Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

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Hank Chill
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Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Hank Chill » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:29 pm

I always hear that English Lit and Philosophy are good majors that prep future law students. Criminal Justice is usually considered a poor degree for law school. Is this bullshit or no?

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Veyron
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Veyron » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:30 pm

Hank Chill wrote:I always hear that English Lit and Philosophy are good majors that prep future law students. Criminal Justice is usually considered a poor degree for law school. Is this bullshit or no?


I think a J.D. would be a pretty useful thing to have before starting law school.

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:39 pm

Hank Chill wrote:I always hear that English Lit and Philosophy are good majors that prep future law students. Criminal Justice is usually considered a poor degree for law school. Is this bullshit or no?


I have a feeling your average Philosophy major is probably smarter than your average Criminal Justice major...just a thought.

I'm a Poli Sci shithead. I read a lot and write a lot, but I've always done that. I love science, but lack the willpower to succeed in a technical major. Honestly, it seems like law school comes down to critical thinking, ability to absorb and apply information, and writing ability. As a 0L I have no idea what law school is like, but when it comes to those skills, I feel like you either have an aptitude for them or you don't.

BruceDenton
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby BruceDenton » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:04 pm

I saw an article somewhere online (maybe here?) that listed average LSAT scores for students of different majors. Prelaw (or criminal justice) was the lowest, and I think Philosophy, Math and maybe Econ were higher. Either way, I think the point is not that some majors are better than others for the LSAT, which the article seemed to suggest, but that certain majors attract more intelligent majors than other ones. I'm not in law school (yet), but I would assume it's the same basic idea.

More directly to your question, I wouldn't think one major would prepare someone better for law school than another major, generally. Obviously music or theatre studies might have reading and writing than english, but within more traditional majors, I think the important thing is to realize is that you get out of it what you put into it.

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fatduck
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby fatduck » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:12 pm

Electrical Engineering. Accept no substitute.

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:21 pm

fatduck wrote:Electrical Engineering. Accept no substitute.


I considered transferring to engineering, until my aspiring ChemE roommate (with whom I share many personality traits) began failing out and transferred into my major.

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aspire2more
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby aspire2more » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:29 pm

I can't say what degree will best prepare you for actual law school, since I've never been. I can say that for admissions, the best degree will be one in a field that you're genuinely interested in, and that at the same time requires you to work hard and use skills such as critical thinking, logical analysis, and writing. It should also be a field that you can reasonably do well in. There is no point in earning a degree in (insert name of random field here) if you're probably not going to have a decent GPA at the end and you're not planning on using that degree for anything other than a stepping stone to law school. Engineering, hard sciences, math, economics, and philosophy seem to be great majors, but you're certainly not limited to any particular field in order to impress an admissions committee. In fact, whatever you do, don't choose your major based on what you think you will want to do several years down the line if that program doesn't have specific prerequisite requirements (like med school). Dropping my biology major was the smartest academic decision I ever made in undergrad.

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rman1201
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby rman1201 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:32 pm

Hank Chill wrote:I always hear that English Lit and Philosophy are good majors that prep future law students. Criminal Justice is usually considered a poor degree for law school. Is this bullshit or no?


The best degree would be a non-liberal arts degree with career possibilities so you aren't forced to go to law school at graduation if you change your mind last minute.
Second best would be English.

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Alex-Trof
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Alex-Trof » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:33 pm

My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else

I could be completely wrong though.

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rman1201
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby rman1201 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:36 pm

Alex-Trof wrote:My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else

I could be completely wrong though.


Aside from maybe teaching good study habits these don't really seem that useful in actually preparing for law school. You could make some bs analytical skills argument, but if you do well enough in these majors (the first listed category at least) to go to a solid law school then odds are you were born with the analytical skills anyway.
Something useful would be English so you at least get used to extensive writing/effectively conveying ideas/analyzing whatever you just read.

Army2Law
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Army2Law » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:38 pm

Alex-Trof wrote:My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else >>>>>>>>>>"Prelaw"

I could be completely wrong though.

Pretty credited. I'd add the bolded, though.

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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Wholigan » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:38 pm

aspire2more wrote:I can't say what degree will best prepare you for actual law school, since I've never been. I can say that for admissions, the best degree will be one in a field that you're genuinely interested in, and that at the same time requires you to work hard and use skills such as critical thinking, logical analysis, and writing. It should also be a field that you can reasonably do well in. There is no point in earning a degree in (insert name of random field here) if you're probably not going to have a decent GPA at the end and you're not planning on using that degree for anything other than a stepping stone to law school. Engineering, hard sciences, math, economics, and philosophy seem to be great majors, but you're certainly not limited to any particular field in order to impress an admissions committee. In fact, whatever you do, don't choose your major based on what you think you will want to do several years down the line if that program doesn't have specific prerequisite requirements (like med school). Dropping my biology major was the smartest academic decision I ever made in undergrad.


+1

I also think you should take as broad a survey of courses as possible to expose yourself to different schools of critical thinking, instead of trying to earn a double major or something like that. As a finance major, I'm glad I went that route since I learned about things that aren't really taught in law school, yet can be useful and marketable in the practice of law. At the same time, I had virtually no courses on philosophy, American history, or political science, and at times in law school, I do wish I had a better foundation in those areas.

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:40 pm

rman1201 wrote:
Alex-Trof wrote:My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else

I could be completely wrong though.


Aside from maybe teaching good study habits these don't really seem that useful in actually preparing for law school. You could make some bs analytical skills argument, but if you do well enough in these majors (the first listed category at least) to go to a solid law school then odds are you were born with the analytical skills anyway.
Something useful would be English so you at least get used to extensive writing/effectively conveying ideas/analyzing whatever you just read.


I think it's all self-selection. Smart people will flock to Engineering. I know not all English majors are dumb, but a lot of dumb people are lib arts majors. I haven't met many dumb engineers. Also, unless you're naturally a genius, math/hard sciences teach not only good study habits but tenacity.

Premed will teach you to absorb an ungodly amount of information and perform against a brutal curve.

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Adjudicator
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:42 pm

rman1201 wrote:
Alex-Trof wrote:My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else

I could be completely wrong though.


Aside from maybe teaching good study habits these don't really seem that useful in actually preparing for law school. You could make some bs analytical skills argument, but if you do well enough in these majors (the first listed category at least) to go to a solid law school then odds are you were born with the analytical skills anyway.
Something useful would be English so you at least get used to extensive writing/effectively conveying ideas/analyzing whatever you just read.


Do you have any idea what Philosophy majors spend most of their time doing?

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:42 pm

Wholigan wrote:
aspire2more wrote:I can't say what degree will best prepare you for actual law school, since I've never been. I can say that for admissions, the best degree will be one in a field that you're genuinely interested in, and that at the same time requires you to work hard and use skills such as critical thinking, logical analysis, and writing. It should also be a field that you can reasonably do well in. There is no point in earning a degree in (insert name of random field here) if you're probably not going to have a decent GPA at the end and you're not planning on using that degree for anything other than a stepping stone to law school. Engineering, hard sciences, math, economics, and philosophy seem to be great majors, but you're certainly not limited to any particular field in order to impress an admissions committee. In fact, whatever you do, don't choose your major based on what you think you will want to do several years down the line if that program doesn't have specific prerequisite requirements (like med school). Dropping my biology major was the smartest academic decision I ever made in undergrad.


+1

I also think you should take as broad a survey of courses as possible to expose yourself to different schools of critical thinking, instead of trying to earn a double major or something like that. As a finance major, I'm glad I went that route since I learned about things that aren't really taught in law school, yet can be useful and marketable in the practice of law. At the same time, I had virtually no courses on philosophy, American history, or political science, and at times in law school, I do wish I had a better foundation in those areas.


I wish I had majored in Finance or a hard science. Poli sci/philosophy/history is not all fun and games, but it ain't rocket science. Glance at some syllabi, email some poli sci professors, and read some good books/go to lectures/read top notch periodicals. I suspect it's much easier to teach yourself/gain background understanding in poli sci than a hard science, but that's just me.

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rman1201
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby rman1201 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:43 pm

Adjudicator wrote:
rman1201 wrote:
Alex-Trof wrote:My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else

I could be completely wrong though.


Aside from maybe teaching good study habits these don't really seem that useful in actually preparing for law school. You could make some bs analytical skills argument, but if you do well enough in these majors (the first listed category at least) to go to a solid law school then odds are you were born with the analytical skills anyway.
Something useful would be English so you at least get used to extensive writing/effectively conveying ideas/analyzing whatever you just read.


Do you have any idea what Philosophy majors spend most of their time doing?


Credited. I take back that last bold.

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:44 pm

Adjudicator wrote:
rman1201 wrote:
Alex-Trof wrote:My guess is:

1. Hard Sciences / Engineering - 2. Economics / Finance - 3. English / Philosophy - 4. Everything else

I could be completely wrong though.


Aside from maybe teaching good study habits these don't really seem that useful in actually preparing for law school. You could make some bs analytical skills argument, but if you do well enough in these majors (the first listed category at least) to go to a solid law school then odds are you were born with the analytical skills anyway.
Something useful would be English so you at least get used to extensive writing/effectively conveying ideas/analyzing whatever you just read.


Do you have any idea what Philosophy majors spend most of their time doing?


Talking out their assholes in seminars and doing the reading the night before a paper's due, like everyone else in the liberal arts?

/almost philosophy major

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BioEBear2010
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby BioEBear2010 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:45 pm

From what I've seen thus far:

Economics > Hard Sciences/Engineering > Philosophy > PoliSci/Gov't

My econ friends have this law school thing down to an art. Philosophy students can either be the best or the worst (senseless rambling).

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:47 pm

I reiterate--reading comprehension and writing skills-you either have an aptitude for that or you don't. People choose majors for a variety of reasons. Engineers may be smarter on average than liberal arts majors, but I think that's moot due to self-selection. And anyway, comparing people in the aggregate is not really fair. Lots of people who probably don't belong in college go to college, and what are those people going to major in-Chemical Engineering? Physics? I don't think so. The lower aptitude people flock to the majors that are not necessarily "easier" but easier to bullshit. Much easier to coast through a Soc class at North State U and write a C final paper than it is to bullshit 10 problem sets and a quantitative final. The people in the liberal arts tend to be...less smart than the hard sciences because the pool of students is watered down by the morons who just stop in for an easy B.A. I think it's about some degree of innate skill, not undergraduate "training"

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Cade McNown
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Cade McNown » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:58 pm

PomasThynchon wrote:a lot of dumb people are lib arts majors


rman1201 wrote:The best degree would be a non-liberal arts degree with career possibilities so you aren't forced to go to law school at graduation if you change your mind last minute.


Hahahaha, yeah, tell that to the undergrads at Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Pomona, Carleton, Haverford, Claremont McKenna...etc. I'm sure they will concur from their desks at Google, Bain, Apple, IBM...

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PomasThynchon
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby PomasThynchon » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:01 am

Cade McNown wrote:
PomasThynchon wrote:a lot of dumb people are lib arts majors


rman1201 wrote:The best degree would be a non-liberal arts degree with career possibilities so you aren't forced to go to law school at graduation if you change your mind last minute.


Hahahaha, yeah, tell that to the undergrads at Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Pomona, Carleton, Haverford, Claremont McKenna...etc. I'm sure they will concur from their desks at Google, Bain, Apple, IBM...


The easy, glib response-I'm not talking about the top schools. I'm sure the average engineer and average top LAC student are equally smart, I mean across the entire U.S. college system, the liberal arts are the lightning rod for people who shouldn't be going to college and just spend 4 years going to keggers and getting C's and D's. Not that there AREN'T smart poli sci and philosophy majors everywhere, just that some dumbass tool looking for an easy degree is more likely to pick a lib arts major than an engineering or math major. I mean, I think there's a reason that there are 300 Poli sci majors at my school and only ~20 ChemE's. I don't think my ChemE friends are necessarily smarter than my Poli Sci friends, but the barriers to entry and requirements are much lower. I'm trying to DEFEND the liberal arts, hell that's my field, why would I knock all liberal arts majors?

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Cade McNown
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Cade McNown » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:11 am

PomasThynchon wrote:The easy, glib response-I'm not talking about the top schools. I'm sure the average engineer and average top LAC student are equally smart, I mean across the entire U.S. college system, the liberal arts are the lightning rod for people who shouldn't be going to college and just spend 4 years going to keggers and getting C's and D's. Not that there AREN'T smart poli sci and philosophy majors everywhere, just that some dumbass tool looking for an easy degree is more likely to pick a lib arts major than an engineering or math major. I'm trying to DEFEND the liberal arts, hell that's my field, why would I knock all liberal arts majors?


I'm sure the average top liberal arts college student > your average engineer. One has widespread knowledge and talent, the other has a niche. Otherwise I agree that a liberal arts degree could be a cop out.

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rman1201
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby rman1201 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:11 am

Cade McNown wrote:
PomasThynchon wrote:a lot of dumb people are lib arts majors


rman1201 wrote:The best degree would be a non-liberal arts degree with career possibilities so you aren't forced to go to law school at graduation if you change your mind last minute.


Hahahaha, yeah, tell that to the undergrads at Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Pomona, Carleton, Haverford, Claremont McKenna...etc. I'm sure they will concur from their desks at Google, Bain, Apple, IBM...


Logic fail.

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rman1201
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby rman1201 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:12 am

Cade McNown wrote:
PomasThynchon wrote:The easy, glib response-I'm not talking about the top schools. I'm sure the average engineer and average top LAC student are equally smart, I mean across the entire U.S. college system, the liberal arts are the lightning rod for people who shouldn't be going to college and just spend 4 years going to keggers and getting C's and D's. Not that there AREN'T smart poli sci and philosophy majors everywhere, just that some dumbass tool looking for an easy degree is more likely to pick a lib arts major than an engineering or math major. I'm trying to DEFEND the liberal arts, hell that's my field, why would I knock all liberal arts majors?


I'm sure the average top liberal arts college student > your average engineer. One has widespread knowledge and talent, the other has a niche. Otherwise I agree that a liberal arts degree could be a cop out.


The correct analogy would be to compare the top liberal arts college student to the top engineer...

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: Is there really a degree that prepares your for law school?

Postby Lawl Shcool » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:13 am

I think a business degree (undergrad) has been a nice addition to my law school resume. It gives some credence to the idea that you would like working in the corporate group at a firm and really helped in a few classes.




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