Academic Advising Center

Law

Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors in our society. As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest particular courses of action in business and personal matters. Whether acting as an advocate or an advisor, all attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the law to the specific circumstances faced by their clients. (bls.gov 2008-05-08)

Law education prepares students to become attorneys, judges, public servants, teachers or administrators in government or the private sector.

Although there is no recommended “prelaw” undergraduate major, prospective lawyers should develop proficiency in writing and speaking, reading, researching, analyzing, and thinking logically—skills needed to succeed both in law school and in the law. Regardless of major, a multidisciplinary background is recommended. Courses in English, foreign languages, public speaking, government, philosophy, history, economics, mathematics, and computer science, among others, are useful. Students interested in a particular aspect of law may find related courses helpful. For example, prospective patent lawyers need a strong background in engineering or science, and future tax lawyers must have extensive knowledge of accounting. (bls.gov 2008-05-08)

Acceptance by most law schools depends on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate an aptitude for the study of law, usually through undergraduate grades, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the quality of the applicant’s undergraduate education, any prior work experience, and sometimes, a personal interview. However, law schools vary in the weight they place on each of these and other factors. Most schools require that applicants register through the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). This service provides schools with information on transcripts, LSAT scores and letters of recommendation in a standardized format. For excellent LSAT practice tests please visit the SLED Testing and Education Reference Center. You will want to choose "Graduate School" once you select the Testing and Education Reference Center link.

Law school consists of three years of graduate level study. Instruction includes classroom lecture and discussion, considerable outside research, and practice of courtroom procedures. Upon graduation, students must pass a state bar exam in order to practice.

Students interested in a legal career can see a pre-law advisor through the Academic Advising Center to discuss program planning and professional schools. Faculty in the Political Science and Justice departments are also familiar with the rigors of law school.

There are some universities that offer specific scholarships for Alaskans.  One is the Alaska Scholarships at Seattle University.  This competitive award is designed for Alaskans interested in studying law at SU and is a renewable award for up to three years.  A number of institutions also offer scholarships for particular areas of study or that target students from certain backgrounds.  Researching information on scholarships at different institutions in an important part of the application process.