Is a bachelor's in legal studies the most valuable undergraduate program before law school? This is the question most students ask while charting their college education through to law school, which in America is preceded by an undergraduate degree. While the debate goes on about what might be the most valuable undergraduate program, most students are still searching for an answer that will give them a head start on their legal career while still in college.
The American Bar Association's Stance
The American Bar Association, the country's most prestigious law association and the one that accredits law schools, says that there isn't one undergraduate major that will provide students with a better chance at getting into law school before another. In fact, the association makes it clear that students who attend law school come from all education backgrounds, including STEM subjects, business, nursing, and education. Having a bachelor's in legal studies, in the view of the ABA, is not the most valuable undergraduate program for entry into law school, no matter what many schools may say.
Factors Leading to Law School Acceptance
Why does the ABA state that a bachelor's of legal studies isn't the most valuable program? That's because there are a variety of factors that play into what would demonstrate a student's ability as a lawyer. Instead, most law schools focus on the core skills that a student has that is necessary for becoming a lawyer. These include analytic and problem-solving, interpersonal, general research, and critical thinking skills. This is demonstrated through a student's LSAT score, their scores throughout their undergraduate career, and their extracurricular activities, ensuring that everyone, even those who chose not to major in legal studies, is eligible to be accepted into law school.
Undergraduate Majors for Law School
There are some undergraduate majors that may be as valuable or even more valuable than legal studies. Philosophy, for example, requires a great deal of criticism through term papers, allowing students to demonstrate their ability to understand a theory and either defend or support it through writing skills. Economics, psychology, and business are also great choices because they require a student to demonstrate interpersonal and research skills in a way that many other undergraduate majors do not; however, any graduate major can be used in order to apply for law school.
Not all Legal Studies Programs are Equal
If a student chooses to pursue a legal studies program at the bachelor's level, it is critical to find one that fits the needs of law school; that is, a program that requires copious amounts of reading and written criticism as well as research opportunities. Some schools even offer practice-based experiences for legal studies majors, such as unique courses in tort law, constitutional law, and the ability to engage in case studies. Because there is no set standard for legal studies as a major, students are encouraged to do the research to ensure the program will prepare them for graduate study.
It can be confusing to find a program that will help a student excel in law school, but it is not impossible. For students who ask, is a bachelor's in legal studies the most valuable undergraduate program before law school, the answer is simple: it can be, but research before committing to a program.