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What is the best way to go about school as far as the classes to take to be a defense attorney

Im going to college but i just dont want to take any unnecessary classes for what i want to do with my life HELP #school #lawyer #college

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Subject: Career question for you

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Desiree’s Answer


Hi Erica! Lucky for you the world is your oyster when it comes to preparing for law school. First, know that in the U.S. you need to have an undergraduate degree (4-year bachelor's degree), and good LSAT scores to get into law school. Law school is 3 more years after you graduate from university.

There is no particular required major - or minor - for that bachelor's degree. It's pretty common for people heading to law school to major in History, Political Science, Business, or English. However, you should major in something of interest to you and in which you'll get stellar grades. Having good grades is key to being admitted to law school. So if Math or Chemistry is your passion, do that! (I am a lawyer, my undergraduate majors were Biology and Marine Science.)

To do well in law school - and the practice of the law! - you need to have strong analytical, reasoning and writing skills. Any courses that help develop those "muscles" will prepare you. Depending on what type of lawyer you want to be, you need my need additional skills. I note that you want to be a defense attorney (a specific type of litigator!), so classes in that focus on criminal justice, the US Constitution, public speaking, forensics, criminal science, etc will all be helpful.

I get that you are trying to be focused & efficient, but honestly, I cannot think of any classes I took in college that were "unnecessary" to law. Part of being a good attorney is being well-rounded and having the ability to synthesize a lot of different information. Some of my courses work may not have a straight line to law (I'm thinking specifically of "Marine Invertebrates" ....), but in terms of honing analytical skills, it must have been helpful. Don't be so laser focused on being a lawyer that you skip courses that are of interest to you. You'll be amazed what unforeseen issues come into your practice of law!

Desiree recommends the following next steps:

Research law school admission requirements
In both High School and University, take elective classes or participate in extracurricular activities involving the field of law or key legal skills (criminal science, debate, constitutional law).
Consider what undergraduate degrees/courses match your strengths
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Andrew’s Answer

Hi Erica!

I am a former defense attorney and I can tell you that I relied on my critical thinking, logic, public speaking, and composition skills more than anything else when I was preparing for or in trial. Most attorneys come from liberal arts majors, and these courses generally prepare you to read, think, and write critically about controversial topics throughout the world. It is also worth mentioning that law school admissions committees care more about how high your gpa and lsat scores are than they do about which particular courses you took. Declare a major that you enjoy because people tend to perform better when they have a genuine interest in the subject matter, and make sure you learn to read, write, and speak in public because that is most of what you do as a defense attorney. Law school will teach you the rest.

Sincerely,
Andrew
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Natasha’s Answer

As you head to college, please keep the line of communications with the school's career office open from your first semester (from week 1). Let your parents know what you are thinking about as far as career interest: they probably know some lawyers in their professional network that you could talk to in order to gather a clear sense of the path into a legal practice and its related institutions.

Do talk with your guidance/career counselor and academic advisor, they will ensure that you enroll into the relevant undergrad prerequisites well before law school. In addition to the required courses for a law major, consider taking a class in statistics, data analytics and/or philosophy. Perhaps you could also look into an elective course on world religions, music theory, linguistics or AI, any of which might be indelible and expand your intellectual horizon well after graduation.

Good luck and stay well,
Natasha
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