The difference between Amherst and Williams in this regard is de minimus. Insignificant. Not worthy of consideration.
And, by the way: when you go to apply to law school, you will discover that, with few exceptions (e.g., being a URM, or doing Teach for America, plus a few other attractive accomplishments), law school is all about the numbers. "Soft" factors are not much of a consideration. Law school admissions are all about the GPA/LSAT combination (relative weighting of each varies by individual law school).
For more information, go to Top-Law-Schools.com. Very helpful forum.
FWIW, Amherst has a "Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought" (LJST) major which *some* people might consider a pre-law program, but, Amherst itself doesn't refer to it that way and, in fact, most top law schools discourage the idea of a pre-law track at the undergraduate level. Piglette is correct; all things being equal (lsat scores, gpa, number of applicants, etc.) neither school has a clear advantage over the other in law school admissions.
There is also a "legal studies" concentration at Williams to take in addition to a major (or two), but in general, Williams faculty aren't interested in give students vocational preparation. You might be better off browsing the English, history, philosophy, poli sci, economics, etc. department pages, or even the pages for Latino studies, Asian studies, etc. to see what kind of approach you'd like to take to make your own pre-law experience. I'm thinking that might help you better distinguish between the two schools. I'm not pre-law though, so you might be better off trying the "contact" page of the above website!
I did notice that Yale did not have anyone from Amherst in its most recent class profile.
However, I think there really is no difference between the two in this regard. You should go to the institution that will be best to help you flourish intellectually and as a person. I was also accepted to both institutions (and some Ivies), but I went with Amherst.
Haha, I respectfully disagree.
The number of lawyers going into politics took a substantial downturn during the aughts. Besides, I think we could use some more educated people in Congress, not including Penn State of course
My D started law school and said the kind of education involves such tunnel vision that she concluded that gov't is so bad because it is run by lawyers. I know that isn't entirely the case, and I know many extremely intelligent and kindly lawyers, but she felt the way lawyers are educated does not train them to look at the big picture.
My field is literature and we do look at the big picture. Of course, we have no power.
Hey, I was also accepted to Amherst and I’m planning to do the Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought major. While participating in this program would not improve my chances to get accepted to an elite law school, it will be a great base for my future studies there. Williams and Amherst are pretty much identically strong in terms of academics. But Williams does not have a pre-law program what-so-ever. In my opinion, it would be much easier for me to succeed academically in a demanding law school after Amherst’s pre-law program.
@vbpost: Here's an excerpt from the LJST section of the Amherst course catalog.
Post-Graduate Study. LJST is not a pre-law program designed to serve the needs of those contemplating careers in law. While medical schools have prescribed requirements for admission, there is no parallel in the world of legal education.
Law schools generally advise students to obtain a broad liberal arts education; they are as receptive to students who major in physics, mathematics, history or philosophy as they would be to students who major in LJST.
LJST majors will be qualified for a wide variety of careers. Some might do graduate work in legal studies, others might pursue graduate studies in political science, history, philosophy, sociology, or comparative literature.
For those LAW, JURISPRUDENCE, AND SOCIAL THOUGHT not inclined toward careers in teaching and scholarship, LJST would prepare students for work in the private or public sector or for careers in social service.
I am not a law school adcom, but I am a lawyer and a hiring partner at a major firm, and I must say choosing between two excellent colleges based on speculation of which gives you a better chance of getting into law school is just silly. If you go where you enjoy, you will do better, and therefore, if at the end of 4 years you still want law school, you'll be in a better position to get in. In fact, if you wanted to be so narrow minded as to base your college decision on the speculation of what strategy might work best to get into law school, it may be that graduating at the very top of your class at your state's flagship university (where you will presumably face less competition and hence pull down better grades) and acing the LSAT, is the most effective strategy. Law school admissions is cold and number driven. Enjoy college. Choose based on a criteria of where you will thrive for the next four years, and then all else will follow.
and to the person who said law school is like tunnel vision, that is true, at least for the first year and maybe the second. undergrad is a mind expanding experience. law school? not so much. but law school is not the liberal arts. It is a trade school. If you want to be a lawyer, you have to learn the nuts and bolts, no way around it. If you can't sit through the mind numbing experience of digesting tomes of contract, real property and tort law, this is not the field for you -- Your clients do have an expectation that you will know this stuff!
Too many people in my HLS class chose law school as the path of least resistance-- they didn't want to enter the workforce and they didn't want to do a PhD so they saw law school as just more of their Gov concentration or whatever. Then lo and behold they discover that law school has at its purpose to train student to be...lawyers. And they don't want to practice law so they are distraught. (I heard the dean of the Law School once correct a student who said that the students were clients of the Law School. "Oh, no" He pointed out, "you aren't the clients, you are the product..." Once I understood that so many things that heretofore made no sense fell into place.)
Maybe Yale is a 3 year trip into white-letter nirvana but that is about it. Harvard, Stanford and all of the rest of the law schools want to create lawyers. Now what you choose to do as a lawyer is no longer the small list of things such as private practice, government or in house counsel, but still and all-- you will be going to a trade school as Pickwick rightly points out. If that does not appeal-- there are other ways to spend 3 years and a couple of hundred (once you put in living costs too) thousand bucks.