Athens State University has a student group for those who are interested in attending law school or just wondering what it is like to be a lawyer.

Traditionally, the Pre-Law Society conducts two major events in a year. The first event, conducted during the fall semester, focuses on the law school admissions process. Applying to law school can be a daunting task. The Pre-Law Society seeks to help simplify the process and provide tips for getting into the law school you want. Past events have included students attending the regional law school recruitment forum in Atlanta, presentations by representatives from law school admissions offices, and visits to individual law schools. The second yearly activity, held during the spring semester, focuses on the practice of law and what future lawyers can expect once they get their law degree, pass the bar examination, and are licensed to practice law. Additionally, the Pre-Law Society has a limited amount of LSAT test preparation materials available to members and holds LSAT preparation classes on campus.

Law schools do not require or prefer a specific “pre-law” major. Though the majority of practicing attorneys have probably majored in political science, English, philosophy, or business (management, business administration), all majors are suitable and represented in American law schools. No specific undergraduate program can guarantee admission to any law school. Law schools want students who possess the following academic skills: 1) comprehension and expression in words, both written and oral; 2) critical understanding abilities, especially of human institutions and values; and 3) creative thinking and problem solving.

The Athens State Pre-Law Society does not recommend specific courses to take as electives.  Law-based and writing-based courses and courses involving analytical and critical thinking may be the most helpful.

Athens State alumni have attended and graduated from many American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools, such as the University of Alabama School of Law and Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham. The Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery is now ABA accredited and offers day and evening programs. Other schools former Athens State graduates have attended include the law schools at: LSU, University of Tennessee, George Washington University, Mississippi College of Law, University of Mississippi, University of Oregon, Southern Illinois University, Gonzaga University, and others. ABA-accredited law schools generally offer superior academic/education, networking, and earning potential.

In addition, some students who could only go to law school by commuting from their current homes have attended non ABA-accredited commuter evening programs at Birmingham School of Law and Nashville School of Law.  These law schools are less competitive, and may be less costly.  However, they generally provide lower bar exam passing rates, less prestige, fewer networking advantages, and statistically lower long-term earning potential. A degree from these schools can also pose problems in attempting to practice law in other states (often state bar associations require that applicants for bar admission have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school, with exceptions for unaccredited schools located in their own state). Nevertheless, for someone who cannot attend law school any other way, these unaccredited schools offer respectable programs within their states and turn out many practicing attorneys.

A general rule of thumb is to attend the best school you can.

The PRE-LAW SOCIETY is open to interested students of any major. It is an optional, campus student organization that offers group support, speakers from the legal community, information on law school admission requirements, LSAT test preparation sessions and materials, and other campus law-related activities. The Society also serves as a clearinghouse for pre-law information for its members.

For more information contact:
Dr. Jeff Blankenship
Founders Hall Room 335
(256) 233-6510