If you are considering a career in law, then during your undergraduate years, you should develop your intellectual abilities as much as possible, while also exploring whether your initial interest in the law is sufficient to carry you on through law school and a law or law-related career.
A liberal arts education prepares you for law school because it prompts you to think critically about broad issues from multiple vantage points. You develop the ability to write cogently and coherently, to analyze carefully and accurately, to reason logically, and to speak effectively and articulately. These are the skills which will take you farthest in law school and in the practice of law, and these are the skills which law schools look for in applicants. It doesn't matter whether you develop these skills by analyzing political institutions, metaphysical arguments, underlying syntactic structures, or molecular structures; what matters is that you learn to use your mind effectively in a range of intellectual domains. Look for courses that demand a considerable amount of challenging reading and writing, especially small classes and seminars which can give you opportunities to develop your speaking ability. It is also vital to build strong relationships with a few faculty members who can write detailed recommendations for you. Your Weinberg Adviser can help you make these academic decisions.
Weinberg offers two academic programs that you may wish to consider: the Legal Studies program and Chicago Field Studies’ legal internships. The Legal Studies Programprovides opportunities for undergraduates to learn about legal issues, legal institutions, legal actors, and legal processes. It offers both a minor and an adjunct major, as well as individual courses that may be of interest to you as you consider a law career. Chicago Field Studies coordinates full-time internships for credit in legal fields, as well as part-time internships in social justice, civic engagement, and community research, among other programs. An internship through CFS can be a great way to learn about a law-related field, gain work experience, and link your academic and professional interests.
There is a practical element to preparing to apply to law school: You should also learn more about what law school and legal practice are really like. You can do this through internships and extracurricular activities and by thoroughly researching your law school options. Consult the pre-law resource page for ways to learn more about law school and about the legal profession. The website of theLaw School Admissions Council is an excellent source of information. The Northwestern Alumni Association Externship Program (NEXT)arranges opportunities to "shadow" NU alumni at their workplace for one to three days. This is an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand about a particular profession, including the law.
The two most important factors in gaining admission to law schools are your GPA and your score on the LSAT. That said, however, your GPA will be considered in light of the school and courses in which you earned it. You have to strike a balance between the desire to get the highest GPA possible and the equally compelling need to have that GPA represent real intellectual heft.
Law schools do look beyond the numbers. They want to learn the following from your application and your record: that you have a good mind and that it's been well trained; that you have what it takes to succeed both in law school and in the legal profession; and that you would bring something unique to your law school class--since such a large part of law school learning results from peer group interaction. Your Weinberg Adviser can help you put your studies and experiences into perspective as you prepare to apply, and advisers at Career Services will be glad to speak to you in more detail about preparing your personal essay, choosing which professors to ask for recommendations, and deciding which schools to apply to. You can also consult Career Services' pre-law resources for more information.
Academic Adviser and Lecturer Open Positions
Weinberg College anticipates hiring full-time College Advisers/Lecturers for the 2013-14 academic year. Please see full application details and application instructions.
Seeking Academic Advice?
Weinberg College Advisers -- faculty representing a range of disciplines in the College and who are familiar with majors throughout the curriculum -- can help you explore available resources and options. Please visit 1908 Sheridan Road, call 847-491-8916, or e-mail us. More details