My undergrad was in political science with an emphasis on legal studies. I had to take several general and degree specific classes to graduate. By far my favorite classes was Constitutional Law I and Constitutional Law II. Why were these my favorite classes? Because I felt that they taught me the law, refined my interest in law, and was structured most like a law school classes. In fact, Con Law I was taught by a law school professor who designed the class to function just as a law school class would.
From these classes, I formed my strongest relationships with professors, enhanced my skills, and deepened my excitement for law school. I only wish I took similar classes to explore other fields of law as well. In this article I will outline several reasons why you should take legal classes in your undergrad.
Gain legal knowledge
My favorite aspect of taking Constitutional Law in my undergrad was that I learned valuable legal knowledge. Interestingly, a lot of my previous classes focused on historical facts, but Con Law focused on the legal principles behind judicial decisions. Unfortunately, I have not taken any other legal based classes, but I know from sitting in on law school classes that I would have enjoyed taking more.
If you have the opportunity to explore other fields of law during your undergrad, I would invite you to do so. Taking a criminal law class may help in real life experiences. Participating in an environmental law or tax law class may have the same impact. The more experiences you have in the legal field, prior to law school, the easier the transition will be.
Learn what law school might be like
Often, law school grades are not based on assignments. Rather, law school grades are based on test performance. Additionally, law school performance is strongly influenced by writing skills. Undergrad classes that utilize a similar format and principles will help law schoolers prepare to transition for law school.
Legal based classes in your undergrad are likely to have similar features as law school classes. You will most likely be expected to write a lot, develop writing skills, and test well. In addition to increasing your legal knowledge, these skills will be helpful once you are in law school.
Legal based classes help you refine your interests
I greatly enjoyed my Con Law classes. Because of my experiences, I have a strong desire to practice Constitutional Law after graduation. Additionally, I know I would enjoy other fields of law because of law school classes I have sat in on. However, I did not explore several fields of law in my undergraduate classes. It is possible that I may have formed an interest in other fields of law as well. If you take several legal based classes, it can help you refine your interests and shape your desire to attend law school. These classes can help you develop a purpose now to make future plans.
What to do if you can’t take legal based classes
Depending on what school you go to, there may not be very many opportunities to take legal based classes. If this is the case, there may be a law school nearby that will allow you to sit in on some law school classes. You wouldn’t be able to participate, do the readings, or learn from the assignments, but the experience would still give you many of the same benefits as being an active participate in the class.
There are many other benefits to taking legal based classes during your undergrad. I have simply listed the three most obvious benefits.
- Gain some legal knowledge
- Get a feel of what law school might be like
- Refine what fields of law interest you
I know my experience in legal based classes heavily influenced my interest in law and shaped my desire to attend law school. I will forever be grateful for those classes I took that helped me develop the skills necessary to succeed in law school.