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What is the best undergraduate degree for someone seeking a career in law?

I wnat to be a lawyer and i am wondering what major i should get as my undergraduate bachelor degree that would best set me up for a law career #college #business #lawyer #business-administration #graduate #experience #college-student

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Mary’s Answer

Hello Shelby,

Law is one of the most diverse fields in the world because law governs every aspect of life. It governs business, international relations, the many workings of government including patents, criminal justice and taxes to name a few.

If you are seeking a career in law, you have many choices beginning at the undergraduate level. My suggestion would be to choose the area of study you are most interested in as you will more than likely be interested in practicing the type of law that covers the area you are MOST interested in.

You might want to consider B.A. in Liberal Arts (Interdisciplinary Studies) for your undergraduates, if you are not completely sold on your specific filed of law. This particular degree in liberal arts provides the student with the freedom to determine the most relevant areas of study for yourself instead of being bound to a single course of study. You are afforded the ability to create your own curriculum allowing you to focus on picking and choosing the areas of study from other programs that are relevant to your future law career without being forced into taking classes that have less relevance to your future endeavors.

I hope you find this helpful in your pursuit. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavors!

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Keith’s Answer

Generally speaking I've found that almost all of my legal collogues pursued an undergraduate degree in Economics. When we have discussed why... they tell me that the critical reasoning and problem solving skills learned have been most applicable.

Keith recommends the following next steps:

Decide what type of law you might want to practice
Reach out to people on your communictoy that practice law and give them a call / offer to meet for coffee or soda and have an exploritory conversartion

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Mark’s Answer

Shelby -

I would say I've seen people pursue law careers after obtaining degrees in " criminal justice or psychology." Both of these degrees have traits that may work well if you decide to pursue a career in law/law enforcement. You are dealing with people and each of degrees give insight to dealing with them along with ground work or fundamentals that may apply. I always encourage research and asking more questions. Go to the source and talk to a various professionals to gain perspective and insight along with pitfalls others have already gone thru to get to their career in law/law enforcement.

I would also ask what your why is for the degree and career you are looking to pursue. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as you go, perhaps keep a career journal as you dig deeper.

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Matthew L.’s Answer

Very good question. There are literally hundreds of specialties within the legal field. It's most important for you to find out what interests you in a broader sense--what are you really passionate about? There is no specific pre-law curriculum that law schools require, so you can pursue whatever you want in undergrad. Take a little of everything and find out what you love. Then, if you still feel like you are called to be a lawyer, you can channel that passion into a legal career.

For example, if you love sports, you could become a sports law attorney or sports agent (many agents trained as attorneys). Tulane Law School even has a special program targeted at sports law. Other schools have similar specialty programs. An undergrad degree in sports medicine or business would be helpful. If you really like criminal law, you can major in criminal science and become a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney when you get out of law school. Those are relatively lower paying legal specialties, but it's more important to find what you love. The money will follow.

There is a lot of reading and writing in law school so I would recommend that you take some good courses that teach you to read and write well. The people in my law school class who did not do a lot of writing before law school often seemed to struggle with written tests (nurses, engineers, chemistry majors, etc.). A business undergraduate degree would be the most helpful if you don't know what area you want to specialize in and most legal jobs tend to deal with business in some way.

Above all, try to get into the best schools you can (and that you can afford) and get the best possible grades you can. The better your grades, the more opportunities you will have when you get out. If you go to a low-ranked undergrad school, you won't be able to get into a top-ranked law school. If you don't go to a top-ranked law school, your options will be fewer once you get out. Each step builds on the prior step (so also get the best grades you can in high school). You also need to do well on the standardized tests (great grades can make up for average test scores, and great test scores can make up for average grades, but you have both you can write your own ticket).

However, if you are set on being a prosecutor or divorce lawyer or opening up your own firm, those considerations about the best schools don't matter as much. If you want to get a judicial clerkship and get a job at a top firm that pays really well, you need top grades, top schools.

You may not want to be a lawyer. The law requires lots of other roles. You could be a paralegal, legal secretary or legal expert (forensic accountant or private investigator, for example). Police officers are legal careers as well.

But again, find what you love and do that. Don't get hung up on being a lawyer because it sounds good. It's just a job and doesn't define who you are. Find what makes you happy and keep an open mind. What you truly love may surprise you. Good luck.