How to Become a Lawyer: College to the Job Market (Part II)
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"Pre-law" simply means that you are in college with the intent to go to law school. Just like "pre-med" students want to become doctors, pre-law students want to become lawyers. But what are the best pre-law tracks? What major should you select as an undergraduate student to best prepare yourself for law school?

There is no correct answer to these questions, but there are some guidelines. If you have no idea what area of the law you would like to go into (which tends to be true for many students), then choose a major that you enjoy and helps to develop your critical thinking. For example, English is a great major because law students and lawyers must be good at communicating. Other majors could include criminal justice, sociology, and education. These majors tend to develop your interpersonal skills. Such skills are very valuable once you are a practicing attorney.

If you know you want to specialize in a particular area of the law, then choose the major that corresponds with your interest. For example, if you want to work with inventors and be a patent attorney, then you must have an undergraduate degree in a hard science like engineering, physics, or math. On the other hand, if you want to be a sports agent for professional athletes, maybe you should consider taking some classes that focus on athletics.

As you can begin to see, there is no hard-and-fast rule for the "pre-law" track. However, if you are seriously thinking about going to law school while in college you should be asking yourself these questions. In addition, the absolute best way to see what law you might like is to talk to and/or shadow a lawyer who practices law in the area in which you are interested. There is no better way to learn than through hands-on training and/or observation. So, get out there and start talking to lawyers.

On a side note, be aware that lawyers are people just like everyone else and each lawyer will give you at least a slightly different perspective of the legal profession. Also, be aware that there are both good and bad lawyers. Hopefully, you’ll come across more good lawyers than bad ones. But if you do come across a bad lawyer, learn how not to be like him or her. These practical learning experiences are often the most rewarding and you will truly begin to discover what you like. Also, you’ll begin to develop your own critical thinking skills in how to properly interact with other lawyers, and you’ll be one step ahead of your peers with such knowledge.

Next, we’ll explore the law school application process.