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Potential Majors for an Aspiring Lawyer?

xreadyornotxxreadyornotx Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
edited April 2009 in Law School
Hi, I'm wondering if anyone can help me with major selection if I want to attend law school for graduate school. I'm currently a junior in high school, and depending on what major I select, I will be applying to different high-ranked schools based on prestige of programs.

Up to this point, I've always considered a major in fiance, economics, or something business related. However, it was pointed out to me that such majors require virtual straight As in math, the one subject areas in which I do not have straight As.

So, if I plan on becoming a corporate lawyer [tentative], what kind of other majors should I consider?

Also, I've been told that law school is just a numbers game, that only LSAT and GPA matter, is this true? And is your undergraduate school/major considered at all?

Post edited by xreadyornotx on

Replies to: Potential Majors for an Aspiring Lawyer?

  • crnchycerealcrnchycereal Registered User Posts: 400 Member
    Browsing through a few of the threads on this forum will quickly answer all of your questions, but here's a quick summary:

    1. No, major doesn't matter. From art history and theater to electrical engineering, law schools accept students from every major under the sun. The only thing to watch out for are so-called pre-professional majors like "Pre-Law" or "Criminal Studies". Those types of majors are often not looked kindly upon.

    2. Yes, law school is mostly a numbers game. Get a high GPA and LSAT and you're golden.

    3. Undergraduate rigor or prestige matter very little in the process. Some people claim that graduating from a top Ivy like HYP will make a difference at the margins, but for the vast majority of schools, it's an equal playing field.

    Btw, it's a mistake to assume that strong performance in economics or business majors requires one to be a math whiz. Trust me, you're not exactly going to be using vector calculus as an econ major.
  • xreadyornotxxreadyornotx Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Thank you so much for the help!

    1. I'm still a little shocked that major completely doesn't matter... a finance major wouldn't even help if I'm considering corporate law? So if I'm set on law, I should just pick an easy major and go for a high GPA?

    2. Suppose that I get into a top school, but not HYP, say UPenn or MIT, would that help on college apps?

    3. Thanks for that info, but would undergraduate business schools look kindly upon decent grades in math? (B+,A freshman yr and A-,A soph and A- junior)
  • crnchycerealcrnchycereal Registered User Posts: 400 Member
    1. It's not as though you select a certain career path when you apply for law school. If you want to do corporate law, that's something you'll decide while you're in law school based on the courses you take and the companies at which you interview. Having a prior background in finance is certainly helpful but by no means necessary.

    I would note, though, that I always think it's a bad idea to select a major purely for the purpose of applying to law school. Don't select a major because you think it'll be an easy 4.0. Select a major that interests you, that you'll enjoy, and one in which you can also perform well.

    2. Again, as I noted, some people CLAIM that attending a school like HYP will have an impact. This is impossible to prove. As far as "top school" goes, there are many of them out there, and no, I don't think attending one of those institutions will have a discernible impact on your applications. Going to an elite university like MIT or an elite liberal arts college like Amherst or Williams probably doesn't give a huge edge over going to state college.

    3. Applying to undergraduate business schools is a whole different ball game. I don't know how that process works, but I assume they'll likely emphasis the quantitative courses. All I was saying was that you don't need to be some sort of math whiz to perform well IN college. Leave that to the math/physics majors and engineers.
  • Leopard03Leopard03 - Posts: 120 Junior Member
    Most people entering Law school have majors like Political Science, English, or Psyshology-- the traditional liberal arts major. Econ, Business, or Engineering also will provide a good base for law school. Simply put study what you like. If you really enjoy the subject you will get better grades and be more attractive to top schools.
  • CmossCmoss Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    if you wnt to go to corp law be a biz major so you understand the lingo and biz aspect of corp law, finance or econ emphasis would be smart
  • crnchycerealcrnchycereal Registered User Posts: 400 Member
    I disagree with Cmoss. Even if you think you'll be going into corporate law, it's best to choose a major that interests you. Having a finance or business background will not grant you some great advantage when it comes to hiring season. And most of the "lingo" and relevant knowledge will be gained on the job anyway.

    White-shoe law firms focus on grades and school reputation. Even if you aced all your courses at Wharton undergrad, if you're a middle-of-the-pack student at a tier three law school, you can kiss your chances at BIGLAW goodbye.
  • xreadyornotxxreadyornotx Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Hmm, I see. So if I am interested in business, that would be a good pursuit?
    Are there any top undergrad schools that are better at producing law students more than others? I know that 1% of MIT grads go for law school and 5% of UPenn grads go for law school, but is that a representation of chances for law school or merely a difference in interests?
  • crnchycerealcrnchycereal Registered User Posts: 400 Member
    Attending any reputable undergraduate institution will prepare you for law school in so far that it should teach you how to think critically, write well, and have good research skills. The percentage of students applying/attending law school from a certain undergrad is irrelevant. As you guessed, it's simply a reflection of interest, nothing more.

    A more useful figure would be a school's law school placement. Most top schools will have very high law school placement numbers (i.e. the percentage of students applying to law school who were accepted by at least one law school). Think about it this way-- if the 1% and 5% figures you cited were actually the number of students accepted into law school, then that would suggest MIT and Penn students find it exceedingly difficult to get into law schools. A most unlikely scenario.

    As an aside, IMHO, the schools best equipped to prepare one mentally for law school are liberal arts colleges (I'm biased; I attended Williams). LACs are wonderful in that they focus on the humanities and liberal arts, fields of study that really teach you how to think. I have an aversion to the pre-professional tracks emphasized at many large universities, as I think they are too narrow and inflexible. Many of my friends who went to large universities can wax on about finance or engineering but will stare at me blankly if I bring up current events, economic issues, literature, history, or politics.
  • khiz15khiz15 Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    Many of my friends who went to large universities can wax on about finance or engineering but will stare at me blankly if I bring up current events, economic issues, literature, history, or politics.
    lol wuuuuut. im gonna be majoring in engineering but i love politics, econ, etc. as well haha. where did your friends go to school?
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