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Preparing for Law School
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Preparing for Law School: Planning your Hofstra Curriculum

As an undergraduate student considering a career in law you must keep in mind that pre-law is not a “major.” The Juris Doctor (J.D.) is a graduate degree; it normally takes J.D. candidates three years to complete the law school curriculum. Law schools typically require entering students to have a bachelor's degree, but beyond the B.A., there are no specific requirements for admission into law school. You may choose a major from any of the undergraduate degree options that are offered at Hofstra University. There is no preferred major for students who want to become lawyers. Instead, students interested in law should aim to major in areas that will help them develop skills that will best train them for law school. These include:

  • analytical reasoning,
  • critical thinking,
  • close-reading (critically examining facts and details in text)
  • written and oral communication,
  • understanding of the structures of society and government,
  • research,
  • Organization and time management.

The best undergraduate preparation for law school will involve choosing a major that relates best to your own interests and abilities and that helps develop the kinds of skills necessary for success in law school. Choose whatever major is right for you and in addition, include elective courses that will enhance specific skills and knowledge. It is also important to seek out challenging and rigorous courses and instructors; these are the classroom experiences that will benefit you most in the long you’re your Advisement Dean and the Pre-Law Advisor will be happy to discuss choice of major with you; they may also refer you to other campus resources available to help you make the right decision.

| Suggested Courses | Pre-Law Timetable | Financing your Law Education |

Suggested Courses, Majors and Minors for Hofstra Pre-Law Students:

Students should major in anything that they excel at and enjoy. By doing this, their grades are more likely to be higher, which will improve their chances of being accepted into the school of their choice. In addition, it gives them other options if they decide to forgo law school. Majors that may be beneficial to general law school preparation include Political Science, English, History and Philosophy. There are a number of minors that may help accentuate a student’s preparedness for Law School. Examples would include Legal Studies, English, and Philosophy of Law. There are very few areas of law that require a specific undergraduate degree. Patent Law, for example, would require a major in Engineering or Chemistry. Tax Law would require an undergraduate major in Business, specifically in Accounting. If students are interested in litigation, they might want to concentrate on Communications as a major, particularly in Public Speaking. Students are encouraged to meet regularly with the pre-law advisor to discuss their major exploration.

There is no set pattern of courses for a pre-law student. Students will find courses that emphasize reading comprehension, analysis, and writing useful. Courses that may prove particularly useful are the Legal Studies in Business course options, Psychology of Law and Philosophy 150: Introduction to Practical Logic. Your Advisement dean can help you find courses that will best prepare you to get into, and succeed, in law school.

Hofstra’s Center for University Advisement- Pre-Law Timeline

The Pre-law timeline was created using resources from Hofstra’s Center for University Advisement and from Powerscore’s: LAW SCHOOL APPLICATION TIMELINE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with their Advisement dean and the Pre-health advisor to discuss a more personalized timeline and other plans for law school preparation.

1-First Year/Sophomore Year
  • Meet with your Advisement Dean and the Pre-Law Advisor to explore the requirements of entering law school.
  • Start thinking about a major.
  • Develop strong and effective study skills.
  • Start exploring various areas of the law that you find appealing. Some options are speaking with a variety of lawyers, doing internships and internet exploration.
  • Become involved with the pre-law society.
  • Work on enhancing your strengths while improving your weaknesses. You can work on enhancing your organizational/time management skills, your research strategies, and on your written and oral communication skills. Read more, do crossword puzzles to increase your vocabulary and practice games of logic.
  • Connect with the Career Center (link to it) for internship opportunities.
  • Attend events held by the Pre-Law society.
  • Attend workshops offered by University Advisement.
  • Get involved with extracurricular activities at Hofstra and its surrounding community.
  • Keep track of your experiences and accomplishments and collect samples of your work for future use in preparing your admissions application.
2-Junior/Senior Year
  • Meet with the pre-law advisor for a discussion of the application process including: LSAT test preparation, which preparation option to use, when to take the test and how to file for the LSAT/LSDAS.
  • Periodically meet with your advisement dean to ensure a timely degree process and discuss questions that may arise.
  • Continue explorations of all areas of law.
  • Consider an internship related to law, or a clerical position at a law firm.
  • Start focusing on your options regarding law school: which school is the best for your interest and which schools are known for their excellence in the field that you want to pursue.
  • Continue to develop relationships and gain experiences with faculty and other personnel that will help strengthen your application through committees, internships, clubs, etc.
  • Start thinking about who to ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Identify factors important to you in your choice of schools (small/large, rural/urban, Northeast/South/West, etc.) Develop a rough list of the schools you think you want to explore further.
  • Start thinking about what you would like to include on your personal statement.
  • Organize, prepare, and complete your applications carefully. Apply early if possible. The earlier you apply, the better your chances.
  • Decide when to have transcripts sent to the schools of interest and what their admissions timeline or process is.
  • Try to be patient. Most decisions, unless you applied early, will be made from January on into the late spring of your senior year.

Financing your Law Education

In addition to the websites of the individual law schools, the following sites may prove helpful.

Keep in mind that the law school you plan to attend is the primary source of information regarding money for legal education.

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