Most schools offer tours and or informational sessions.