Pre-law studies and a law degree are flexible programs. While many individuals take a traditional path and become practicing attorneys, many others use their legal training to work in business or other professions. To become a licensed attorney, three years of law school is required beyond college leading to the Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
Preparation for law school is a continuous process. It involves planning an undergraduate program that develops the skills necessary for the successful study of law; learning about the law profession and career options; and participating in activities (extracurricular, volunteer, internships, related employment) that enhance and build on classroom learning.
Skills deemed most essential by law schools are written and verbal communication abilities, an organized and logical thought process, analytical reasoning, research, and strong habits of thoroughness, tenacity, and intellectual curiosity. There is no specific major or set of courses required of pre-law students. Students are advised to choose a major that features the qualities that law schools are seeking. Common majors for students interested in going on to law school are political science, philosophy, history, and English, but a student from any major can go on to law school.
Two factors play primary roles in determining admission to law schools:
- academic performance as measured by the grade point average, and
- score on the LSAT
The quality and rigor of the undergraduate program also will be considered. Minority group students are encouraged to see the pre-law advisor about making application to the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) summer institutes.
Please review the Pre-Law Fact Sheet for information about suggested experiential opportunities available to UWM students, career outlook for lawyers, and options for your major.