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To become a Lawyer

mi6wikmi6wik Posts: 2Registered User New Member
edited February 2010 in Other College Majors
Hello,
I am a junior in high school right now with a 4.2 GPA. I want to become a lawyer eventually and I'm not sure what to major in. I'd say my strong areas are math and science, but I love to have discussions about history, religion, even books. I understand that I would want to major in something that can give me good grades. I've been looking into some programs and have found a Pre-Law emphasis in Philosophy major at Santa Clara University. Should I look into the philosophy, political science and english majors, or the math and science majors? What would I most benefit from? What would be the easiest to receive good grades in?
Post edited by mi6wik on
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Replies to: To become a Lawyer

  • ThePhilosopherThePhilosopher Posts: 1,661Registered User Senior Member
    Don't worry about law school right now. Focus on getting into college. Since it seems like you don't know what to major in (which is fully acceptable, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) try to attend a school which will offer you many choices. Major in what you enjoy. Law school's will not significantly care what you major in, so study what you enjoy (it may take a year or two to figure out what this is).
  • IamNOTaLegendIamNOTaLegend Posts: 61Registered User Junior Member
    My Brother-in-Law just graduated from Law School 3 years ago. He went to University of Chicago Law, which is one of the BEST in the nation. He aced his LSAT too.

    He majored in Journalism and Linguistics. He said they REALLY helped him out as a lawyer today. Mostly, the Journalism degree helped. If you want, you can choose between Linguistics, Philosophy, or a language! Being fluent in a language is VERY VERY VERY important. Mostly, do something that will help youget a degree that is useful for your job as a lawyer. Philosophy is so average that Law Schools get sick of it!

    I HIGHLY recommend a double major in Journalism and Spanish/Russian(stay AWAY from German, French, Italian, They aren't even used in this country.) There are so much Non-engish speaking Russians and Spanish people that it isn't even funny.

    I cannot STRESS how important Journalism is to law and as well as knowing a language.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 13,499Super Moderator Senior Member
    The Philosopher has it right. Just do your best, apply and get into (hopefully) the college that fits you best, and major in what interests you most. It is great that you plan on being a lawyer, but as a junior in high school you may change your mind many times between now and your junior year of college. The vast majority of students change at least once.

    I am NOTaLegend - Not to be rude, but you give advice with an incredible degree of certainty for a high school senior. It is great that your BIL found journalism to be a useful degree, and I can see how it would be. But there are many degrees that will serve people well going into law.
    I cannot STRESS how important Journalism is to law and as well as knowing a language.
    That's just silly. There is no relationship between journalism and law in the sense you are stating it, at least no more than journalism and politics, journalism and health, journalism and lots of things we need to be informed about. What if I want to be a patent lawyer? Wouldn't a degree in a science be more useful? And philosophy majors still have one of the highest rates of being accepted to law school because of the preparation in reading comprehension and analysis it provides. There are lots of useful majors.

    As far as languages, I would never argue that knowing another language isn't a great thing, but it isn't critical to being a lawyer at all, unless you want to practice law with a particular purpose in mind. Saying that Spanish and Russian (Russian??!!??) are better than those other languages is silly again. What if one wants to be involved in international law and focus on the wine industry (French and Italian)? Or autos (German)? What about emerging areas like China? I think you need a little more experience with the world.
  • JamesGoldJamesGold Posts: 496Registered User Member
    Do NOT major in anything that has Pre-Law in the title. The ONLY thing law schools dislike in an applicant is a pre-professional major. That said, law schools are far more interested in a high GPA and high LSAT than your choice of major. Historically, classics, philosophy, and mathematics majors have had the best success being admitted to law school but that's not because the law school prefers those majors, but because the majors themselves (or perhaps the types of people that major in those subjects) happen to be excellent preparation for the logical/analytical rigor of law school.
  • IamNOTaLegendIamNOTaLegend Posts: 61Registered User Junior Member
    Im saying that Journalism is a good major because Lawyers constantly write, write, and write. You NEED to be a good writer in order to become a lawyer. Communication and knowledge about society are also important too.

    and as for languages, Spanish and Russian are probably the most widely used! I participated in a German Exchange with my school and the kid i had told me that everyone in Germany knows English, ESPECIALLY THE BUSINESSMEN AND LAWYERS! Its a requirement for all universities over there.

    Taking a bunch of German Courses aren't going to help you inlife at all!
  • ThePhilosopherThePhilosopher Posts: 1,661Registered User Senior Member
    IamNotaLegend brings in examples, but to the OP: please understand that these are not the standards. Feel free to major in anything you like. Writing intensive courses (not majors) will be good for your application, along with analytic courses (math, finance, philosophy, etc..). But when it comes down to it, as stated previously, your LSAT and GPA matter the most.

    But, once again, don't worry about law school right now.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 13,499Super Moderator Senior Member
    IamNOTaLegend is obviously just a naive high school student that thinks he knows everything there is to know at this stage, I suppose. There really are not that many Russian speakers that don't know English in the USA, especially once you get away from a couple of cities like Boston and New York. Just silly, again. Learning any language gives you insights into a different way of thinking, especially when they have a very different construct than English. Both Russian and German fall into this category. And while it is true that most educated Germans speak English, wouldn't you want to know what they are saying when they speak German (for example)?

    Yes, you need to be write a lot as a lawyer, but that kind of writing is very formulaic. The key is to be precise in what you write, and many majors will prepare your for that. Far more important is reading comprehension. Anyway, ThePhilosopher has it right, as previously stated. Focus on doing well in school, get into a college that is a good fit, study something you really enjoy in college and get great grades, and everything will turn out just fine.

    The point is just focus on what you enjoy, and don't pay attention to these ridiculous absolutes that IamNOTaLegend is spewing out.
  • IamNOTaLegendIamNOTaLegend Posts: 61Registered User Junior Member
    FallenChemist: first of all, you don't have to give me attitude. I was given a question on what i thought/suggested were good majors for becoming a lawyer. I didnt tell him, YOU MUST DO WHAT I SAY! i just told him writing skills and knowing a language is VERY important and somewhat a hidden requirement for Law. I actually interned for a Lawyers office (actually one of the top in New York City) and the lawyer in which i was an assistant to told me that writing is important and taking part in a major with a emphasis on writing and reading is important. He also told me he wouldn't have become so successful in law if he wasn't fluent in Russian because most of his clients were Russian, in which he attracted from his fluency in Russian.

    German may have an importance towards International Law(and i mean a VERY LITTLE importance) but you cannot say that Spanish and Russian aren't important! you're crazy if you dont think so! Sure there are more languages that are important(Albanian, Croatian, Hindi, Arabic) but barely any colleges even offer Majors in those languages. y

    Why should this kid waste 4 years worth of College Tuition on something like Philosophy if he could reach full fluency in a widely used language and obtain amazing writing skills from journalism, which are very helpful in a career of law. what if he doesnt get into LAW SCHOOL? He has Journalism as a back up! Philosophy is useless unless you want to become a professor!
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 13,499Super Moderator Senior Member
    Well, maybe it is because you are foreign, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt. But to a native speaker, your posts come across like "You MUST do it this way, or you are STUPID!" and "This is the ONLY truth, there is no other!" Why don't you try a more tempered approach like "I worked for a lawyer in New York who told me..." instead of taking what he told you and acting like that is the only truth there is in the world.

    So you work at one law office in New York City that caters to Russian clients and from that you conclude that studying any other language except for Spanish is a waste of time. That is not only wrong, it is arrogant. I will point out again that if you work on the west coast and in most major sities elsewhere, there are Chinatowns where many people speak little English. Why did you leave out Chinese?
    German may have an importance towards International Law(and i mean a VERY LITTLE importance) but you cannot say that Spanish and Russian aren't important! you're crazy if you dont think so! Sure there are more languages that are important(Albanian, Croatian, Hindi, Arabic) but barely any colleges even offer Majors in those languages.
    That is just wrong on its face. Arabic is widely offered, and Hindi is fairly well offered. And you are trying to say Albanian and Croatian are major languages? Are you kidding?
    but you cannot say that Spanish and Russian aren't important! you're crazy if you dont think so!
    Another example of your style being offensive, even if you did not mean it that way. Besides which you cannot point out one place I said they weren't important. I said that others could also be important.

    You would do yourself a huge favor if you didn't come across like you know everything there is to know, especially at your age.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 13,499Super Moderator Senior Member
    Obviously I meant to type cities, not sities.

    By the way, saying the Journalism is a "back-up" is wildly optimistic when journalism jobs are shrinking at a rapid pace and there is no model that has them growing.
  • bugmombugmom Posts: 322Registered User Junior Member
    I agree with the posters who say major in what you like. The law schools really do not care. I had a double major in studio art and math and went to law school. GPA matters.
  • JahabaJahaba Posts: 814Registered User Member
    Yeah, I wouldn't use journalism as a fallback for anything.
  • ManOfFaithManOfFaith Posts: 363Registered User Member
    FallenChemist: first of all, you don't have to give me attitude. I was given a question on what i thought/suggested were good majors for becoming a lawyer. I didnt tell him, YOU MUST DO WHAT I SAY! i just told him writing skills and knowing a language is VERY important and somewhat a hidden requirement for Law. I actually interned for a Lawyers office (actually one of the top in New York City) and the lawyer in which i was an assistant to told me that writing is important and taking part in a major with a emphasis on writing and reading is important. He also told me he wouldn't have become so successful in law if he wasn't fluent in Russian because most of his clients were Russian, in which he attracted from his fluency in Russian.

    German may have an importance towards International Law(and i mean a VERY LITTLE importance) but you cannot say that Spanish and Russian aren't important! you're crazy if you dont think so! Sure there are more languages that are important(Albanian, Croatian, Hindi, Arabic) but barely any colleges even offer Majors in those languages. y

    Why should this kid waste 4 years worth of College Tuition on something like Philosophy if he could reach full fluency in a widely used language and obtain amazing writing skills from journalism, which are very helpful in a career of law. what if he doesnt get into LAW SCHOOL? He has Journalism as a back up! Philosophy is useless unless you want to become a professor!
    Majoring in a language won't give one full fluency in that language, you silly goose.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Posts: 13,499Super Moderator Senior Member
    MonOfFaith - That's true, good point. Also, there are tons of successful attornies who do not speak a second language, so clearly it is not a requirement for success in the law. Is it useful? Of course! I would highly encourage any student in any major to learn as many languages as possible. Knowing a foreign language gives a person insights into other cultures and ways of thinking that cannot be gotten any other way, and just makes one's life more interesting anyway. That's why we emphasize a Liberal Arts Education in this country.

    It was just another example of what I was trying to get Legend to realize, that he comes across as saying there is only one formula a person should follow if they want to get into law school and be a successful lawyer, and that if you don't listen to him you must be stupid. Hopefully he will learn to tone it down, come across with a bit more humility, and disable the !!! key on his computer.
  • SchokoladeSchokolade Posts: 1,111Registered User Senior Member
    mi6wik, The advice I have heard most often about prelaw majors is as follows: major in what you love, and the grades will follow. My law school class at UVA many years ago had a wide variety of undergraduate majors. Because you don't have to choose a major until your sophomore year at many colleges, you will have the freedom to see which college courses you like most, and then decide.

    If your interest turns out to be a science or engineering major, you might consider that those majors would be very helpful if you wish to become a patent lawyer, one of the most highly-compensated areas of law. If you are not particularly interested in majoring in foreign languages, you might be comforted to know that I was accepted at two top-10 law schools (and wait-listed at the other to which I applied) even though I could barely count to 10 in French and Spanish. In my practice as a business lawyer for 6 years, I was never in a situation in which knowledge of a foreign language would have been helpful (although I did very little interenational work). If you'd like to major in a subject that would help you improve your communication skills, that would be helpful as well. Some legal writing is formulaic because the specific wording is mandated by law, but that is true of only a small amount of legal work.

    My double major in finance and economics was helpful to me as a business lawyer, and then several years after I retired from practicing law, when I taught high school economics at my children's school.

    It is great that you're considering possible majors at this point because you'll want to know that the college you attend offers your possible majors, but fortunately you have time to consider which one will be best for you.
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