Political Science and Geography Department

Political Science & Geography Department

Pre-Law

Lawyers negotiate treaties and trade agreements. They enforce environmental laws. They send criminals to prison. They draft patents to protect breakthroughs in biotechnology.

If you are interested in pursuing law as a career, take part in SPU’s pre-law program. Offered through the Department of Political Science, the pre-law program assists students as they prepare for law school.

Pre-Law Courses

Pre-law is not a major and has no required courses. However, all students considering law school are strongly encouraged to take the following three-course sequence (each course is offered on alternate years):

    POL 3780 Law and Society examines the philosophy of law, the organization and operation of America’s civil and criminal justice systems, and legal issues such as product liability, assisted suicide, civil forfeiture, and endangered species protection.

    The course also covers how to prepare for law school, and it includes guest speakers such as judges, lawyers, mediators, law school students, and law school admissions officers.

    POL 4450 American Constitutional Law: Powers and POL4451 American Constitutional Law: Liberties are both a study of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court, and the role of "constitutional" law in American government and society, with special attention given to cases dealing with federalism and separation of powers.

    POL 4452 International Law explores the basics of international law, including how it is made, the key institutions involved, and the enforcement of global law.

Other law related courses at SPU include:

    BUS 2414 Legal Environment of Business
    JRN 3301 Media Law
    SOC 3371 Crime and Delinquency
    SOC 4250 Law and Society

Pre-law students are also encouraged to take courses that strengthen their skills of writing and analysis, which are crucial to success in law school, including:

    PHIL1001/2001 Power of Logic and Advanced Logic; COM 2323 Argumentation: Art of Inference. These courses introduce students to critical thinking and argumentation.

    ENG 1101 Writing in College; ENG 3301, Writing to be Read; JRN 2101, News and Informational Writing; JRN 3101, Advanced Newswriting. These courses develop and strengthen a student's writing skills.

Pre-Law Advising

SPU's pre-law advisor is Professor Reed Davis, (206-281-2395, rdavis@spu.edu). Students considering law school are encouraged to set up an appointment with him prior to the beginning of their junior year.

LSAT Registration

Students planning to enter law school should take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) by the December prior to the year they plan to attend law school.

The LSAT is offered four times a year (February, June, October, and December). LSAT registration books can be obtained from Dr. Davis (rdavis@spu.edu) in Alexander 405. For more information about the LSAT, visit www.lsat.org. Information about LSAT preparation courses can be found at www.kaplan.com and www.stevenklein.com.

Christian Legal Society Membership

The Christian Legal Society is the national professional association of Christian lawyers. It offers programs and resources of interest to pre-law students. SPU students can join the Christian Legal Society. For more information, contact Dr. Davis (rdavis@spu.edu).

Legal Internships

The pre-law program is developing an internship program so pre-law students can gain first-hand knowledge of the legal world. Academic credit will be available for such internships through the Political Science Department (POL 4940).

Additional Pre-Law Resources

Books

    ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools (Broadway Books, New York). Information about the 179 American Bar Association-approved law schools. May be purchased from the Law School Admissions Council.

    Blackís Law Dictionary (West Publishing). Standard dictionary of legal terms, regularly revised and updated.

    Law School: Legal Education in America from the 1850s to the 1980s by Robert Stevens (University of North Carolina Press, 1983). Covers the evolution of legal education in the United States.

Websites