All those interested in completing a pre-law concentration in legal history should first contact Dr. H. Robert Baker, the department’s pre-law advisor, and make an appointment. It is imperative to think about how your course selections will work to prepare you both for law school and the world beyond. Meeting with Dr. Baker will enable you to think about how you are designing your own course of study and what you hope to get out of it.
In the process of choosing the courses that will best prepare you for law school, it is important to consider larger goals. The American Bar Association does not recommend any single undergraduate major or group of courses to prepare for law school. Rather, the ABA recommends that you challenge yourself as an undergraduate and take courses that develop the following core skills:
• Analytic/Problem Solving Skills
• Critical Reading
• Writing Skills
• Oral Communication/Listening Abilities
• General Research Skills
• Task Organization/Management Skills
• Public Service and Promotion of Justice
An undergraduate major in history emphasizes these skills—particularly the development of analytic, critical reading, general research and writing skills, and oral communication/listening abilities. We also help students obtain internships and connect with organizations that will expose students to the legal world and the realm of public service.
It is most important that undergraduates interested in law school distinguish themselves. Simply “getting through” school and taking the “right courses” will not be enough. The following are crucial to developing the proper undergraduate study for law school:
• You must work to get good grades.
• You must challenge yourself in your selection of classes to develop the skills listed above.
• You must develop close relationships with professors in order to get good letters of recommendation.
• Your transcript should include a variety of experiences, activities, and academic honors.
You should take charge of your curriculum at a very early stage and explore different subjects and begin to plan which courses you would like to take in order to pursue intellectual subjects of your choosing in a substantive manner. To this end, a curriculum plan should be worked out with the department’s pre-law advisor.