Dr. Melinda Adams takes you through the details of JMU Pre-Law.

Pre-Law Frequently Asked Questions




Is pre-law a major or a minor?

At James Madison University, pre-law is not a major or a minor. It is a pre-professional advising program. By registering as pre-law, students indicate their interest in attending law school. Pre-law students have access to a dozen pre-law advisors located across campus who help them select courses and experiences that will prepare them for law school and a legal career.

Are there any required courses for pre-law students?

No. There are no required courses for pre-law students. Unlike a major or minor, there is no checklist of courses that a student must complete.

Are there recommended courses for pre-law students?

Yes. Students should seek out a range of challenging courses that develop writing and research skills. The American Bar Association indicates that there are important skills, knowledge and experiences that students can acquire before law school that will provide a foundation for legal education. Pre-law students should seek out courses and extracurricular experiences that develop these skills.

  • Problem solving
  • Critical reading
  • Writing and editing
  • Oral communication
  • Research
  • Organization and management
  • Public service and promotion of justice
  • Relationship-building and collaboration
  • Background knowledge
  • Exposure to the law

Pre-law advisors can help students to identify specific courses.

Is there a recommended major for students interested in attending law school?

No, the ABA does not recommend any specific undergraduate major. Students are accepted to law school from nearly every academic discipline. The ABA recommends selecting a major that interests and challenges you, while taking advantage of opportunities to develop your research and writing skills. Currently, there are about 500 current pre-law students at JMU enrolled in 43 different majors.

Am I assigned a specific pre-law advisor?

No. Students are not assigned a specific advisor. Students are free to choose and contact any of the individuals from the list of pre-law advisors. I encourage students to meet with more than one advisor to get different perspectives on their questions. Advisors are located in diverse academic departments across the university.

How can I contact an advisor?

You can access contact information for all pre-law advisors here. Please send a message to any advisor to ask questions or schedule a meeting.

When should I meet with an advisor?

JMU’s Pre-Law Program involves a network of advisors who can talk with students about their interest in a legal career and provide advice on the law school application process. You are encouraged to meet with an advisor whenever you have questions, but particularly early in your junior year and throughout the law school application process. Topics frequently discussed with pre-law advisors include: considering law school and a legal career, finding a law-related internship, preparing for the Law School Admissions Test, preparing an application strategy, developing a personal statement and financing a legal education.

What kinds of programming does the pre-law program offer at JMU?

The pre-law program organizes information sessions and workshops on a variety of law-related topics, such as tips for finding a pre-law internship, preparing for the Law School Admissions Test, writing personal statements and financing law school. We also organize panels with JMU alumni working in legal fields to provide students with exposure to different types of legal careers and advice on navigating law school. JMU also organizes a Moot Court team and has a chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a co-ed pre-law fraternity.

What criteria do law schools use to evaluate applications for admission?

Two important components are the undergraduate grade point average and LSAT score (or GRE score for a smaller number of schools). In making admissions decisions, law schools also look holistically at the applicant, taking into account the personal statement, any optional essays, letters of recommendation, and leadership and extracurricular activities.

Where do JMU students go to law school?

Last year, 59 JMU graduates registered at a law school. Here is a list of some of the universities where they enrolled:

  • American University
  • Catholic University
  • College of William & Mary
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgetown University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Seton Hall University
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Virginia
  • Villanova University
  • Washington & Lee University

Where do JMU graduates work after completing law school?

JMU graduates work in a variety of legal fields. They work for local, state, and federal agencies such as the U.S. and state Attorney General’s offices. They work for major law firms in Washington, D.C., New York City, Richmond and elsewhere. 2012 alumnus Dan Richardson was just appointed a law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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