Best Majors to Prepare for Law School

Best Majors to Prepare for Law School

8 minute read

While some students go to college knowing that they’re going to major in “pre-med,” there’s not really a comparable major for “pre-law.” So what can you do if you know you want to apply to law school after undergrad? 

Start by choosing a major that will boost your law school application and help you develop the skills you’ll need to take the LSATs. No single major guarantees law school acceptance, but with the majors listed below, you’ll cultivate the skills and understanding that can help you on your way to a J.D.

6 Critical Skills to Develop Through Your Course of Study

The journey to law school is an exciting endeavor. While most schools prioritize your LSAT scores and application, your undergraduate major can play a huge role in preparing you for life in law school and your legal career. 

The emphasis on skills acquired as an undergrad extends beyond your chosen major to focus on your academic journey itself. Let’s examine how specific majors can uniquely contribute to your development and provide you with a valuable edge toward a legal career.

1. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills are potent tools in law. To master this, you must be able to identify relevant sources, evaluate the credibility of legal materials, and skillfully combine information from different sources. The ability to think critically forms the bedrock of crafting compelling and robust legal arguments in your future career. Sharpening your critical thinking abilities during your undergraduate studies can provide a strategic advantage when navigating the complexities of law school and, ultimately, a legal career.

2. Communication

Effective communication can influence your success in various aspects of any legal practice. Solid communication allows you to articulate ideas clearly and build trusting relationships with clients and colleagues. Honing your communication skills will enhance your capacity to navigate complex scenarios and advocate convincingly in diverse legal settings.

3. Problem-Solving

The importance of problem-solving skills in law school cannot be overstated. These skills enable law students to analyze intricate legal problems and apply legal concepts to form logical conclusions. You’ll need a set of robust problem-solving abilities in your future legal practice.

4. Writing & Editing

Solid writing and meticulous editing cultivate the ability to express complex legal concepts clearly and succinctly. These skills not only contribute to effective communication within the legal profession but also play a significant role in constructing persuasive arguments.

5. Research

Nearly every legal problem requires research in both law school and beyond. The processes of fact-finding, delving into legal precedents, conducting a thorough analysis, and effectively communicating the results are fundamental to any legal career.

6. Organization and Time Management

The rigorous curriculum of law school absolutely requires outstanding organization and time management skills. You’ll need a structured approach to keep pace as you conduct in-depth analyses of intricate legal texts, statutes, and cases. 

12 Good Majors for Law School

Even though students take different paths before law school, certain majors consistently equip them with essential knowledge and skills. These majors not only provide a solid foundation but also contribute to higher LSAT scores, reflecting the development of skills necessary for the test. 

1. History

Choosing history as a major provides aspiring law students with a unique advantage in understanding the evolution of legal frameworks. Studying the contexts of historical events can reveal the evolution of laws and regulations, shedding light on the societal forces and reasoning behind legal structures. Fully understanding history also usually involves exploring landmark cases and understanding legal principles and their real-world applications.

2. Political Science

Political Science, commonly referred to as "Poly Sci," is a fantastic major for future law students due to the many inevitable connections between legislation and governance. The popularity of Political Science as a pre-law major stems from its comprehensive exploration of political behavior, government systems, and the intricacies of the judicial system. 

3. Psychology

Majoring in psychology provides insight into human behavior that’s especially useful in the legal field, where understanding and predicting behavior is essential. Lawyers are not only tasked with understanding their clients but also with anticipating the reactions of opponents during trials, making a background in psychology an enormous asset in courtroom strategy.

Moreover, the research and writing intensity inherent in a psychology major aligns seamlessly with the demands of law school. The discipline prepares you for the copious amounts of reading, research, and writing you’ll encounter later on.

4. Criminal Justice

A Criminal Justice major offers a direct pathway for aspiring law students to understand the legal system, especially for those interested in defending individuals accused of crimes. This major provides you with an in-depth exploration of court proceedings, the corrections system, and our legal framework. It also imparts a practical understanding of how the legal system functions in the context of criminal proceedings.

5. English

​​English as a major for prospective law students holds historical significance, as it’s rooted in the alignment between the skills cultivated in an English degree and the demands of legal education. The emphasis on reading, writing, and critical thinking in an English program serves as a robust foundation for the many challenges of law school. English majors not only develop proficiency in research but also hone the art of crafting persuasive arguments and defending positions in writing.

6. Economics

If you’re planning a career in economic or financial law, pursuing a major in Economics provides you with a comprehensive understanding of micro- and macroeconomics, market dynamics, and fiscal policy. This equips you with both a comprehension of how markets operate as well as insights into the broader economic implications of policies.

Beyond its impact on legal reasoning, focusing on economics enhances your logical reasoning skills, which are a significant component of success on the LSATs.

7. Philosophy

​​Philosophy majors develop the ability to articulate complex ideas with clarity and precision, a skill that proves invaluable when constructing legal arguments and engaging in persuasive communication. The emphasis on rhetoric within a philosophy major further sharpens your mastery of persuasive expression, a skill set directly transferable to both the courtroom and legal advocacy. A philosophy degree teaches aspiring lawyers to make connections between principles and cases that develop a nuanced understanding of the law.

8. Sociology

Choosing sociology as a major provides future law students with a blend of essential writing and critical thinking skills through both quantitative and qualitative reasoning — an ideal preparation for the demands of law school. Sociology's interdisciplinary nature engages students in analyzing societal structures and the complexities that underlie legal issues. The exposure to both qualitative and quantitative reasoning in sociology prepares you for future legal challenges with a versatile and analytical mindset. 

9. Communications

The rigorous requirements of a Communications major, which encompass reading, writing, research, public speaking, and negotiation, provide a comprehensive foundation essential for success in law school. A legal professional's ability to articulate ideas effectively crafted through public speaking and negotiation skills is particularly valuable in courtroom advocacy.

10. Business

A Business major provides a foundational understanding of business dynamics for those intending to practice corporate law. Those leaning toward intellectual property, tax, or real estate law will also gain valuable insights into these specific domains. Business majors master skills in communication, strategic thinking, and organizational management, all of which are essential to legal careers.

11. STEM

STEM majors are genuinely beneficial for future law students, particularly those aiming to specialize in patent law. These provide a rigorous academic foundation that emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills. STEM majors also equip students with the versatile skill set they’ll need to succeed in legal professions that intersect with scientific and technological domains. Lawyers with a STEM background have a unique advantage in patent cases as they possess an in-depth understanding of scientific principles and technological advancements. 

12. International Relations

Choosing International Relations (IR) as a major can give aspiring law students an edge by providing a deep understanding of global interactions on political, historical, and economic fronts. This interdisciplinary field emphasizes critical thinking and analytical skills, which then serve as an excellent foundation for law school. Graduates with an IR major develop a robust understanding of international dynamics, making them better equipped to navigate the complexities of international law and diplomacy.

Start Preparing for Law School With StraighterLine

Online courses, such as those offered by StraighterLine, can help you fulfill your undergraduate general education requirements so that you can focus on your major and look ahead to postgraduate studies — like law school. We have many courses that cover prerequisites or introductory-level courses for majors that are popular with law schools.

Find out more about how StraighterLine can save you both time and money in your undergraduate studies.

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