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Pre-Law


What is Pre-Law?
Pre-Law is not a major. What many students do not understand is that there is no one, single undergraduate major that is created specifically for students who want to go to law school.

What should I major in if I want to go to law school?
Law schools accept students from a wide variety of majors including those in the liberal arts, business, healthcare and dozens of other fields. There is no one “right” major. What law schools are interested in are students who can think, read and write.

If it is not a major, why should I indicate that I intend to go to law school?
Why not get the help you need to best prepare yourself? By letting us know that you are interested in law school, you will be assigned a pre-law advisor in addition to your academic advisor. Your pre-law advisor may help you decide what electives would be most beneficial to you. She will help you with the application process, register with LSAC and select a law school. You will also be notified about special events for pre-law students such as law school admissions counselors visiting campus, practice admissions tests, field trips and course opportunities such as a legal internship.

What happens if I decide law school is not for me?
You are under no obligation to go to law school even if you indicate you are pre-law. Your coursework for your major and minor stays the same. Being pre-law does not add any extra courses onto your academic career.

What do I need to do to apply to law school?
Students who wish to become lawyers must complete a bachelor’s degree. The Law School Admissions Test or LSAT is a required examination. Practice LSAT exams are available at Maryville University. Classes to prepare for the LSAT are also available. An essay and letters of recommendation are also required. Your advisor will be of assistance to you in preparing these materials. All students must register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to complete the application process.

When should I apply for law school?
March 1 is typically the cut off date for law school applications. However it varies from school to school. Your advisor will have this information for specific schools. Law schools begin notifying candidates of acceptances in fall of the previous year. Therefore to maximize the amount of grant and scholarship monies available, early application is advised.

May I take the LSAT more than once?
Yes, you may take it as many times as you like. However, law schools will receive all of your test scores, not simply the best one. This is a reason why you should consult with your advisor before taking the LSAT to make sure you are adequately prepared for the examination.

Once I graduate from law school, I can practice law, right?
No. Law school is generally three years. After that you must pass the Bar Exam of the state in which you wish to practice. This is usually a two day examination. You are also required to pass an ethics exam and character and fitness review. In general, individuals with a criminal history are not allowed to sit for the Bar Exam. Consult your adviser if you have questions about this.

Why should I go to Maryville University for Pre-Law?
In addition to getting the personalized attention you deserve, many of Maryville’s graduates go on to one of the St. Louis regions fine law schools, including St. Louis University, University of Missouri at Columbia and Washington University. Increasingly in recent years, Maryville students are also being accepted into renowned national institutions, including:

  • Harvard School of Law
  • Columbia University
  • Pepperdine University
  • University of Chicago

Law school admissions officers at these institutions have found that Maryville students are able to prosper as students of the law and go on to represent their law schools with distinction in corporations, government, higher education and private practice. Today Maryville alumni are partners in great national law firms, prosecutors, litigators and government officials.

Distinctive Features of Maryville University’s Pre-Law Program

  • A pre-law adviser in addition to your academic adviser to provide the best possible preparation for successful entry into law school.
  • An internship program for credit designed specifically for pre-law students. The internship with a local court, law firm or government agency will help students explore careers in law and gain valuable experience before attempting admission to law school.
  • Access to legal research and writing courses to help make your first year of law school a successful one.
  • Pre-Law students may participate in the Maryville University Legal Association, which offers further exposure to the area’s legal field including speakers such as practicing attorneys, judges and law school admissions counselors.

Why should I consider Legal Studies if I am interested in another major and continuing my graduate education in law school?
As stated above, there is no one right major. You should decide in consultation with your advisor what major would work best for you to achieve your goals. One thing to consider is that most majors at Maryville require a minor. If you are interested in pursuing the study of law or work in a law related field, you might want to consider Legal Studies as a minor. Talk to your advisor.


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