A message from our Pre-Law advisor, Miguel Moran-Lanier:
Law is a complex, competitive field that remains a popular career option among students at UCSB. If you are attracted to the law profession, I welcome you to the challenge! UCSB’s Pre-Law Advising program is designed to help students like you in planning a path to law school.
If you are interested in pursuing law, I encourage you to do the following:
- Schedule a pre-law advising appointment. This type of consultation is appropriate if you have in-depth questions, need help in preparing for law school admissions, and/or want to develop an individualized academic plan. For more urgent or brief questions, visit the College Advising Office (1117 Cheadle Hall) for a walk-in appointment, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 1:00–3:30 p.m.
- Review the Official Guide to US Law Schools.
- Talk to people who have a connection to the legal profession. Be prepared to hear about the advantages as well as the disadvantages.
- Consider visiting Career Services office, which is another helpful resource for students exploring law. There, a career advisor can assist you in exploring the legal profession and assessing whether or not the field is fitting to your strengths and preferences.
- Finally, please take the time to explore our website. Whether you already have begun the law school application process or you are in the first stages of considering the law profession, I am confident that you will find some helpful information.
I look forward to meeting with you, answering your questions, and providing guidance as you consider a career in law!
Evaluating Law as a Possible Career Are you wondering whether or not the law profession is right for you? As you explore this potential career choice, here are some important questions to consider:
- Have I acquainted myself with the law profession and developed a realistic expectation of what the career entails?
- Does the law profession seem fitting to my personality, preferences, and strengths?
- Have I gained at least a rudimentary understanding of what it is like to be a law student for three years? Does the challenge of law school seem manageable, or even appealing?
- Am I prepared for the financial impact of paying for law school and, despite the possibility of a large debt upon graduation, am I convinced it is worth it?
Resources for Prospective Law Students UCSB offers two main avenues for guiding prospective law students:
- For students who are still in the process of exploring law, UCSB Career Services offers several assessment tools to help students determine if the profession is fitting for them.
- Students who are ready to plan and pursue their paths to law school generally work with the Pre-Law Advisors in the College Advising Office (1117 Cheadle).
While law schools do not require any prerequisites or a specific undergraduate major, there are some general academic skills that have been determined to be crucial to a law student’s success. According to the American Bar Association, these core skills include:
- Problem Solving
- Critical Reading
- Oral communication/Listening
- Task Organization/Management
Keep this list in mind as you select your undergraduate courses each term, choose your major, and seek involvement in extracurricular activities. Consider pursuing opportunities that will help you hone these skills.
For a more detailed explanation of the core skills, visit: American Bar Association: Legal Education Resources.
Choosing a Major
As mentioned previously, there is no required or even strongly recommended major that law schools expect applicants to pursue. Over the years, UCSB students from virtually all disciplines have gained admission to law schools around the nation.
Choose a major that both interests and challenges you, keeping in mind the core skills you will need for law school (noted in the panel above). If you are considering a double major, it is important to recognize that this pursuit generally does not give a law school applicant any significant advantage in the eyes of admissions committees. Pursue a double major only if you are passionate about both of your chosen disciplines, and you are prepared to take on the challenge of an increased workload.
Experience Beyond the Classroom
According to the American Bar Association, every member (and potential member) of the legal profession “should be dedicated both to the objectives of serving others honestly, competently, and responsibly, and to the goals of improving fairness and the quality of justice in the legal system.”
As part of your preparation for law school, seek ways to accomplish these objectives. Whether through community service, involvement in campus life, an internship, or a part-time job, find an appealing opportunity to assist others in the community. Experiences such as these will help you to build the skills and discipline required for law school while strengthening your résumé.
Keep in mind, however, that academics are your first priority. Avoid taking on too many commitments, or any commitments that might interfere with your studies.
While not particularly complicated, the process of applying to law school can be very time-consuming. The following will help guide you through the process: Law Application Process
UCSB Career Services This office offers additional avenues for pre-law advising (see list of advising topics below) and for exploring topics related to law school and the legal profession.
- Law school events
- Career information and planning
- Guidance in choosing a career
- Interest assessment tools
- Information about professional and graduate schools
- Test preparation resources
CLAS (Campus Learning Assistance Services) CLAS offers tutorial groups and academic skills workshops, as well as one-on-one writing and academic coaching appointments. Visit the MyCLAS website to enroll online.
Legal Education Association for Diversity (LEAD) LEAD provides mentorships, networking, resources, and information to students of color who are interested in pursuing a law school education.
Mock Trial Team Mock Trial allows undergraduate students to take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses, acting out a fictitious case while competing against the mock trial teams of other universities.
Phi Alpha Delta (P.A.D.) Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity is a co-ed organization with alumni chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada. P.A.D. provides a strong community for students interested in pursuing a career in legal, professional, or public service.
Law School Application Assistance
LSAC (The Law School Admissions Council) Create a student account with LSAC to register for the LSAT online, receive your scores via e-mail, assemble credentials, track your applications, and more.
NALP (The Association for Legal Career Professionals) NALP is a professional organization that offers career counseling and planning, professional development, and other services to law students, lawyers, and its members.
ABA (American Bar Association) - Comprehensive Bar Admissions Requirements. The ABA site provides information about bar admissions guidelines, which vary from state to state.
The State Bar of California Of the UCSB graduates who eventually pursue the legal profession, a large number take the California Bar Examination. Visit the State Bar of California’s website to learn about the bar admission requirements, pass rate statistics, and more.