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What should I major and minor in if I want to be a lawyer?

I'm in high school, and I'm starting to think of what I want to do. I'm interested in estate law, defense, and entertainment law. I want to know what I should study in college before I go to law school to help support my education.

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Terri’s Answer

I completely agree with the responses that have already been shared, and I'd like to highlight a mix of their ideas. No matter what you decide to major in, it's really key to work on enhancing your analytical and writing abilities. Look for classes both in your major and beyond that can help you sharpen these skills. Smaller seminar classes, courses rooted in logic and math, and even certain extracurricular activities can be beneficial. Don't hesitate to reach out to your academic advisor for advice too - they're familiar with all the courses available to you!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Olivia
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Marva’s Answer

Hello Olivia, I pursued English as my major and Journalism as my minor. This combination honed two crucial skills in me - meticulous reading and effective writing. Additionally, Math and Accounting are beneficial skills that can be applied to numerous legal fields. I strongly recommend you to choose a major that fascinates you, ensuring that you relish your educational journey. When we take pleasure in what we do, we naturally excel at it. Wishing you all the best!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Marva! Olivia
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DENNIS’s Answer

Hi Olivia: Your major and minor really don't matter that much. What does matter is that you get good grades. That said, take courses you'd enjoy. Lawyers come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Soe were political science majors, some history majors. Some lawyers loved the sciences. The more well rounded you are as a person the better lawyer you will become!
Let's look at your choices: Estate Law is paper intense - reading wills and trusts. Drawing up trusts for folks. Putting together wills. There is little court time but you need to know when and where to file stuff. Defense is two sided...criminal defense or civil defense. Both of these have a lot more court time. However, with criminal you are dealing with some not so nice people. With civil, you are defending people after they were in an accident of some kind. If you like civil, go to Atlanta and look up the Keenan Law firm. Serious civil stuff. Finally, entertainment. Tough field to get into. Generally dealing with contracts for entertainers.
At this point just get into a law school. It all changes then. Doors will open you never even thought about. Enjoy your education - great time ahead!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your advice, it means a lot! Olivia
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Stefanie’s Answer

Hi Olivia -- some great advice above, and I agree there's no specific major/minor combo you need to pursue in order to go to law school. I was a Sociology major and an English minor with a Criminology certificate. I think you'll see a lot of folks who major in other liberal arts fields such as history, psychology, philosophy, etc. I think if there are specific areas of the law that you are certain you are interested in, it might make sense to try to gain some experience in related fields in college. For example - -you mentioned entertainment law, so I could see taking some business classes as relevant, or if you are interested in criminal defense, some sociology/criminology/criminal justice classes (you could also major or minor in any of those).

But don't be too concerned if you aren't sure yet - -I think as everyone advised above, classes that help you grow as a reader/analyzer/thinker and writer will all prepare you for law school!

Good luck!
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Mary’s Answer

Hello Olivia,

Great question where I think there is no single right answer. I was a communications major--this has helped with my interpersonal skills and communications as well as being able to write effectively. I also took courses aimed at improving reading comprehension and critical thinking. While classes requiring lengthy research papers may seem tedious, they're incredibly valuable in the long run. I'd strongly suggest pursuing any course that strengthens these abilities, as they're not only crucial for a law career but also for law school.

You can find these skills in a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, economics, history, political science, and even scientific fields. The focus isn't necessarily on the specific content of the courses, but rather on developing the ability to read, comprehend, condense, and summarize large and complex information sets. Whether these are legal documents, historical texts, or research papers doesn't really matter. The key is to hone these skills that are essential in both law school and the practice of law later on.
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Mary’s Answer

Hi Olivia,
Great question where I think there is no single right answer. I was a communications major--this has helped with my interpersonal skills and communications as well as being able to write effectively. I also took a significant amount of courses that focused on reading comprehension and requried some long research papers as assignments. I would highly recommend anything that reinforces these skills as they are an essential component of not just lawyering, but of law school. You could likely find this in many fields: sociology, anthropology, economics, history, poli sci, scientific fields. There is no need to take any courses for their actual substance, instaed you need to be able to read, understand, digest and summarize large, complex sets of information (whether they're legal documents, historical texts, research papers, etc. is less important). This is a fundamental part of law school and is a key skill for almost all lawyers.
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Jamie’s Answer

Another good option to major in is accounting or anything in business. Business majors give you a good foundation for studying law. It builds a lot of good skills that will help you be successful as a lawyer and a business person, as well. There really are so many options that could be beneficial, but accounting is a great option to keep in mind. Good luck!
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