Preparation For Law-School Academics
The American Bar Association recognizes a number of key values and skills as important for lawyers. As you explore whether law may be a good fit for you, you may want to consider taking some of the courses below that directly relate to these skill sets and values.
Analytic / Problem Solving Skills: Students should seek courses and other experiences that will engage them in critical thinking about important issues, that will engender in them tolerance for uncertainty, and that will give them experiences in structuring and evaluating arguments for and against propositions that are susceptible to reasoned debate. Students also should seek courses and other experiences that require them to apply previously developed principles or theories to new situations, and that demand that they develop solutions to new problems.
- Courses in Philosophy
- PHI 1321 Intro to Philosophy
- PHI 2310 Law, Science, and Society
- PHI 2370 Business Ethics
- PHI 3301 Moral Philosophy
- PHI 4318 Philosophy of Law
- PHI 4360 Contemporary Ethical Theory
- PHI 4361 Social Philosophy
- Courses in Mathematics, beginning with MTH 1321 (Calculus I)
- Courses in Physics, beginning with PHY 1408(General Physics for Natural and Behavioral Sciences I) or PHY1420 (General Physics I)
- Courses in Statistics and Probability, beginning with STA 1380, 2381, or 3381
Critical Reading: Preparation for legal education should include substantial experience at close reading and critical analysis of complex textual materials, for much of what law students and attorneys do involves careful reading. Law school should not be the first time that a student has been rigorously engaged in the enterprise of carefully reading and understanding, and critically analyzing, complex written material of substantial length.
- Any 2000-level course in ENG or GTX
- GKC 1301-2320 (Can be used to fulfill the language requirement in many cases)
- LAT 1301-2320 (Can be used to fulfill the language requirement in many cases)
- Any 3000 or 4000-level course in the Humanities or Social Sciences
Writing and Research Skills: Students should acquire and refine fundamental writing skills before entering law school. Those preparing for legal education should seek as many experiences as possible that require rigorous and analytical writing, including preparing original pieces of substantial length and revising written work in response to constructive criticism. Those preparing for legal education should select courses and seek experiences that will require them to plan a research strategy; undertake substantial library research; and analyze, organize, and present a large amount of material.
- ENG 3303 Advanced Expository Writing
- ENG 4309 Advanced Argumentative and Persuasive Writing
- Any other 3000 or 4000-level course in the Humanities or Social Sciences requiring a substantial research paper
- Preparation of a thesis as part of the Honors, University Scholars, or Baylor Business Fellows programs
Oral Communication/ Listening Abilities: The abilities to speak clearly and persuasively and to listen effectively are essential to success in law school and the practice of law. Before beginning law school, individuals should develop their basic speaking and listening skills, including engaging in debate; making formal presentations in class; or speaking before groups in school, the community, or the workplace.
- CSS 1304 Argumentation and Debate
- CSS 3305 Advanced Public Speaking
- CSS 3307 Legal Communication
- CSS 3312 Non-Verbal Communication
- CSS 3316 Persuasion and Communication
- HIS 2389 Introduction to Model Organization of American States
- HIS 4389 Advanced Model Organization of American States
Public Service and Promotion of Justice: Members 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.
- PPS 1100 Philanthropy and Public Service: There are various sections including "Law and Public Service" and "Careers in Law" offering students an opportunity to explore legal practice. Includes a 30-hour community service component.
- PPS 1102 Community Law Enforcement: Examination of the criminal justice system, law enforcement, police, courts, and the corrections system through service-learning, as well as classroom instruction.
- PPS/PSC 3302 Criminal Justice and Community Law Enforcement: Examination of the criminal justice system, law enforcement, police, courts, and the corrections system from the perspective of law enforcement personnel, alleged offenders, and victims of crime.
- PPS/PSC 3372 Law, Justice and the Community: Introduction to legal practice. Includes a required internship in legal offices.
Background Knowledge and Exposure to Law: Students entering the law profession should have a broad understanding of history, particularly American history, and the various factors (social, political, economic, and cultural) that have influenced the development of the pluralistic society that exists in the United States. As law has become more woven into the fabric of our society, and as that society is increasingly influenced by disparate national and global forces, a broad knowledge base is essential for success in law school and for competence in the legal profession. Some additional courses that can help develop such knowledge are:
- ECO 4318 Law and Economics
- HIS 2365 The United States to 1877
- HIS 2366 The United States since 1877
- HIS 3371 History of Black Americans
- HIS 4357 Inter-American Relations
- HIS 4363 American Revolution and Constitution
- HIS 4365 The Early Republic, 1789-1860
- HIS 4366 American Legal History to 1877
- HIS 4368 Civil War and Reconstruction
- HIS 4371 The United States, 1877-1920
- HIS 4374 United States since 1920
- HIS 4375 The American Civil Rights Movement
- HIS 4377 History of American Women, 1600-1865
- HIS 4378 History of American Women since 1865
- PSC 1305 American National Government
- PSC 1306 American State and Local Government
- SOC 3322 Urban Sociology
- SOC 4322 Social Stratification