Santa Clara University

Pre-law

Preparing for Law School

Santa Clara University provides a wide range of opportunities for undergraduates to build a strong pre-law foundation. Early in their undergraduate program, pre-law students should consult not only with their major advisor but also with one of the designated pre-law advisors. Consultation with a pre-law advisor familiarizes the student with the rigors of law school, the practice of law, the burden of law school debt, and the means to best secure employment as an attorney. Advisors will help formulate a program to prepare students for the complexity of the application process, including preparation for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). There is no specific major or curriculum required to qualify for law school admission. Successful law school applicants come from majors as diverse as anthropology, philosophy, communication, political science, physics, English, history, biology, and economics. Be advised, however, that preparation for the LSAT is aided by courses that deepen reading comprehension and promote logical reasoning. Overall, law school admissions officers recommend undergraduate preparation in a major that demands discipline, analytical ability, research skills, close reading of texts, creativity, verbal skills, and precision in written and oral work. The departments of Philosophy and Political Science offer a pre-law emphasis within the major (in philosophy, it is also available within the minor).

“The most valuable aspect of the college record for applicants...is not the grade point average or even the overall academic record.  The applicants I have admired most have chosen their majors to suit their interests, taken rigorous courses in and beyond their major, and integrated their extracurricular and work experiences with their academic experiences....  Most importantly, they found at least one thing they loved to do and/or to study.”  Joyce Curll, The Best Law Schools’ Admissions Secrets,  p. 37. 

The Santa Clara pre-law student's preparation is served not just by the University's Core requirements, but also by a variety of elective courses that provide valuable training and breadth of academic and analytical experience. Some elective courses strengthen specific skills, while others provide perspective on legal issues and topics.