Top 10 Law Programs for Pre-Law Students

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Here’s a little known fact: pre-law isn’t really a major. There’s no critical tracking guide—no specially laid out curriculum to prepare you. So where does that leave all the aspiring lawyers of the world? You can spend four years feeling around in the dark, or you can follow CM’s lead and join one of the best pre law clubs, societies and programs for pre law students.

1. Phi Alpha Delta

Cue lifelong networking. Past presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and William Taft were members, so clearly the connection worked in their favor. This international professional law fraternity—and no we don’t mean the beer pong frat row version—connects undergrads, law students, professional lawyers, justices and other P.A.D. alumni in order to create a community around the advancement of the law profession. “It’s an organization that’s going to stay with you for life. We see lawyers getting fellow members jobs,” said Pre-law Operations Assistant Katie Borland.
Be informed when you network: Why Law School Now?

2. American Mock Trial Association

Calling all future Elle Woods! If this doesn’t scream future litigator, we’re not quite sure what will. Mock Trial lets you question and cross-examine witnesses in a real court setting. Over 350 universities compete against each other in trial simulations nationwide. Third-year American Mock Trial Association member Alexa Jacobson said the experience helps her think on her feet. “Having mock trial on your resume is a huge bonus for law school applications. Experience, in addition to competitive success, lets law schools know that you have a working knowledge of evidence, understand civil and criminal law, and can successfully argue a case.”

3. National Model United Nations

The stuff future diplomats dream of. Picture it: At the 2014 National Model UN New York Conference, over 5,000 delegates from six continents listened to speakers such as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Jan Eliasson. For those law junkies who haven’t passed out yet, NMUN has plans for conferences in Italy, the Czech Republic and Japan. “By representing the interests of a country, not one’s own opinion, National Model UN students propose and debate policy solutions, craft complex documents, and make arguments in ways that show critical thinking and tenacity while developing public speaking skills,” NMUN Executive Director Michael Eaton said.

4. Debate

You’ll know a debate kid when you see one. They’re the ones talking at impossibly fast pace, using their hands to drive in their point. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, former Attorney General Janet Reno and former President Richard Nixon all got their start in collegiate debate researching policy issues and practicing public speaking. Competitions take place at prestigious law schools around the country, giving students a competitive edge and a chance to make a name for themselves.

5. Phi Delta Phi

Frat party? Try political party. Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist and Theodore Roosevelt were Phi Delta Phis. We think you’ll actually remember the fun you had at this International Fraternity’s events. Its primary goal is to provide undergraduates with knowledge of all the legal world has to offer. P.D.P provides placement opportunities for future lawyers, social and professional functions and the ability to make connections with future colleagues.

6. Political or Law Reviews

So you think oratory skills are all you need? Objection! Get on track with the write stuff while gaining research and analytical skills. “Our publication has a robust constitutional law section which is a unique way to show off legal thinking that otherwise could not be broadcast,” said Ray Li, Duke Political Review Co-Editor-in-Chief. Politically involved alumni will constantly reach out to political reviews with job opportunities. Never hurts to get your name out there.

7. Student Government

Here’s your chance to boast the title “Mr. President” a few years early. Law schools are looking for a leader and there’s no better place to strengthen your leadership skills than in student government. “You work to improve the lives of students by addressing very complicated issues, working with leaders and administrators, communicating ideas and leading initiatives,” said Yamini Bhandari, student assembly member at Cornell University.

8. National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association

Learn the law while making a difference in a child’s life. Many judicial professionals get involved later on in their career, so why not get a head start? CASA supports court-appointed volunteer advocacy for every abused and neglected child. Judges appoint volunteers, and they watch over and advocate for these children to make sure they are not forgotten in the often-hectic legal and social service system. Experiencing the law from a tiny human’s POV just might impact yours.

9. American Collegiate Moot Court Association

Think Model United Nations for the Supreme Court. Aspiring lawyers can take their first steps into that coveted spot on the highest court in the nation. AMCA is relatively new, but it’s quickly becoming one of the largest collegiate forensics activities in the country, and it’s the only one dedicated to Moot Court. Approach the bench and start digging into constitutional law early at any of the tournaments nationwide.

10. UNICEF

When you apply to law school you better believe the word “well-rounded” is going to come up. Dedicate yourself to a cause that shows that you’re ready to fight to make a difference in the world. Remember the importance of thinking globally but acting locally. UNICEF offers a ton of different volunteer events in its mission to make the world better for children while tackling a variety of human rights and health issues.
Thinking about law school? Register for an LSAC Law School Forum to meet one-on-one with law school experts. The Forums’ exclusive workshops prepare you for the application process, financial aid, studying for the LSAT and more. Don’t miss this event.

Paige Levin is a sophomore studying journalism and political science at the University of Florida. When she’s not re-watching her box set of FRIENDS, you can probably find her talking about Panera mac and cheese (or just food in general). Currently, her interests (or obsessions) lie in everything and anything pop culture, Netflix binge watching, photography, going to concerts, and all of her unfortunately pathetic South Florida sports teams.

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