A lawyer is involved with people, with their cultural, social, political, and economic institutions, and above all with their hopes and dreams. As an advocate, negotiator, advisor, mediator, and public citizen, a lawyer has the responsibility to preserve the rights of individuals and to secure justice in a democratic republic.
The legal profession
Law in the United States reflects the dynamics of power, and thus of conflict, within American society. In order to resolve conflict and to promote orderly change, lawyers call upon many fields of learning in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. They need skill in analysis, breadth of vision, and commitment to justice, for the law is a humanistic pursuit based on the purposes and principles of the civilization it serves.
If you are interested in a career that requires precision in thinking, research, and writing, and you want to be involved with people and their social, political, cultural, and economic aspirations, you should consider becoming an attorney.
The Kansas State University Pre-Law Club sponsors meetings that acquaint students with careers in law. These careers are remarkably varied; they include private practice, corporate law, public interest practice, judiciary service, and teaching.
Lawyers frequently choose to specialize in one or more of these areas:
- Real Estate
- Human rights
- Trust and estate
- Personal injury
Lawyers who do not wish to practice as attorneys have found a law background to be an advantage in such fields as:
- Corporate management
- Urban planning
- Library science
- Health services
- Corrections administration
- Social services
- Foundation administration
- Labor relations
- International diplomacy
K-State pre-law students
Pre-law students at K-State number several hundred. Each year K-State sends seniors from diverse geographic, economic, academic, racial, and cultural backgrounds to law schools in Kansas and throughout the nation. The University of Kansas, Washburn, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, Northwestern, Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Texas are among the schools that have recently accepted K-State pre-law students. Approximately 40 law schools admit K-Staters every spring.
In recent years K-State students served by the pre-law office have been accepted to law school at a rate substantially exceeding the national average.
Distinguished K-State alumni who have attended law school have included a chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, a federal district judge, a dean of the University of Kansas Law School, and a number of Kansas legislators.
Historically under-represented in law schools, women and minority students have discovered that today there are exciting opportunities for them in law.
The pre-law program at K-State and the pre-law program recommended by the Association of American Law Schools are identical. Both call for an individualized course of study that emphasizes breadth, depth, and rigor. In addition, both stress that in preparing for law school you may select the major of your choice in any department in any college within the university.
Regardless of your major, you will have the opportunity to work with a K-State pre-law advisor in selecting courses that will enable you to develop the capacities necessary for law study.
While law schools do not identify specific courses that must be taken before admission, they do stress completion of challenging courses that help you to understand the wide range of human institutions and values with which the practice and the study of law are concerned. You are also expected to acquire the ability to think analytically and creatively and to write and speak with clarity.
Among disciplines cited as valuable in pre-law study are English, speech, languages, history, philosophy, mathematics, science, accounting, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, computer science, and engineering.
The goal of law study "is to bring the whole of human insight to bear on the study of law and its institutions." - University of Michigan Law School Bulletin, The University of Michigan.
Pre-law advising is provided in the dean's office in the College of Arts and Sciences. Every semester a pre-law orientation is held before enrollment. In addition, students considering law school come to the pre-law office for advising during enrollment, beginning in the freshman year (or as soon as they identify an interest in law study).
The advisor meets with pre-law students in individual conferences each semester, and together they plan a curriculum that takes into account the unique strengths and interests of each individual. Students work closely with the advisor in selecting courses that will enable them to develop the competencies necessary for law study.
They also confer with the advisor individually to select the schools to which they wish to apply or to identify alternatives to a law career. In group meetings they plan application strategies, prepare for the Law School Admissions Test, and formulate goals for law school scholarships and financial aid.
The pre-law office is a resource center providing information about every accredited law program in the country. The office also sponsors group meetings that give supplemental information about preparing for a law career. Each semester, sessions are offered to help students prepare for the Law School Admissions Test. At Pre-Law Club events and in other meetings students have an opportunity to talk with visiting representatives of law schools. Go to the Pre-Law Club page for a calendar of these events and activities.
Prospective students are welcome to visit the pre-law office throughout the year.
For more information about pre-law, contact:
Daralyn Gordon Arata, Esquire
Arts and Sciences Dean's Office
112 Eisenhower Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
General recommendations from the pre-law advisor
- There is no one "right" major for law school. Major in the area(s) that interests you. You're more likely to do well and have the grades and passion for learning that law schools look for.
- Meet with each of your advisors at least once a semester.
- Create a balance in your academic life -- challenge yourself in your selection of courses and in the number of hours you take, but don't go overboard.
- Seek breadth in your academic curriculum by taking courses outside your field. Your advisor can help with this.
- Take courses and other opportunities to develop your writing skills. You'll be doing a lot of writing in law school.
- Strive for a high GPA, but not by taking only "easy" classes.
- Get involved on campus or in the community in groups that interest you. A list of campus groups can be found in the Student Activities Office in the Union.
- Consider studying abroad. Short and long term programs are available through the Office of International Programs in Fairchild.
- Look into the possibility of doing an internship. Career and Employment Services in Holtz Hall has great access to such opportunities.
- Begin preparing for the LSAT well in advance.
- Take the mock LSAT when it is offered. KSU offers a mock LSAT once a semester to help give students a feel for the real test.
- Begin doing readings related to law. There's a list of such books in the pre-law office.
- Consider alternatives to law school or additions (eg. a dual degree) such as MBA, MPP, MPA, or MA.
- Visit law schools when you have the chance. If you're in a city that has a law school during your vacations or for other purposes, stop in and ask to sit in on a class, talk to students or see the people in admissions to get a feel for the school. Even if you are not considering that particular school, the visit will give you a comparative base.
- Get to know your professors and advisors. They can be a resource for readings, classes, community/campus opportunities, and even internships or jobs. Also, they'll be writing letters of recommendation for you some day!
- Take advantage of campus cultural and academic opportunities. Check the Collegian bulletin daily and check campus bulletin boards for information about speakers, conferences, workshops, volunteer opportunities and music and art events. Also, check online for news and events.
- Plan ahead and don't procrastinate!
The Kansas State University Pre-Law Club
The Pre-Law Club is open to students in any major. Its purpose is to bring together students with an interest in law as a career and to provide them with informative programs designed to increase their understanding of legal education, law school, the practice of law, careers in law and issues in law. Additional information regarding pre-law can be found on the pre-law bulletin board in 112 Eisenhower Hall.