Advising

Pre-law advising is currently undergoing a personnel restructure. We will update this page as we have more information.

Choosing a Major

If you are considering applying for admission to law school, you will make the most of your undergraduate experiences and find the whole application process much easier if you continuously reevaluate your goals (including why you want to go to law school and are considering becoming an attorney) organize your efforts, keep accurate records, monitor your files, and utilize all resources of this office, including continuous meetings with a pre-law advisor

If you think law school is in your future, your undergraduate career should fit your personal talents and interests as well as demonstrate academic rigor. Unlike a pre-medical curriculum, most law schools are not necessarily impressed by “law” related courses taken at the undergraduate level, as they are vastly different from those offered in law school. Focusing on “law” courses as an undergraduate may not allow the breadth and depth of challenging course work otherwise available – and may result in a less enjoyable undergraduate experience.

Law schools do not, as a rule, have specific academic requirements for admission, but they are usually impressed by applicants who can demonstrate that they have challenged themselves in a diverse course of study. Since law school admission is extremely competitive, it is important to compile a strong undergraduate record. Plan to take courses of genuine interest to you, as your best performance should result. With the complexity of legal issues today, both nationally and internationally, a broad liberal arts curriculum is the preferred preparation for law school.

Students enter law school from widely differing educational and experiential backgrounds. As undergraduates, some have majored in subjects considered to be traditional paths to law school:

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • English
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • International Relations

Other successful law students have focused their undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as:

  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Music

Your choice of an undergraduate major is less important than the development of important skills and values that can be acquired prior to law school, including:

  • Analytic and problem-solving skills
  • Critical reading abilities
  • Writing skills
  • Oral communication and listening abilities
  • General research skills
  • Organization and management skills
  • The values of serving the interests of others while promoting justice
  • Foreign language skills

Types of knowledge that can be useful in resolving disputes include:

  • Grounding in economics
  • Broad understanding of history
  • Fundamental understanding of political thought
  • Basic mathematic and financial skills
  • Basic understanding of human behavior
  • Basic understanding of ethical theory and theories of justice
  • Understanding of diverse cultures within the United States and international issues – consider studying abroad!
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an overall interest in helping others

First Year

  • Start by taking classes of interest to you. Be sure to explore a variety of different majors and fields. Keep in mind that there is no preferred major to gain admission to law school.
  • Consider joining organizations that address your particular interests. Remember that an extracurricular activity may be considered in the admission process if it is something you are passionate about, have committed a significant and longstanding amount of time to, and/or have obtained a leadership position in.
  • Consider a summer opportunity in a legal setting, or in a field you think you may pursue in practice as an attorney. Even if you are not directly working on legal issues in the field, gaining experience from various perspectives can only make you a better attorney.
  • Take advantage of programming events offered by this office, which will be promoted via our listserv. If you are not registered on our listserv, you may do so via our website.
  • Make an appointment with an advisor to address questions pertaining to your future pre-law application.

Second Year

  • If you did not do so first year, consider a summer opportunity in a legal setting, or in a field in which you think you may pursue in practice as an attorney. Working in a legal setting will provide greater exposure to the profession, allowing you to witness a “day in the life” of an attorney – giving you a better idea of whether or not it is for you.
  • If you are interested in pursuing educational options in other countries, contact the JHU Office of Study Abroad to discuss study abroad options.
  • Consider pursuing an internship during the school year. Experience in a work setting can be a more multi-dimensional experience than a class setting, can bolster your resume, and can you more marketable for future positions.
  • Attend Pre-Professional Advising events. Event notices will be provided via the office’s pre-law listserv.

Third Year

  • Study abroad! Studying abroad is a great experience, whether or not you participate in a pre-law focused program. Consider studying in a non-English speaking country and becoming fluent in another language. Being multi-lingual is an excellent skill for legal practice and in life!.
  • Consider taking time off before entering law school. The average age of a first year law student is 25 – you would be in good company! Taking a year or two off can actually bolster your law school application, as you will have all four years of grades to submit for consideration, as opposed to three. Additionally, time off will provide the opportunity to explore a field you may be interested in, be it within the legal practice realm or not, which will bolster your resume. At this time, begin exploring opportunities to apply to and pursue upon graduation.

March-May

  • Request recommendation letters from faculty members, employers, etc. Most law schools require at least two general letters of recommendation. Although LSAC will hold up to four general letters, we recommend you obtain three, preferably from faculty members. Provide each person writing a recommendation with the information and items required by LSDAS and this office. Most schools are now participating in the LSDAS Letter of Recommendation (LOR) process.
  • Sign-up for the June LSAT well before the May deadline. This is the preferred test date.
  • Prepare thoroughly for the LSAT. Your LSAT score is probably the most persuasive factor in your law school application – take the test seriously, and make every effort to do the best that you can!
  • Register with LSDAS per the instructions in the LSAT/LSDAS registration bulletin or on the website: www.lsac.org . Forward your spring transcript to LSDAS. If paying by check, be sure to write on your check exactly what it is for, and keep the canceled check when you get it back. If you pay by credit card, note the date and amount to check against your bill.

June-August

  • Take the June LSAT!
  • Research information about law schools. Refer to “Law School Admissions Statistics” to start. Make an appointment with an advisor to discuss your journey to date and future application.

Fourth Year

August-October

  • If you have not yet done so, now is the time to make a pre-law advising appointment.
  • Attend programming events. Event notices will be provided via the office’s pre-law listserv. Sign up for the September/October LSAT well before the deadline, if you did not take the June LSAT.
  • If a Dean’s Form/Certification is required by a law school to which you apply, please forward each individual law school form to studentconduct@jhu.edu from your JHU email.
  • If you are applying for financial aid, get the form, fill it out, and mail it in. Keep a copy of this form upon completion. Read individual school requirements for financial aid very carefully as changes in federal regulations can have an impact on the forms required.
  • After receiving your application forms, write your basic essay(s). Take it to the Writing Center for review. Keep in mind the basics: length should be 2 to 2.5 pages, double-spaced, 11 or 12 size font.
  • Submit an updated resume with all law school applications. Register with the Life Design Lab to learn how to write a resume.

October-November

  • Complete applications. Utilize LSAC to the fullest extent. It is an efficient way to complete several applications.
  • An early application is the easiest way to present your strongest application, as most schools have a competitive “rolling” admission policy. Target early October as your completion date if you are meeting early action deadlines. Otherwise, target early November. Always check with individual schools to ensure that these completion guidelines are consistent with school specific deadlines to which you apply.

February-March

  • Wait. If there are any problems or questions, contact the Pre-Professional Office at preprofessional@jhu.edu.
  • If you are put on a hold or waitlisted at a school you are interested in, schedule an advising appointment to discuss strategies.

April-May

  1. Continue monitoring progress with schools. When you have been accepted to a school you wish to attend, notify other schools that have accepted you that you will not be attending.
  1. Visit the schools you have been accepted to and are considering attending!
  1. Pay deposit to the school you will be attending.

 

Please see the helpful documents below: