Before you enroll in law school, you must earn a bachelor's degree. You want to major in a field that will help you prepare for law school, but still be able to depend on your undergraduate degree for employment. Many undergraduate degrees can get you into law school and lead to a successful legal career.
You do not have to major in one particular degree program to become a lawyer. Lawyers have various types of undergraduate majors, including business, economics, humanities, pre-law, science and political science. Also, consider pursuing an undergraduate degree that is similar to the type of law you hope to practice. For example, if you will be working as a prosecutor, you may want to major in criminal justice. If you want to work with bankruptcy law, a business or finance major works well.
Courses to Take
Although not required, courses that emphasize reasoning, analysis, debate, logical reasoning, persuasive writing and rhetoric are a good fit for a student interested in pursuing a law degree. These courses will help you to develop the skill set necessary to be admitted to a good law program and to be a successful attorney.
Several bachelor's programs are available to students who want a head start on learning about the legal system, depending on your university. These options include pre-law, legal studies, criminal justice, forensics and law enforcement. Several certificate or associate's degree programs are available, such as paralegal studies, court reporting, court translation, legal secretary and legal assistant programs.
Although the courses you will be required to take as a pre-law major will vary from one college to the next, you can expect to take courses on constitutional law, politics, history and logic. Additional courses may encompass subjects such as criminology, philosophy, sociology, ethics and civil rights. You may also benefit from taking courses in legal subtopics, such as taxation and accounting.
Even if your college does not offer a pre-law major, you can benefit from being part of a pre-law advising program. Through this program, you will meet with an adviser who will recommend courses that will help you develop the skills necessary to achieve in law school. She will also help you in determining to which law schools you should apply.
Memberships and Volunteer Work
While you pursue your undergraduate degree, don't forget the importance of involvement in school activities. Join a pre-law club or the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. Ask your career services department for information on internships or summer jobs. Contact a public-service law firm or non-profit organization to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.