Legal Studies Major?????

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:30 pm

daisy33 wrote: Why is knowing what you want and gunning towards it looked down upon in society? I would rather be determined and work for goals from the outset than prance around in undergraduate trying out different majors and not knowing where my life is going.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that working toward your goals is a bad thing. They're just trying to warn you not to pigeonhole yourself, which is solid, practical advice since your goals might change. I think if you think about it you'll agree that at this point you can't possibly know with absolute certainty what 22-year-old you will want to do with your life.

It generally makes sense when making any decision to take the course of action that will give you the most options without sacrificing your goals. Being a legal studies major doesn't do this, because it leaves you with very limited options. Lots of undergrad majors provide additional options and allow for relatively high GPAs.

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

Postby Mozart Lacrimosa » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:32 pm

Traynor is a border line cyber bully but he is making good points. You shouldn't be on a site called top law schools when you haven't even determined your undergrad major yet. Get good grades in anything and see you when you take the lsat.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Capitol_Idea » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:36 pm

Call me R. Kelly; I'm about to piss all over this teenager.

daisy33 wrote:How dare you say someone's goals and mindset deserves "merciless mocking"?

Because they're woefully uninformed? The fact that you took the advice seriously puts you MILES ahead of most of the 0L's we get in here, but nevertheless 5 minutes searching old threads would've found all the answers you were looking for. I took 30 seconds and came up with these:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=227205&p=7590891&hilit=+best+major+#p7590891
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=205177&p=6490445&hilit=+best+major+#p6490445
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=245971&hilit=prelaw

Your thread was unnecessary. Nevertheless we give advice and some light ribbing is our only pay.

daisy33 wrote:Why is knowing what you want and gunning towards it looked down upon in society?

It's not, and you don't. You are 19. You do not know shit about shit, much less what you want out of life. People in this thread have been very patient with that fact. Law school is an objectively bad idea (financially and professionally) for well over half the people that go down that road. We are, to a man and woman, older than you and have been in your shoes. You are not special, you do not have some secret knowledge of yourself that all your other wayward peers lack, and you are in no way prepared to make the kind of decisions that will determine your professional career track. You have no legs to stand on but damn if you aren't gonna keep hopping, you spunky little tryhard you!

daisy33 wrote:I would rather be determined and work for goals from the outset than prance around in undergraduate trying out different majors and not knowing where my life is going. If the latter is what you believe merits praise, then so be it but don't go around mocking people for thinking differently than yourself.

See point above. You get one shot at undergrad - because many employment outcomes largely treat the degrees as fungible (there are exceptions - law is not one of them), you are being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experiment academically and find your passion. So quit posting on a thread for law students/lawyers. The sorority 'communications' major alternating between chugging flat keg beer and getting fingerblasted by the ultimate frisbee captain who scores her weed is doing better than you right now.

daisy33 wrote:Please get out of my thread and don't post again. I don't want opinions from people who aren't mature enough to convey their thoughts in a respectful manner.

The great thing is that when you post on a public forum, you don't get to control the answers you receive or from whom you get them. And if you say stupid and unnecessary things, then you get called out for it. The answers here aren't even for you, princess, they're for the future posters in similar predicaments to yourself who bother to read a little before posting. You are irrelevant.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Capitol_Idea » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:45 pm

TL;DR recap of daisy33 thread to date:

daisy33: Everyone says don't do prelaw but I'm going to do it anyway? Is this a good idea?

Everybody: Not even a little.

daisy33: Oh but I REALLY want to go law school so prelaw is smart rite?

Everybody: Still no. Here are other ideas.

daisy33: Kthxbye. (thread continues - this was daisy's chance for a graceful exeunt)

Everybody: (back-and-forth on 'best' UG major and value of planning for law school in UG)

daisy33: I'm back and I'm snarky! How dare you (unintelligible princess)

Everybody caught up?

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Vursz
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Vursz » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:50 pm

OP, I was in a somewhat similar situation (was 19, knew I wanted to go to law school after undergrad, etc.). It worked out.

I majored in international politics - not exactly the #1 most employable thing in the world, but I did have job offers from various internships throughout school (which weren't law-related). I highly suggest leaving yourself some backup paths if you, for whatever reason, decide to change course or if life intervenes.

Also, anecdata, but I have heard that "legal studies" is not viewed as a particularly rigorous major; this stuff can matter at the margins, even though I know the typical TLS mantra is just numbers, numbers, numbers.

Half the people in this thread are being insufferable, though. For the love of God.

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bretby
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby bretby » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:57 pm

Mozart Lacrimosa wrote:
bretby wrote:
daisy33 wrote: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! :)


Don't pick your major based on what would look best on law school applications. Please don't pick your major based on expected GPA. For the love of all things good in this world, don't major in business. Pick a major that is intellectually challenging with subject matter you find fascinating. You go to a good school; liberal arts degrees are (more or less) interchangeable on the job market. The commodification of higher ed is so depressing.


A lot of people pay big money for a degree, it is not depressing that they should seek some tangible return on that investment.


Like I said in my original post, when you get Liberal Arts degree from a top school, which particular major you choose is largely irrelevant with regards to employment opportunities. Like I also said in my original post, the commodification (perhaps instrumentalization is better) of higher ed is depressing, as your posts illustrate perfectly.

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

Postby Traynor Brah » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:00 pm

daisy33 wrote:Get out.

No?

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

Postby Mozart Lacrimosa » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:07 pm

Most things nowadays are commodified. Education becomes a means to an end when the cost of attending outpaces median household income. Go ahead and feel depressed about it, that's your prerogative.

But I will concede that among non-stem majors it doesn't matter.

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King Dong
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby King Dong » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:04 pm

I'm currently wrapping up my 3rd year of legal studies UG ("Paralegal Studies", to be exact).

Some people are saying that it's not known as being the most rigorous major, however, I would assume that they haven't taken any of the courses except for maybe some of the very general ones that overlap majors. Likewise, I don't have experience in other majors to compare it to, but I wouldn't say that it is the easiest major.

It does involve an exorbitant amount of time on westlaw/lexis and many papers, but, would you expect any different? I've enjoyed the classes and getting to use what I have learned while at work and vice versa. I have been in the legal field for 7 years, working in foreclosure for 5 and now bankruptcy for 2; working in the legal industry is what has made me consider law school (and start lurking this forum).

I can't give you the expert advice that the JD's have provided already, only my experience. If it's something that you're passionate about (something I didn't know at 19), then most definitely pursue it. Some are saying that it would pigeonhole you as far as work goes (outside of being a lawyer) which is partly true. You may decide that practicing isn't for you; you'll at least be able to get an office job at a firm. I've worked for 3 "large" firms now, ~500 employees each and working for the creditors, (5 years, 1 year, 1 year). As a bankruptcy paralegal with currently only an associate's degree, I'm earning 40k. You can expect a 3-5% annual raise, or a much higher percentage increase by hopping to a competing firm. If you stick around long enough and work your way up to a team lead or supervisor position, you could greatly increase the pay. It wouldn't be unrealistic to be making 60-70k after dedicating some years.

All in all, I don't believe that it would be the worst degree to have. 8)

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

Postby Traynor Brah » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:13 pm

King Dong wrote:I'm currently wrapping up my 3rd year of legal studies UG ("Paralegal Studies", to be exact).

Some people are saying that it's not known as being the most rigorous major, however, I would assume that they haven't taken any of the courses except for maybe some of the very general ones that overlap majors. Likewise, I don't have experience in other majors to compare it to, but I wouldn't say that it is the easiest major.

It does involve an exorbitant amount of time on westlaw/lexis and many papers, but, would you expect any different? I've enjoyed the classes and getting to use what I have learned while at work and vice versa. I have been in the legal field for 7 years, working in foreclosure for 5 and now bankruptcy for 2; working in the legal industry is what has made me consider law school (and start lurking this forum).

I can't give you the expert advice that the JD's have provided already, only my experience. If it's something that you're passionate about (something I didn't know at 19), then most definitely pursue it. Some are saying that it would pigeonhole you as far as work goes (outside of being a lawyer) which is partly true. You may decide that practicing isn't for you; you'll at least be able to get an office job at a firm. I've worked for 3 "large" firms now, ~500 employees each and working for the creditors, (5 years, 1 year, 1 year). As a bankruptcy paralegal with currently only an associate's degree, I'm earning 40k. You can expect a 3-5% annual raise, or a much higher percentage increase by hopping to a competing firm. If you stick around long enough and work your way up to a team lead or supervisor position, you could greatly increase the pay. It wouldn't be unrealistic to be making 60-70k after dedicating some years.

All in all, I don't believe that it would be the worst degree to have. 8)

No. You are talking about a technical paralegal skills program. OP is talking about a major where the toughest class will be a semester-long circlejerk third wave feminist analysis of Mueller v Oregon. OP's is in fact the worst degree to have (as in most useless possible, both from an employment and personal development perspective).

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King Dong
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby King Dong » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:33 pm

Traynor Brah wrote:No. You are talking about a technical paralegal skills program. OP is talking about a major where the toughest class will be a semester-long circlejerk third wave feminist analysis of Mueller v Oregon. OP's is in fact the worst degree to have (as in most useless possible, both from an employment and personal development perspective).


Ah, my mistake. OP don't do it!!

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chuckbass
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby chuckbass » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:25 pm

Lol even if we were talking about a paralegal program that would still be considered "easy" by any metric. While they're not career paralegals, firms hire fresh grads with zero knowledge/training for their two year programs. Also surfing westlaw is what any 1L will do in their writing course.

lordgower
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby lordgower » Tue May 12, 2015 3:53 am

This thread is ages old but the question isn't out of date, so I just thought I'd put my two cents in. I majored in something very similar to Legal studies-- jurisprudence/legal philosophy/what the fuck ever, it's hard to pin it down, at an elite liberal arts college. I did this with absolutely no intention of going to law school-- in fact, our professors told us that law schools don't like students studying legal theory before entering into law school. We do have a lot of our majors go into elite law schools though, and to my complete surprise, I have ended up as one of them.

I chose my major because it's one of the best programs in my university, with the best professors teaching it, and it was extraordinarily interdisciplinary-- law was just the frame through which we did a lot of political theory, philosophy, critical theory, and history. It was also an incredibly flexible major that allowed me to do research in several fields that only tangentially connected to the law. It really shaped me as a thinker, and a reader and researcher. I definitely learned as much as I would have under a political science or philosophy degree, and I've gotten into a few political science PhD and masters programs using academic proposals and building blocks based on what I studied in my legal studies degree; it was only a few months ago I decided to reject those programs and go to law school.

That said, I have no illusions-- and neither did my professors -- that this major would be at ALL helpful for law school, and I know when I enter next year that I have to compartmentalize everything I learned within the major, since law schools are teaching you a trade, and our major worked in dismantling and dissecting that trade behind the scenes.

So I guess my conclusion would be that -- I don't think it's an entirely useless major; I think it has the potential of being useful and wonderful and making you a good scholar, contingent on who teaches you and how they teach you and how diverse and interdisciplinary the major is. I don't think it's particularly useful for law school (the base skills I have that might be useful is the ability to use legal search engines, read and dissect cases quickly, remember basic debates and principles while making legal arguments, and a strong jurisprudence background, stuff I feel people are more than capable picking up really quickly first year), but I've gotten into really good law schools with the degree, so it clearly isn't that much of a setback. I'd still say pick what's interesting and fulfilling to you as an undergraduate; a lot of your applications, LORs, etc, will reflect how intensely you study and work and how good you are at your major and how passionate you are in what you do, so chose something that will help you make you shine in that respect.

Sorry for the long message! Just thought it'd be good for you to hear from someone who's done a similar major.

SPerez
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby SPerez » Wed May 20, 2015 12:45 pm

bretby wrote:Don't pick your major based on what would look best on law school applications. Please don't pick your major based on expected GPA. For the love of all things good in this world, don't major in business. Pick a major that is intellectually challenging with subject matter you find fascinating. You go to a good school; liberal arts degrees are (more or less) interchangeable on the job market.


This is pretty much exactly what I was going to say.

Legal Studies isn't offered at the majority of schools so it's an uncommon major (relatively speaking) to start with. The other thing is that it's generally not a rigorous major at the schools where it is offered. Sure, if it's at Northwestern, that's a hard school in general and you probably had to be pretty smart to get in in the first place so in that case it's not so important. But most of the LS majors I see are from your typical open-enrollment small public university and most of the students have 25-50% of their credits from community college to boot. The best students don't major in things like Legal Studies so the applications from those that do tend to be generally weaker, overall. (All this goes for Criminal Justice, too. If you want to kick in doors and be a cop, fine. But do NOT pick CJ if your plan is law school!) Generally speaking, basically anything in Liberal Arts should give you the kind of reading, writing, and analytical skills that would be needed in law school. Things like ECON can be helpful to understand the effects laws, regulations, etc. have on society...at least that's what I came up with just now when I thought about it for 30 seconds. :)

The majority of business majors aren't hard, either (I exempt FINC and ACCT from that, for the most part). B-school students today aren't asked to read anything of length, write anything of length, or even do much work by themselves from what it seems. The Default Major: Skating Through B-School (From the NYT)

The distinction most UGs don't appreciate is between things that will help you get into law school and things that will prepare you to do WELL in law school and life.

Picking an easy major, getting a 4.0, and getting into law school is great, but not being at all prepared for the workload and doing poorly when you get there isn't a good plan. Conversely, triple-majoring in the hardest courses you can find so that you're uber prepared to rock law school, but because you have a 1.9 you don't actually get in anywhere isn't good, either. (Yes, I know...hard to imagine, but there have been periods in history where there were people that didn't get into law school anywhere.)

My goals for Freshmen/Sophomores is always to just "Do College". Join orgs/clubs, get jobs, attend lectures, go to parties, make friends, etc. Never again in your life will you be able to do all those things. Of course, you need to get the best grades you can get, too. But that's always the case, no matter if you're heading to law school or not. All those experiences will make you a better, more well-rounded, more interesting human being.

For someone like you who already "knows" they want to be a lawyer, I recommend "learning" about law/being a lawyer, not from taking "prelaw" courses, but by working in a law firm, volunteering with legal aid, clerking for a judge, interning with the state/fed legislature, etc. Too many incoming 1L's have no idea what the day-to-day practice of law is like.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law

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POTUSorSCOTUS
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Wed May 20, 2015 7:44 pm

Didn't read any responses to this thread.

Do not major in legal studies. Major in physics, economics, or philosophy.

nerd1
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby nerd1 » Wed May 20, 2015 8:41 pm

Leaving rigor aside, do something different from law during your undergrad years. I think one advantage of the law school system for society overall is producing well-rounded lawyers who would understand not only law but also economics, math and natural sciences.

Law firms seem to recognize that and those students in law school who studied economics/finance/math/STEM generally find it easier to get job offers. A STEM undergrad degree is especially useful. Both analytical and critical reasoning are essential for lawyers. I would say the optimal choice of majors would be double-majoring in math/econ/finance/a natural science and philosophy/history/government/international relations/English. (i.e. combining a more analytically rigorous major with a more critical reasoning/reading-intensive major)

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby iamgeorgebush » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:19 am

why don't you take some intro classes and see what appeals to you? if you're dead-set on law school, might as well enjoy your four years in undergrad. i also happened to find that i did better in classes i enjoyed, which is an added benefit to the actaul enjoyment of those classes.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:47 am

Consider doing a double major.

TypeAprobs
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby TypeAprobs » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:42 pm

I was a Legal Studies and History major. In terms for finding jobs during the summer and in between school, if you're taking time off and want to gain legal experience, the LS helps. For schools, you are severely limiting yourself. GPA is extremely important, but at the same time, adcomms do not want to see gut majors, they want interesting atypical majors, hence why engineering, any science, and math related fields are gaining even more credibility when applying.

Adcomms want to make sure you can read well and handle high stress, and a Legal Studies major, at least at my top 20 school was a running joke for how basic everything was--tied up with marketing and criminal justice (no offense to anyone on here whatsoever- we're all in the same boat!).

If you're set on Legal Studies, that's great, but giving you the same advice I gave other law school hopefuls and LS majors, pick a double in something that will make you stand out that won't hurt your GPA. Just consider doubling in Spanish (bilingual/multilingual is huge today, plus they are also reading intensive and require translations, which could be worth discussing in a PS or resume), accounting (could help later if you ever want to get your CPA and need required credit hours-tax law, commercial, SEC), engineering or even computer science/cyber security(great for patent law or intellectual property-cyber security is a growing field), biology/anatomy/chemistry (would be beneficial for civil anything and med mal), lastly humanities are great if you want to prove you can read and write extensively (please heed my warning though- stay away from PoliSci if you're already doing LS, think more about philosophy, english, or even history).

You obviously have the choice to do whatever you think is right, but I'm just giving you the advice I wish someone gave me.

--About the legal employment thing, while not many schools truly care that you've worked in a law firm or government agency before, it would really help you decide what kind of legal (or non-legal) environment/career you want.

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Helioze
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby Helioze » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:02 pm

Traynor Brah wrote: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.


*cough* sociology/GWS *cough*

dabigchina
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby dabigchina » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:25 pm

major in accounting. you will hate your life but you will never be jobless.

eta: i've also heard having a CPA is a solid plus for oci.

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FullRamboLSGrad
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:29 am

OP you remind me of me at 19. Here's the deal, Legal Studies wouldn't open any doors not would it help you in any way at all.

I majored in Econ and minored in Philosophy. I took more philosophy classes than Econ but wanted to call Econ my major. This combination helped me on the LSAT , Law School and in Legal Hiring. Philosophy is a huge part of reasoning and provides a much better pre cursor to Law School, Econ makes you a desirable candidate if it doesn't work out or if you want to work in Corporate/Transactional law.

Legal Studies is for CC students late in life to career switch to Legal Assisting and Paralegal.

TypeAprobs
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby TypeAprobs » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:20 pm

dabigchina wrote:major in accounting. you will hate your life but you will never be jobless.

eta: i've also heard having a CPA is a solid plus for oci.


+1

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gnomgnomuch
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby gnomgnomuch » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:24 pm

daisy33 wrote: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! :)



Don't do this...if you're doing legal studies than you might as well do Political Science. HOWEVER, if you end up doing it - or poli sci - take at least 3 classes in stat's and econ, this way, you'd be somewhat employable. Seriously though, major in something you enjoy, but affords you the ability to get a job afterwards. Oh, and law school is 3 years away at the earliest, your mind might change a billion times. Don't pigeonhole yourself.

In terms of stats classes - take classes that teach SPSS/STATA and ideally take a class on SQL or R. GL.

grizz20
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Re: Legal Studies Major?????

Postby grizz20 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:13 am

Pick a major you enjoy, and hopefully that is a major companies value - stem, econ, finance, and the like. Legal studies sounds like the stupidest shit I have ever heard.




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