Pre-Law at Union College
Thinking about law school?
Below you will find some preliminary answers to frequently asked questions that can help you take the initial steps in deciding whether law school is right for you, whether you are on the right track to get there, and how to get started in the admissions process.
What should I major (or minor) in?
Law schools do not look for specific majors or even specific classes. Rather, they look for students with a strong academic track record in their chosen major. Union students from all majors have gone on to law school so you should choose a major that you find engaging and that will allow you to develop intellectually.
Success in law school will require strong analytical, reading, and writing skills so developing these while at Union will be important. This can be accomplished by taking courses with strong analytical components (e.g. PHL 125 Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking), rich textual analysis (e.g. PSC 370 Constitutional Law; EGL 260 James Joyce), and through your Writing Across the Curriculum classes.
How can I determine if law school is right for me?
First, Union offers a variety of law related classes, which can be useful to see if you enjoy reading legal cases, engaging in legal analysis, exploring legal history, studying legal institutions and jurisprudence, etc. For a list of these classes, visit here. Second, the Becker Career Center can help you identify and pursue legal internships that will provide day-to-day first hand experience. Additionally, some majors, like political science, offer internships for credit and have placed past students in the district attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, and with a variety of legal advocacy groups. Third, you can speak with the College’s prelaw advisor to explore professional options that correspond to graduate legal education.
Are there any other ways to prepare for law school?
Yes! First, write…a lot. Law school is writing intensive and the stronger you become as a writer, the better off you will be in law school. Writing is not just something for your classes. It takes time to refine the craft and the more practice you have the better. Consider writing for the Concordiensis, The Idol, or one of the informal writing groups on campus. One of the best ways to improve your own writing is to teach writing to others so, if eligible, consider working for the Writing Center.
Second, build relationships. One of the many advantages of attending Union is that you have regular, easy access to professors in classes and outside of them. Not only can this access help you grow intellectually and develop critical skills but it also matters for what professors can write about when it comes time to draft letters of recommendation. Highly developed letters (the kind that can be written when a professor really knows you) make a big difference in the admissions process.
Beyond professors, take advantage of Union’s alumni network and its networking events. From the Prelaw Society to the Becker Career Center, there are regular opportunities to meet Union alumni who pursued law school, practiced law, and/or used their law degree in other professions. Talking to these alums can bring invaluable perspective, advice, and connections.
What else will I need to do to apply to law school?
The biggest requirement is taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Students who are planning to go to law school directly after Union typically take the LSAT either in the summer before their senior year or early in the fall term of their senior year. More information about the LSAT can be found here.
What do I need to do to apply to law school?
If you have reached the point where you are getting ready to apply to law school, you should contact Prof. Hays, the College’s prelaw advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and explore the LSAC webpage for more resources on the application process.