Q. Does Puget Sound have a pre-law major or a prescribed set of pre-law courses?
A. No. Nor does any law school favor particular academic majors. We urge students to pursue a liberal arts education in a discipline of interest to them. The best pre-law preparation comes from enrollment in a rigorous undergraduate curriculum that will challenge you and force you to hone your abilities to reason, write, speak and do research effectively. We do not recommend particular courses as essential to law school preparation.
Q. Should I major in Politics and Government? Should I take every course I can find with “law” in the title?
A. You should choose your major according to your interests and talents. While the P&G major is excellent at Puget Sound and serves very well as preparation for law school, this is not so much because of the substantive relevance of political science to law as because P&G majors read a great deal, write many papers, and are challenged by their professors to reason analytically and defend their arguments. To the extent that any major at Puget Sound does these things (we have seen many students enter law school from business, history, economics, English, physics, chemistry, music, philosophy, religion, comparative sociology and communication studies majors, for example), it is good preparation for law school. No single major offers the “best” preparation for law school.
Q. What courses should I take if I am interested in corporate (or criminal, or environmental, or any specialty in the) law?
A. If you have strong interests in business that might lead you toward corporate law, by all means take courses in economics and business. Likewise, if you have an interest in environmental issues that might lead you toward environmental law, by all means take courses from Puget Sound’s environmental policy and decision making program. But remember that there is no prescribed set of courses that leads to any particular “track” through law school. Law schools do not admit students to particular tracks, in fact; rather, they take first-year law students through a relatively standard set of courses before offering them the opportunity to specialize in their second and third years. Cultivate your own interests while an undergraduate, but not because of any special advantage you hope to gain in admission or completion of law school requirements.
Q. When should I begin working on the law school admission process?
A. Students planning to go straight from Puget Sound to law school should begin their planning and research in the latter part of the junior year. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is offered four times a year. Many students will sit for the June administration immediately following the junior year so as to be ready to put together their application materials over the summer and in the early fall of the senior year. Students may wait to take the late September/early October LSAT early in their senior year and still make most deadlines, but waiting gives them little margin for error on the LSAT.
Law school admission deadlines range from November priority deadlines to regular deadlines in January, February, March and April, and some schools use rolling deadlines. Since the real work of getting admitted to law school doesn’t begin until late in the junior year at the earliest, first and second year students should worry less about “positioning” themselves for law school and more about taking good courses, earning good grades, and sampling broadly from Puget Sound’s curricular menu.
Q. What resources does Puget Sound have available for prospective law students?
A. All students are welcome to visit the Academic Advising and Career and Employment Services offices, which house a number of law school resources. The key resources include The Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, published by the ABA and the Law School Admission Council, and the Law School Admission Information Book. The former gives basic admission information on all 200 ABA-approved law schools in the U.S., while the latter gives basic information on preparing for and taking the LSAT. When students reach junior standing and begin their search in earnest, they should make an appointment with a pre-law advisor or a counselor in Academic Advising for further assistance in identifying and applying to law schools.