Pre-Law Advising

Hello! Welcome to the USA Pre-Law webpage. I am Dr. Ron Nelson, an Associate Professor in the University’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. I am the Pre-Law Advisor here at South. This webpage has been established as a source of information for those of you who are interested in law school and legal careers.

With respect to undergraduate preparation for law school, the American Bar Association and most law schools do not recommend any particular pre-law major as a necessary requirement for admission to law school. Instead, preparation for the study of law can best be found in courses that foster strong analytical skills, logical reasoning, and good speaking and writing skills. Here at South, a number of courses and majors—particularly in the College of Arts and Sciences—can be helpful in this preparation. I encourage students considering legal careers to tailor their studies and activities to their own individual interests and preparatory needs.

There are a number of excellent sites on the Internet regarding law and legal careers that offer assistance in individualizing pre-law studies. I suggest that you begin by looking over some of the links on this webpage. I suspect these links will have answers to some of your initial questions. Also, please feel free to discuss your questions and plans regarding a legal career with me or other members of the faculty. I as well as the university and the department are all dedicated to assisting you toward success in meeting your academic and career goals.

Ronald L. Nelson, J.D. PhD.
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice
HUMB 231
(251) 460-6725 rnelson@southalabama.edu

 

THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS

The process for applying to law schools is fairly standardized across the United States. In almost all cases applicants will apply through the Law School Admission Council. This organization is a non-profit corporation made up of 202 law schools in the United States and Canada. The LSAC is involved in a number of activities and services that relate directly to the law school admissions process. Most notable are the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the Credential Assembly Service. The LSAC has a website that provides information regarding all of its activities. I strongly suggest that all of those who may be interested in law school admission should become familiar with the LSAC and its website.

GENERAL ADVICE

There is a lot of information on the Internet regarding a wide variety of issues that relate to law school and legal careers.* Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will list a few that I think are particularly helpful. These sites will lead you to others.

American Bar Association
The National Jurist
Top-Law-School.com
FindLaw for Students
Internet Legal Research Group
How I Compare


*As with all entries on the Internet, care should be taken in assessing all comments and information.

EXAM PREPARATION RESOURCES

I strongly suggest that if you plan to attend law school you set up a program to prepare for the LSAT. Your program may be your own or in conjunction with an examination preparation course. USA periodically offers a LSAT review course through its USA LSAT prep course. The course is listed in the catalog Table of Contents under Exam Reviews and Personal Improvement.

Also, there are a number of commercial courses available. If you are interested in one of these, I suggest that you contact them directly for information on course location and cost. Some of the more well known commercial courses are:

Get Prepped
Kaplan
The Princeton Review
Testmasters
Varsity Tutors
STEPS


LAW SCHOOLS

American Bar Association List of Law Schools

USA PARALEGAL CERTIFICATION

For those interested in a legal career other than as an attorney, USA has a Legal Assistant Certificate program offered through USA Special Courses. The program is outlined in the Certificate Programs section of the USA Special Courses Catalog.

I hope these internet resources will prove helpful to you. They should serve as a starting point. In addition to surfing these websites, I encourage you to come by my office (Room 231 in the Humanities Building) to discuss your goals with respect to a legal career.