The Prelaw program at SUNY Oneonta is primarily an advisement program. There is no specific major for those wishing to pursue the law as a career. Admission to and success in law school requires no specific major or set of courses; many academic programs can successfully prepare one for law school admission. The basic requirements for law school admission are a high academic average and a good score on the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). Among the most common majors of those pursuing law school are history, political science, English, philosophy, economics and business, but the academic backgrounds of law students are diverse with art, music, computer science, biology and education all being examples. As a 1996 American Bar Association (ABA) Prelaw Committee statement puts it:
"… [T]he ABA does not recommend any particular group of undergraduate majors or courses that should be taken by those wishing to prepare for legal education; developing such a list is neither possible nor desirable. The law is too multifaceted, and the human mind too adaptable, to permit such a linear approach to preparing for law school or the practice of law."
Since no one major best prepares students and potential law students have many interests an advisement system works well for undergraduates. Students should meet with a Prelaw advisor early on in their academic career and continue to meet with him or her, as they would their primary academic advisor, throughout their academic career. Prelaw advisors can help students choose courses and professors that will take into account each individual student’s academic interests and the general skills and knowledge that are important for all law students.
Among the basic academic skills required of all lawyers are analytical and problem-solving skills, critical reading ability, writing skill, oral communication ability, research skills, and time management ability. In addition there is basic knowledge that all law students will do well to have including knowledge of American history, the American political system, economic theory, ethics, basic mathematics and statistics, human and social behavior and an understanding of American diversity. With careful planning, courses in many of these areas can be taken as part of a students General Education requirements.
Students are encouraged to participate in the Prelaw Society.
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