Legal Studies Major?????

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daisy33
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Legal Studies Major?????

Postby daisy33 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:33 pm

Hi lovely people of TLS!

I'm currently a freshman at a top 20 university (if that matters for your advice giving purposes) and starting from this summer, I'll be taking classes pertaining to the major that I choose. Here is my dilemma:


>>I understand that law schools don't care about your major, they focus a lot more on GPA/LSAT
>>Thus, the consensus seems to be "major in whatever will get you the highest GPA"
>>I also understand that some people say don't major in anything in undergrad that is "prelaw" (such as legal studies) b/c adcom frowns upon that, but there seems to be more people who say it doesn't matter, just major in whatever will get you the highest possible GPA.
>>However, I chose legal studies b/c I liked my first class and think I can do well in it the next 3 years.

>>Within my frame of research of current law school students' majors/colleges done online, there are virtually NO legal studies majors. They all seem to have majored in more conventional subjects such as political science, rhetoric, classics, ethnic studies.

>>Which led me to question- is there actually some sort of inherent bias against the legal studies major by law school adcoms even though they and everyone else say major doesn't matter?


If so, then it clearly has some implications for me and my next 3 years in college. I have some other areas of interest that I can pursue, and I just wanted to gauge your opinions before signing up for classes next week. Thanks for your time, I appreciate it! :)

BigZuck
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:44 pm

Honestly I think it's kind of silly to put all your eggs in the law school basket as a 19 year old. Plus, legal studies just seems like a super useless major, even by useless major standards. Even something like English or Poli Sci or History sounds way better to me.

Ideally you can find a balance between good GPA and useful major, although a lot of useful majors like Engineering are hard to get a good GPA in. Maybe something like Business could be a decent middle ground (although, I admit I'm not sure how useful or easy that major is). I would avoid a major like legal studies for sure.

envisciguy
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby envisciguy » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:50 pm

BigZuck wrote:Honestly I think it's kind of silly to put all your eggs in the law school basket as a 19 year old. Plus, legal studies just seems like a super useless major, even by useless major standards. Even something like English or Poli Sci or History sounds way better to me.

Ideally you can find a balance between good GPA and useful major, although a lot of useful majors like Engineering are hard to get a good GPA in. Maybe something like Business could be a decent middle ground (although, I admit I'm not sure how useful or easy that major is). I would avoid a major like legal studies for sure.


This is the best advice you're going to get. I agree with Zuck 100%.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Clemenceau » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:53 pm

Legal studies seems like a pretty poor choice of college major. What could you possibly do with that if you decide law isn't for you? Furthermore, it won't give you any kind of leg-up on your classmates if you do end up in law school.

Most of my friends who majored in business had good gpas and barely had to work for it. Many also graduated with jobs that paid $55-65k. I was at a solid but not elite uni

CanadianWolf
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:44 pm

Legal Studies majors from elite undergraduate schools, such as Northwestern, often get recruited by major law firms (DC & NYC) to join 2 year paralegal programs (pay with overtime is in the 40s & 50s). This can offer an insight into large law firm life & help one decide whether or not to pursue a law degree. A legal studies major is typically a second major. Also, this area of study gives students a chance to get involved with law school legal clinics such as innocence projects, wrongful convictions, or more mundane areas.

Law schools don't prefer one major over another. LSAT score remains the single most important factor in US law school admissions. GPA is second. One's undergraduate major probably isn't one of the top 4 factors considered by law school admissions committees.

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chuckbass
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby chuckbass » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:49 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Legal Studies majors from elite undergraduate schools, such as Northwestern, often get recruited by major law firms (DC & NYC) to join 2 year paralegal programs (pay with overtime is in the 40s & 50s). This can offer an insight into large law firm life & help one decide whether or not to pursue a law degree. A legal studies major is typically a second major. Also, this area of study gives students a chance to get involved with law school legal clinics such as innocence projects, wrongful convictions, or more mundane areas.

Law schools don't prefer one major over another. LSAT score remains the single most important factor in US law school admissions. GPA is second. One's undergraduate major probably isn't one of the top 4 factors considered by law school admissions committees.

Elite undergrads in general get recruited by biglaw firms for their legal assistant programs, so OP should major in something useful.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:51 pm

It's fine as a second major, as I noted above, but I wouldn't recommend it as one's primary major.

daisy33
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby daisy33 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:40 pm

Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate them all!
Please excuse if my responses to your post begin to get somewhat defensive/retaliative in nature; I just want to thoroughly discuss all aspects of the major before making a decision to switch. Thank you for your understanding in advance!

BigZuck wrote:Honestly I think it's kind of silly to put all your eggs in the law school basket as a 19 year old. Plus, legal studies just seems like a super useless major, even by useless major standards. Even something like English or Poli Sci or History sounds way better to me.

Ideally you can find a balance between good GPA and useful major, although a lot of useful majors like Engineering are hard to get a good GPA in. Maybe something like Business could be a decent middle ground (although, I admit I'm not sure how useful or easy that major is). I would avoid a major like legal studies for sure.


BigZuck, unfortunately I am set on law school and don't think it's silly :D

I have considered the business major, however the "business" major is a joint program with our graduate school and is relatively competitive to get into and maintain a high GPA. In terms of the other majors you mentioned, how are they any different from the legal studies major? Financially speaking, I don't believe a BA in english, poli sci, or history would garner me a higher paying job than a BA in legal studies would. Educationally speaking, I'm not sure any of them would teach me things the legal studies major wouldn't teach me as well: research, writing, analytical, comparative, etc skills. And lastly personally, none of the majors you mentioned are particularly appealing to me.

Now I totally understand how "useless" of a major legal studies would be if I wasn't going to go to law school. However, I am planning to use this major as a stepping stone to law school, so in my head, that sort of eliminates the useless argument. Because really, are any of the things we study in undergrad important in the end? 8)

Clemenceau wrote:Legal studies seems like a pretty poor choice of college major. What could you possibly do with that if you decide law isn't for you? Furthermore, it won't give you any kind of leg-up on your classmates if you do end up in law school.

Most of my friends who majored in business had good gpas and barely had to work for it. Many also graduated with jobs that paid $55-65k. I was at a solid but not elite uni


Clemenceau, if I didn't have my mind deadset on law school, I would most likely apply to MBA programs.
In addition, I am not looking for a major that will give me a leg-up on my classmates. I am looking for a major that will give me the highest possible GPA so that I can get into the best law schools I possibly can, as long as the major that I choose does not look bad to adcoms.
And lastly, like I stated before, I have considered the business major however it is rather competitive to get into and rare to get a stellar GPA in it. Thus, I ruled it out of my possible major choices.

I may sound hypocritical saying that I would be doing business if I weren't set on law school yet refusing to do the business major. However, this is a matter of circumstance as I am not willing to destroy my GPA and thus my chances at top law schools at this time. Perhaps if I rule out law school of my future, then I would not have a GPA to report to admission committees and would be willing to take the possible GPA plunge that comes with MBA programs.

CanadianWolf wrote:Legal Studies majors from elite undergraduate schools, such as Northwestern, often get recruited by major law firms (DC & NYC) to join 2 year paralegal programs (pay with overtime is in the 40s & 50s). This can offer an insight into large law firm life & help one decide whether or not to pursue a law degree. A legal studies major is typically a second major. Also, this area of study gives students a chance to get involved with law school legal clinics such as innocence projects, wrongful convictions, or more mundane areas.

Law schools don't prefer one major over another. LSAT score remains the single most important factor in US law school admissions. GPA is second. One's undergraduate major probably isn't one of the top 4 factors considered by law school admissions committees.


Thank you for the helpful information! I appreciate the devils advocate role you've sort of taken on as well haha :)



I guess my question is this- I acknowledge that legal studies would be a useless major if my education ended after my BA. However, to me it is simply a means to the end rather than the end itself. With this in mind- do your opinions still stand?

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Clemenceau
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Clemenceau » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:48 pm

daisy33 wrote:I guess my question is this- I acknowledge that legal studies would be a useless major if my education ended after my BA. However, to me it is simply a means to the end rather than the end itself. With this in mind- do your opinions still stand?

Clemenceau wrote:What could you possibly do with that if you decide law isn't for you?


Yep. Still stands.

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chuckbass
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby chuckbass » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:50 pm

Major in Econ then.

Sure, most BAs are "useless" but at least you're actually going to learn something worth learning even if you did English or History, to at least give you some perspective on something regardless of whether it's gonna get you a job (since you don't care about that). Majoring in legal studies will be a 100% waste of your time.

daisy33
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby daisy33 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:56 pm

Clemenceau wrote:
daisy33 wrote:I guess my question is this- I acknowledge that legal studies would be a useless major if my education ended after my BA. However, to me it is simply a means to the end rather than the end itself. With this in mind- do your opinions still stand?

Clemenceau wrote:What could you possibly do with that if you decide law isn't for you?


Yep. Still stands.


Okay thanks for your opinion!

scottidsntknow wrote:Major in Econ then.

Sure, most BAs are "useless" but at least you're actually going to learn something worth learning even if you did English or History, to at least give you some perspective on something regardless of whether it's gonna get you a job (since you don't care about that). Majoring in legal studies will be a 100% waste of your time.


Not willing to because I'm not confident in my math skills.
Not sure why I wouldn't be giving perspective on things in legal studies as opposed to english/history.
I wrote plenty of papers last semester in which ALL I did was give my opinion/perspective.

BigZuck
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:01 pm

daisy33 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Honestly I think it's kind of silly to put all your eggs in the law school basket as a 19 year old. Plus, legal studies just seems like a super useless major, even by useless major standards. Even something like English or Poli Sci or History sounds way better to me.

Ideally you can find a balance between good GPA and useful major, although a lot of useful majors like Engineering are hard to get a good GPA in. Maybe something like Business could be a decent middle ground (although, I admit I'm not sure how useful or easy that major is). I would avoid a major like legal studies for sure.


BigZuck, unfortunately I am set on law school and don't think it's silly :D

I have considered the business major, however the "business" major is a joint program with our graduate school and is relatively competitive to get into and maintain a high GPA. In terms of the other majors you mentioned, how are they any different from the legal studies major? Financially speaking, I don't believe a BA in english, poli sci, or history would garner me a higher paying job than a BA in legal studies would. Educationally speaking, I'm not sure any of them would teach me things the legal studies major wouldn't teach me as well: research, writing, analytical, comparative, etc skills. And lastly personally, none of the majors you mentioned are particularly appealing to me.

Now I totally understand how "useless" of a major legal studies would be if I wasn't going to go to law school. However, I am planning to use this major as a stepping stone to law school, so in my head, that sort of eliminates the useless argument. Because really, are any of the things we study in undergrad important in the end? 8)


I guess I think it's silly because 19 year olds should be thinking about more important stuff than law school- dating, having fun, non-alcoholic forms of beer pong (can't drink until you're 21 of course, that's the law). People's brains don't reach full maturity or growth or whatever until what, mid-20s? Lord knows I didn't know WTF was going on or what I wanted in life as a 19 year old (or 25 year old for that matter). Just seems crazy to me to lock yourself into a career now, especially being a lawyer of all things. Also, real talk- when I think 19 year old set on law school I think "Try hard" and "We couldn't hang." :wink:

I don't think English or Poli Sci or whatever are good majors either (although I collected a couple of those myself). I just think if I were some random hiring guy in some random office setting I'd prefer those to the legal studies major. It just sounds weird to me.

Probably any of the popular liberal arts/social studies major will develop the same "skills," you're right. I really doubt a legal studies major will particularly prepare you for law school though. I think legal studies majors in general tend to do worse on the LSAT (probably correlation/causation issue there though, I admit). I don't think it'll help you in actual law school classes- those aren't particularly challenging and you kind of figure out what you're supposed to do relatively early on and then the curve takes over from there.

But, of course, you only live once and you have to do yourself. So choose whatever it is that will make you happy. I guess I'm just speaking as an old when I say that I think it's better to have something more useful in case you decide you don't want to do law school (or, ideally, you find something sweet that you can go straight into and you can skip the time and money and all the BS that accompanies law school) :P

eta: also if legal studies is actually really like law school there is just no way I personally could do that for 7 years. I don't even know how I'm going to stand a 3rd year of law school, if I was heading into my 7th year of it I would lose my mind :mrgreen:
Last edited by BigZuck on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Traynor Brah
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Traynor Brah » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:03 pm

econ is what I would recommend most here

but if you've resigned yourself to a major with no practical value that cannot involve math, as appears to be the case, philosophy is going to be a better route than legal studies or something in that vein. At least do something mildly rigorous (legal studies is anything but)

ETA: in all honesty, legal studies is very possibly the worst major ever created.
Last edited by Traynor Brah on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

envisciguy
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby envisciguy » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:05 pm

daisy33 wrote:Not willing to because I'm not confident in my math skills.
Not sure why I wouldn't be giving perspective on things in legal studies as opposed to english/history.
I wrote plenty of papers last semester in which ALL I did was give my opinion/perspective.


He doesn't mean giving perspective, he means gaining perspective. If you really are dead set on going to law school, you're going to learn all about the law and give your perspective on that all the time. If you majored in something else though, you'd have that knowledge and interest that could add to your perspective on certain issues. While it might not help you more than another liberal arts degree, legal studies major and law school are redundant - why not major in something that adds more to your view of the world?

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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Capitol_Idea » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:05 pm

Econ and Finance/Accounting are probably the most useful types of courses you can take for law. If you're interested in cross-border stuff, then International Relations might be OK. History can give you perspective on what was going on in the country/world so that our laws developed the way they did. Majoring in some foreign language/culture can help boost your chances at international work. Hell, English can help you polish your writing.

'Legal Studies' or any kind of 'pre-law' major is useless. Anything of use it could teach you would be taught in law school anyway. Go be an interesting person. Learn something you just find fun. It doesn't matter for law school admissions and it sure as hell doesn't matter for becoming a lawyer. Law will consume your life and make you incredibly boring - don't try and do this to yourself in your prime undergrad years.

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chuckbass
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby chuckbass » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:09 pm

envisciguy wrote:
daisy33 wrote:Not willing to because I'm not confident in my math skills.
Not sure why I wouldn't be giving perspective on things in legal studies as opposed to english/history.
I wrote plenty of papers last semester in which ALL I did was give my opinion/perspective.


He doesn't mean giving perspective, he means gaining perspective. If you really are dead set on going to law school, you're going to learn all about the law and give your perspective on that all the time. If you majored in something else though, you'd have that knowledge and interest that could add to your perspective on certain issues. While it might not help you more than another liberal arts degree, legal studies major and law school are redundant - why not major in something that adds more to your view of the world?

Yeah I wouldn't go all in on law school just yet with this reading comprehension and reasoning ability :?

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Poldy
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Poldy » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:39 pm

TCR is a Classics degree. If you can't do math that tosses STEM out (and the pseudoscience of economics as well). The only useful thing left is a degree that will at least enlighten you a little bit. Pick up a language, learn some history and philosophy, read some great literary works, and acquire a better understanding of where everything we have today came from.

Or English/Comparative Lit I guess. Then you can sit around and read books or write papers about books all day. Sounds easy and fun. Plus, the books you read will give you something you can take with you the rest of your life.

Legal studies sounds like a bullshit slacker major to me.

Also, math isn't that hard. Anyone who says they can't to math is either stupid or they just haven't tried. Most econ outside of econometrics just requires a little basic calculus at most.

omegaweapon
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby omegaweapon » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:52 pm

Legal studies is just history lite. If you liked it a bunch, major in History and take a punch of legal and political history classes. If you can't hack languages, do Poly-sci.

This all assumes that you're 100% sure you want to be a lawyer at 19. You shouldn't be, but you are so whatever I guess.

FWIW, I did History/Poly-sci double, and got a pretty shitty 30-40k job out of school (TBF, it's not a good school). My friends who did pre-law seem to be rapidly advancing to actual hobo status though. I don't know of any of them getting anything from anywhere, and they didn't do as well on the LSAT as they hoped.

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smile0751
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby smile0751 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:14 pm

I would say that a legal studies major isn't going to help your application or impress anyone. I really struggle seeing top schools like Yale and Stanford choosing a student who studied legal studies when there are plenty of prime candidates with great GPAs who studied useful/enlightening things. The caveat to that statement is of course if you do amazing things outside of the classroom.

I mean I get that you want to protect your GPA, but you also want to be prepared to do well in law school and in your future career. Doing well in law school and the working world seems to require maturity, perspective, and comfort with rigorous and demanding classes. Ask yourself if legal studies will help you win the long game.

Finally, despite your insistence that you know you only want law school, being able to be employed based on your undergrad major is important. Law school admissions is becoming much more like MBA admissions. Solid work experience is becoming an important soft. Will you be missing out on a crucial part of your application simply bc you closed the door on worthwhile employment before law school due to your choice in major? What if you get to your senior year and realize you need another year to get your LSAT to its highest point? Life is full of uncertainty. Just consider the benefits of diversification when making your decision.

I had business law as one of my majors. It was great! I got to take a bunch of law classes on any topic across the university, but businesses were begging to hire me into their regulatory department. I took classes in employment law, negotiations, personal law, history of law, etc. But I also paired that degree with applied economics and Central Eurasian Studies and graduated with a 3.93. Just don't sell yourself short. Spend time in undergrad exploring your interests. Those four years will fly by and you'll miss them when you're older.

Good luck!

PublicInterest2018
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby PublicInterest2018 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:50 pm

I'd suggest majoring in logic if it is offered. Might give you a boost on the LSAT. Or perhaps you could see if your school publishes a list of median GPA matched to major and just pick the highest one.

Traynor Brah
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Traynor Brah » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:59 pm

PublicInterest2018 wrote:I'd suggest majoring in logic

http://i.imgur.com/Mr7aRWT.jpg

daisy33
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby daisy33 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:13 am

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for contributing your opinions to this thread. I have decided that my next 3 years will be spent studying something besides legal studies. At this time, I am not exactly sure what that is, but I will be doing some research throughout the rest of tonight and tomorrow, meeting with some advisers throughout the week, and be decided with a couple of options by the time I sign up for classes next week. I am actually heavily considering something in the realm of econ and business.

Yall be a great group of people, thanks again for your time and input!
Perhaps we'll meet again somewhere else in the thread next time :)
Have a great night!

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Mozart Lacrimosa
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Mozart Lacrimosa » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:17 am

Since you are even posing this question I'll assume your number 1 priority is your final gpa number. Since admissions treat all gpas as fungible I would research a bit into your business and econ programs. My econ department was heavily quantitative and about half my classes I was stoked just to get a B (I'm not John Nash from A Beautiful Mind or anything but I went through calc 2). Something to think about.

You ultimately want a degree in whatever won't get you laughed at later in life. If you are genuinely interested in something like physics or econ just audit the class or watch khan academy lol. But I'm a utilitarian and I think if you're already considering your next three years in ugrad based on what some idiot law admission people will want to see then just go ahead and major in anything you can get As in.

Traynor Brah
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Traynor Brah » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:22 am

Mozart Lacrimosa wrote:Since you are even posing this question I'll assume your number 1 priority is your final gpa number. Since admissions treat all gpas as fungible I would research a bit into your business and econ programs. My econ department was heavily quantitative and about half my classes I was stoked just to get a B (I'm not John Nash from A Beautiful Mind or anything but I went through calc 2). Something to think about.

You ultimately want a degree in whatever won't get you laughed at later in life. If you are genuinely interested in something like physics or econ just audit the class or watch khan academy lol. But I'm a utilitarian and I think if you're already considering your next three years in ugrad based on what some idiot law admission people will want to see then just go ahead and major in anything you can get As in.

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Mozart Lacrimosa
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Mozart Lacrimosa » Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:50 pm

^^ Nice post. You recommended econ and philosophy for OP. OP says he is not confident in math so econ is out and I don't think philosophy is known for being easy. I could be wrong on that. I don't think a bachelors in philosophy would enrich your life any more than renting some great courses anyways. The kid is gunning for LS so if he wants to inflate his gpa why are we shitting on him.




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