Eastern Michigan University
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Pre-Law Advising

Eastern Michigan University is committed to helping students prepare to enter law school (law school rankings). The Political Science faculty have been active in establishing a curriculum that has enabled its majors to be highly successful in being admitted to law school. Our majors have been admitted to law schools such as University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Toledo, Wayne State University, The Ohio State University, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Indiana University, Ave Maria School of Law, George Washington University, University of Minnesota, Dayton University, and more.

A pre-law student, as stated in the American Bar Association's Official Pre-Law Handbook, should select a broad liberal arts education from such diverse areas as political science, history, mathematics, philosophy, English, and the physical sciences. The Handbook states that "what law schools seek in entering students is not accomplishment in memorization, but accomplishment in understanding, the capacity to think for themselves, and the ability to express their thoughts with clarity and force." This ability can best be developed by taking classes that require you to express thoughts and ideas both in writing and orally.

Though majors that do not require term papers may seem appealing, they are not likely to prepare you for law school. The Department of Political Science offers general education courses, elective courses, and both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science, Public Law and Government, Public Administration, Public Safety Administration and Nonprofit Management. Our degree programs are designed to meet the needs of students preparing for advanced work of law school. Within the Department of Political Science there are pre-law advisors, Dr. Barry Pyle and Mr. Mark Maironis JD, who help students plan their individual law programs. Among the specific criteria law schools consider, according to the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools are:

  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score
  • Undergraduate grade point average (GPA)
  • Undergraduate course of study; especially its difficulty and depth
  • The quality of the college you attended
  • Improvement in your grades and grade distribution
  • College activities, both curricular and extracurricular
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal interviews and written essay
  • Activities such as work experience
  • Motivation and reasons for deciding to study law
  • Any difficulties you may have had to overcome
  • Other things that might distinguish you to the admissions committee

LSAT

LSAC administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) four times per year and provides a Credential Assembly Service, which collects and submits materials from applicants to law schools. Each of these is available for a fee. LSAC provides other services, such as law school forums, where prospective applicants can meet with law schools and attend workshops.

Students tend to perform better if they take the LSAT either in June after junior year or in October of senior year. Unlike the ACT or SAT, if you take the LSAT more than one time, all of your scores will be sent out to law schools. There are also numerous schools that will average your scores together. If you do not do well, you should consult a pre-law advisor before retaking the LSAT.

Applying to Law School

The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) sends a copy of your biography, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, LSAT scores, writing sample, and letters of recommendation to law schools to which you apply.

Most deadlines are not until March of the year to intend to attend law school. However, if your application is in earlier, there will be a smaller number of applications against which to compare yours. Therefore, completed applications should be sent into prospective schools during the fall of your senior year.

There are two general essays that are required along with a law school application: the academic statement and the personal statement. The academic statement should be no longer than two double-spaced pages. It should convey your intellectual ability in and out of the classroom. The personal statement should be two double-spaced pages. It should be sent to all law schools whether it is required or not.

If you are going straight from undergraduate work into law school, you should obtain two faculty recommendations and one recommendation from an employer or other person who has worked closely with you. If you have taken time off in between undergraduate work and law school, you should use two employer recommendations and one recommendation from a faculty member. The faculty members should be able to describe your writing, research, presentations, and other attributes that point to success in law school.

Send a copy of your resume to every school to which you apply.

If you are interested in attending law school, please set up an appointment with one of the following.