Pre-Law Studies at Hanover College
Pre-law studies at Hanover College follow the guidelines of Preparing for Law School, the statement of the Pre-Law Committee of the American Bar Association. The ABA statement emphasizes the importance of an education which provides a broad foundation of knowledge and basic skills. At Hanover, this dual emphasis underlies the four components of pre-law study.
The ABA warns against supposing that some particular major is the best preparation for law school. While some majors–history, philosophy, political science–are traditionally considered preparation for legal studies, students are admitted to law school from virtually every academic discipline. The ABA recommends pursuing a major that engages you intellectually and provides "opportunities to develop your research and writing skills." Hanover offers a range of traditional academic majors that provide just such opportunities, as well as careful academic advising that will help you to choose the major that will best prepare you for the challenges of law school.
The Liberal Arts Degree Requirements
These general requirements provide the broad foundation of knowledge and skills that supports the more advanced and specialized studies of the major. At Hanover, the variety of courses that fulfill these general requirements allows students to choose courses that converge with their particular interests and post-college career plans. The ABA identifies this as the best approach to preparing for law school: "The student who comes to law school lacking a broad range of basic skills and knowledge will face a difficult challenge." Pre-law studies at Hanover prepare you for that challenge.
Electives and Cognate Courses
Courses beyond the major and the general requirements can contribute to preparation for law school in several ways. It is important to take several courses which emphasize abstract and formal reasoning to prepare for the LSAT. Courses which emphasize critical reading of texts can help one prepare for the analysis of judicial opinions that is the foundation of modern legal education. Courses can provide specific knowledge and skills that might be particularly useful in particular areas of the law: e.g., someone with an interest in patent law might want to take several courses in the sciences; someone with an interest in Constitutional law would be well-served by several courses in literature and philosophy; someone with an interest in government and politics might wish to explore history and political science. For more information about courses in the Hanover curriculum that might be of particular value to pre-law students, contact an admission counselor or consult the Career Connections Program brochure on Law.
The ABA does not emphasize work-related experience in its statements on preparing for law school. However, internships and other opportunities to work with the legal profession can allow you to explore and refine your interest in the law, and to develop a network that is useful in obtaining clerkships while in law school. The ABA does, however, emphasize service: "If you are thinking of entering the legal profession, you should seek some significant experience, before coming to law school, in which you may devote substantial effort toward assisting others." Hanover's Career Center, as well as numerous other offices and organizations on campus, connects students with opportunities for internships and other work-related learning opportunities. The Career Connections Program helps students arrange internships and build relationships that will complement their traditional academic preparation. These include off-campus study with The Washington Center and The Philadelphia Center, as well as internships with regional law firms. Hanover also provides opportunities for service projects that help students to develop and demonstrate the commitment to public service and justice that the ABA emphasizes.
Pre-law studies at Hanover College focus on developing the broad foundation of knowledge and basic skills that will enable you to excel on the LSAT and in law school. This focus has enabled Hanover students to attend prestigious law schools across the country, including Duke, George Mason, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt.
For more information about pre-law studies at Hanover College visit prelaw.hanover.edu.