When considering a career in law, it is important to know that there is no single path to success in the law field. Developing the appropriate skills and knowledge for law school and future law practice can come from a variety of sources, and an interdisciplinary and liberal arts background is an excellent avenue to that goal.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges offers extensive counseling for pre-law students throughout their undergraduate years. Almost any major offered through HWS can provide the skills and knowledge to prepare a student for law school, as long as it is supplemented with coursework in disciplines such as political science, economics, history, English or philosophy. These types of courses can help to build the necessary analytical thinking, research, and writing abilities.
Pre-law advising is available for any HWS students or alumni who are considering law as a potential career field.
If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in any subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.
There are important things to keep in mind throughout your four years at HWS and planning ahead each year can help to make law school applications more successful.
While there are no required courses for the Pre-Law Program, the outline below is designed to help students stay on track.
- Talk with a Career Services staff person and begin Pathways, a career development program
- Attend the pre-law information session to meet the Pre-Law Advisers and gain information about preparing for law school (Professor Scott Brophy and Lindsay McGloon)
- Get involved in activities that will develop skills looked for by law schools (leadership, writing, analytical thinking, etc.)
- Focus on starting out with (and later maintaining) a high GPA
- Explore careers within the legal field
- Continue to stay involved in campus leadership activities, public service and work.
- Keep up your GPA
- Intern or shadow with a law firm or any law-related field of interest
- Network with Alumni/ae using the Career Network
- Begin researching law schools that you may want to attend
- Develop relationships with potential recommenders- open Recommendation File to keep recommendations
- Look into dates for the LSAT or register if taking summer LSAT
- Begin studying for LSAT - Prep courses, review books (give yourself ample time to prepare)
- Begin writing personal statement
- Keep up your GPA
- Take (or retake) the LSAT - December is the LATEST date you should take it for fall admission of the next year. If you only take the December test, make sure this is the last piece to complete in your application, and send applications in as soon as you receive your score.
- Gather at least three letters of recommendation - academic sources are preferred by law schools
- Finish personal statement, have it checked over several times
- Apply early!! Those who apply in the fall/early winter hear back earlier and are more likely to be accepted
- Review acceptances and make final decision on which school to attend
- Turn in Financial Aid applications/forms