Let us just first say that there is no required major for getting admitted or attending law school. And unlike pre-med, there are also no required courses or prerequisites you must take before law school. Pick a major that not only interests you but one in which you are willing to work hard to achieve good grades. A high GPA is more important to a law school admissions team than the major you choose. With that being said, there are some majors that will help to prepare you to be successful in law school.
What Law School is All About
Law school is a lot of complex reading and writing. You will read endless amounts of laws, history of laws and their original intent, court cases, arguments, and decisions. You will also be asked to present cases, argue sides, and form decisions as if you are the judge. The ability to read and write is paramount to law school success.
Pre-Law Majors that Will Help Prepare You With Necessary Skills for Law School
Not the most popular route but being an English major will help you shore up on your critical reading and analytical writing skills. Make sure you take any Legal Writing class your school offers. It can be a good way to get a head start on your law school application as the law school application essay is typically one of the class assignments.
Journalism is another major of some law students, though probably not one that people typically associate with the practice of law. Like English majors, journalism students are well versed in reading, writing, and critical analysis. Journalism majors should seek courses in public speaking, an important skill for those who want to join mock trial and/or moot court teams during law school and become prosecutors or defense attorneys after law school.
A popular major among law students is Criminology & Criminal Justice. This major familiarizes you with the law, though it does not go nearly as in-depth or thorough as law school. A Criminology & Criminal Justice degree paints you a big picture and leaves you to fill in the details in law school. Some believe Criminal Justice classes are not as rigorous as some other majors (e.g., the sciences) so be sure you get superb grades if this is the route you decide to go.
Like Criminal Justice majors, law school seems to be a logical destination for Philosophy majors. Philosophy has a huge role in the creation of the Constitution and in how policies and laws are created. Philosophy students are more prepared for the law classes that are more theory based. Philosophy departments also offer Logic courses that will give you a head start on studying for the LSAT. Philosophy classes help shore up students’ critical thinking and communication skills. Philosophy students seem to do remarkably well on the LSAT.
Perhaps the most popular major among law students is Political Science. Political Science courses give you the chance to work on and improve your research and analytical skills, both critical for success in law school. Political Science also teaches about the organization of state and federal government and the exercise of government power, which is the larger context in which laws are enacted.
Business (or a variation such as finance, accounting, or economics) is also a popular major among law students. Quite a few law students decide to enter JD/MBA joint programs, where you can receive both degrees in 4 years. Some law schools also offer Business Law Certificates, which essentially allows you to de facto “specialize” in business law while in law school. This path is suitable not only for those who wish to practice business law, but also for those who desire to become tax attorneys. For an example of a Business Law Certificate program, see http://www.law.fsu.edu/academic-programs/certificate-programs/business-law.
If you are interested in becoming a patent attorney, you should look into majoring in a science or engineering field. Some examples of majors are biology, chemistry, computer science, physics, or engineering. If you decide not to major in a science or engineering field, make sure you take a sufficient amount science courses in a variety of science or engineering areas so that you possess sufficient scientific knowledge and training upon graduation to fulfill patent attorney requirements.
No matter what major you pick for your undergraduate years, it is imperative that you get good grades and keep a high GPA. Your undergraduate GPA is an indicator of how likely you are to succeed in law school. Because law school is way more rigorous than college, if you cannot perform well in college, chances are you will not do well in law school.