Become a Lawyer - What to Major in to Become a Lawyer

Best College Undergraduate Majors to Become a Lawyer

"There is no single path that will prepare you for a legal education," states the American Bar Association website. In other words, if you want to know how to become a lawyer, the answer has nothing to do with the particular classes you choose as an undergraduate. This is truly a profession that welcomes those with vast educational backgrounds and for which expertise in other areas can help set you apart.

Still, there are some areas that are traditionally good jumping-off points for students who want to go on to law school. For starters, choosing courses that will develop the skills needed to do well on the LSAT — the law school admissions exam — is a smart move. Since the test focuses mainly on reading comprehension and analytical reasoning skills, majors that require a lot of research, writing and debating can give you an edge.

Take a look at these popular majors for future law students.

History

Understanding how the past shaped different cultures will help you develop insight into our justice system and how the laws of today came to be. What's more is that history majors are tasked with lots of research and writing, and must learn to draw conclusions based on historical documents, a great precursor to the work you'll do in law school.

English

Having a strong command of written and verbal skills will take you far as an attorney when you're writing, researching or speaking in court. Analyzing great works of literature, literary journals and historical texts from various cultures and time periods is great practice for the hours you'll spend in the law library.

Philosophy

No other major delves into logic, ethics and morality quite like philosophy, and those areas happen to also be the cornerstones of law. You'll debate with classmates, present arguments and do a lot of research to support your case — which is an awful lot like what lawyers do to prepare for court.

Political Science

Of all majors, this one is probably the closest to a "law school" curriculum as you can get. You'll study political systems, public policy and the relationship between government and law, among other things. This offers a great foundation for how to write case studies and retain information in law school, as well as introduction to topics you'll study in the future.

Economics

Not only are economics majors trained to think logically, but economic policies and procedures are very much tied to the legal issues you'll encounter as a lawyer. Any major that has you summarizing lots of quantitative data to solve problems is good training for your brain to seek out evidence to support your claims.

Business

General business knowledge can be applied in almost any industry, and that holds true for aspiring attorneys as well. A business major is a good option for those who plan to go into corporate law. That being said, be sure to supplement business fundamentals with humanities and liberal arts electives so you can work your analytical and critical thinking muscles, too.

General tips:

  1. Consider majoring in an area that is related to the type of law you want to practice. Since you don't have to declare a specialty during law school, building a background in an area of interest can't hurt. If you want to go into personal injury law, for example, studying biology would probably be helpful; likewise, a tax attorney might benefit from majoring in finance or accounting.
  2. Choose a major or take electives that are heavy on research and writing. As mentioned earlier, those are the critical skills that will help you most in law school.
  3. Whichever academic route you take, maintaining a strong GPA is important if your hope is to be accepted into a selective law school program. Don't shy away from challenging courses, but be careful about delving into territory that's too far outside your comfort zone.

If practicing law is your dream, take advantage of the fact that it's one of the rare fields that allows you to study what interests you most, rather than forcing you into a predetermined academic track. As long as you pursue a well-rounded education that hones your communication, research and critical-thinking skills, you'll get your day in court.