Wright State University has neither a pre-law department nor a pre-law major. However, law schools accept applicants with a wide variety of majors; in fact, the strongest applicants to law schools are not pre-law majors, but are instead people who major in such subjects as Math, English, Philosophy, and Economics. Some of the issues that arise in choosing classes are discussed below.
What is the best pre-law major?
There is no "best" pre-law major. According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC): "No particular major, course of study, or kind of bachelor's degree is required for admission to law school. Virtually all law schools will consider a variety of majors and look closely at an applicant's overall background before reaching an admission decision. What matters most is that you do progressively well in challenging courses, courses that require you to synthesize information."
What are the skills I must develop for law school?
According to the LSAC, the kind of skills you must develop for law school "...include effective oral and written communication, analytical reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Your undergraduate education should include courses in which those skills were required. In general, you should use your undergraduate education as an opportunity to explore and work on your intellectual development. It's not necessary to take law-related courses as an undergraduate. Law schools don't care what you know about the law when you arrive; they care about how well you can write and analyze problems."
What courses will help me develop my oral and written communication skills?
English courses are highly recommended. You need an excellent knowledge of English grammar and composition. More generally, try to choose courses that include a significant writing component. Courses designated as "writing intensive" should include such a component.
Learning a foreign language will help you master your own. You might also want to consider taking some Latin courses, as a lot of legal terminology is in Latin and, also, learning Latin will help you expand your English vocabulary significantly.
For oral communication skills, look for courses that include oral presentations and consider taking COM 232: Argumentation & Debate.
What courses will help me develop my analytical reasoning skills and problem-solving skills?
Ideally, all of your courses at WSU will help you develop your analytical reasoning skills, but you should make a conscious effort to do so. Courses in Philosophy and Math can be particularly useful in this regard.
Are there other skills I need to develop?
Many law schools teach very little about the mechanics of the legislative and judicial processes. It will be useful for you to have some background knowledge of American governmental institutions and process, particularly from courses in History and Political Science.
Legal education includes the study of business law and tax law. It will be advantageous for you to have some knowledge of business finance. Courses in Economics, Accounting and other business courses can be very useful. Liberal Arts majors often say that they wish they had taken more business-related courses to prepare for Contracts, Property, and Tax courses in law school.
According to the ABA's statement on "Preparation for a Legal Education," potential law students should possess: "A broad understanding of history, particularly American History, and the various factors (social, political, economic, and cultural) that have influenced the development of the pluralistic society that presently exists in the United States; a fundamental understanding of political thought and theory, and of the contemporary American political system; a basic understanding of ethical theory and theories of justice; a grounding in economics, appropriate to the profession itself; some basic mathematical and financial skills, such as an understanding of basic pre-calculus, mathematics and an ability to analyze financial data; a basic understanding of human behavior and social interaction; and an understanding of diverse cultures within and beyond the United States."
List of Recommended WSU Courses
Given the information above, you should be able to construct your own list of courses you need to take. The following list is not meant to be "the list" of courses for you to take. You may take as many or as few of these courses as you like—they are neither a pre-law program nor prerequisites for law school. Remember, you must fulfill the degree requirements of your major. The requirements for each major is different, so be sure to discuss the requirements of your chosen major with your academic advisor.
- ACC 2010, 2020: Accounting Principles I, II
- COM 3330: Persuasion and Rhetorical Theory
- EC 2020: Principles of Microeconomics
- EC 2050: Principles of Macroeconomics
- EC 3510: Labor Markets
- EC 4200: Law and Economics
- ENG 2100: Intermediate Composition
- FIN 2210, 3110: Financial Management I, II
- FIN 4140: Real Estate Law
- FIN 4260: Estate Planning
- LAW 3000: The Legal Environment of Business
- LAW 4300: Legal Aspects of the Workplace
- PHL 2150: Inductive Logic
- PHL 3000: Critical Thinking
- PHL 3110: Ethics
- PHL 3200: Symbolic Logic I
- PHL 3780: Ethics and Medicine
- PHL 4140: Philosophy of Law
- PLS 3400: Law and Society
- PLS 3420, 3430: Civil Liberties I, II
- PLS 4360: Criminal Law
- PLS 4370: Criminal Procedure
- PLS 4380: Environmental Law and Policy
- PLS 4390: Bioethics and Law
- PLS 4400: Constitutional Law
- PLS 4420: The American Criminal Justice System
- PLS 4430: Administrative Law Procedure
- PLS 4710: International Law
- PLS 4820: Legislative Internship