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Author Topic: Political Science Advantage...  (Read 2987 times)

jacy85

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2007, 10:05:27 AM »
I was a poli sci major and I had never seen a case book in my life before law school.  I even took business law as part of my business core, and didn't know how to brief a case.

Maybe it was just the program at my school, but I took constitutional law I & II, administrative law, sex-based discrimination, and criminal law (which was a mix of criminal law and criminal procedure); all were entirely casebook based (all were the UPS Brown/ Gold trim West Books.) and our exams were all long hypos which we had to issue spot, apply rules, and come to a conclusion.  We even had to brief all our cases and turn the briefs in for a grade.

Of course I had the typical political theory type classes that didn't don't do squat for me now, but the ones I mentioned above were invaluable.

I think those sort of classes are unusual for poly sci degrees.  I don't think anythign like that was offered at my undergrad at least.

brewha

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2007, 10:59:23 AM »
Do you think a Poli-Sci degree will help people tremendously in law school?  I was a finance major, but one of my roomates who was poli-sci seems to know a ton of case law/ common law.  Should I be worried?


Trust me, your roomate doesn't know sh!t.
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pappy13

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2007, 05:40:29 PM »
  Also, I believe having a liberal arts degree is a double edged sword.  In one way it is good because you write very often.  However, the writing style is often long and verbose with much extraneous information.  My understanding is that if you write like this on a test, you will do bad. 

Another important point. 

I was a very good writer according to the grades I received on my papers in undergrad.  There was only one exam during my first year where 'more was better'.  I feel that course work that approaches hard science, while still containing a solid writing component, is the most valuable.  It forces you to come to a concrete conclusion and then convey that information in writing.  This is what works best in law school and it took me an entire semester to figure that out. 

The only class where 'writing like a poly sci major' was helpful was Con Crim Pro I because there generally isn't a 'right answer' when dealing with alot of the outlying areas in 4th amendment jurisprudence. 

Otherwise, see above... your roommate/ friend doesn't know sh!t. 

VitaminE

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2007, 07:33:22 PM »
I actually think that some skills that I learned in my PoliSci courses ARE useful in law school. Prior to law school, I had never seen a casebook. I focused on International Politics and Political Theory in undergrad. The analytical thinking that you learn in Political Science is very useful when you are in law school. The papers that I had to write for my undergrad major prepared me for law school.

In a good PoliSci paper, you need to think of counterarguments for anything that you say and rebut them. Also, because you learn so many different theories, you learn to accept the fact that there are 2 sides (at least) to every issue. You learn that there is never a black and white answer. You learn that you need to use reasoning to prove a point in a paper. You learn to see everything from so many different perspectives and ask the very questions that come in handy in law school. Also, I think that cranking out papers all of the time for Political Science prepared me for law school. I have scored above average on every legal writing assignment this year.

However, if I could go back and do it over I probably would have studied engineering or business. The career prospects with a law degree + finance or engineering are probably better than those with a PoliSci degree.

As for students who come to school knowing case law: I know a few "Pre-Law" Poli Sci program students (my school did not have a pre-law program). They do not have the best grades in the class. So I wouldn't be too worried about your roommate's knowledge of case law/common law. Law school is a completely different game.

brewha

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2007, 08:49:04 PM »

In a good PoliSci paper, you need to think of counterarguments for anything that you say and rebut them. Also, because you learn so many different theories, you learn to accept the fact that there are 2 sides (at least) to every issue. You learn that there is never a black and white answer. You learn that you need to use reasoning to prove a point in a paper. You learn to see everything from so many different perspectives and ask the very questions that come in handy in law school. Also, I think that cranking out papers all of the time for Political Science prepared me for law school. I have scored above average on every legal writing assignment this year.



????  Am I the only poly/sci major here who didn't even begin his/her undergrad "poly/sci papers" until I ran out of beer the night before it was due??  I can honestly say, none of what this person said ever even crossed my mind while writing these things.  I highly doubt any undergrad, at least the ones I know, approached their assignments in any way that would prepare them for law school (However, the copious amounts of alcohol consumed did prepare us for the second year of law school).
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lawmama09

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2007, 09:10:52 PM »
I have an economics degree and did very well during first semester.  The type of analytical thinking you do in econ/finance lends itself well to law school exams. Also, as previously pointed out by others, you have some knowledge that will help in certain business law classes. I don't think your degree will harm you in any way and depending on what you want to do in the future, it might help.

VitaminE

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2007, 06:20:45 AM »

In a good PoliSci paper, you need to think of counterarguments for anything that you say and rebut them. Also, because you learn so many different theories, you learn to accept the fact that there are 2 sides (at least) to every issue. You learn that there is never a black and white answer. You learn that you need to use reasoning to prove a point in a paper. You learn to see everything from so many different perspectives and ask the very questions that come in handy in law school. Also, I think that cranking out papers all of the time for Political Science prepared me for law school. I have scored above average on every legal writing assignment this year.



????  Am I the only poly/sci major here who didn't even begin his/her undergrad "poly/sci papers" until I ran out of beer the night before it was due??  I can honestly say, none of what this person said ever even crossed my mind while writing these things.  I highly doubt any undergrad, at least the ones I know, approached their assignments in any way that would prepare them for law school (However, the copious amounts of alcohol consumed did prepare us for the second year of law school).

There were many times that I procrastinated a paper until the night before it was due (or even the morning of). The same has been true with my legal writing assignments, though :) Many of the undergrad PoliSci students I knew were quite brilliant (myself excluded from this). So the undergrad students that I knew actually did approach their assignments in a way that sort of prepared them for law school or graduate work.

norman1l

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2007, 10:43:47 AM »
Thank you for all the advice, it is greatly appreciated!  I graduated in December, and ever since, I have been worrying about my ability to perform in Law school come August.  Basically, I worry about things I can't control...

Ianr1234

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2007, 12:28:10 PM »
Best pre-law degree by far is Engineering/Math/Science.

1st, the thought process the goes into doing calculus problems, math proofs and writing computer programs is very similar to the logic used in making legal arguments.  For example writing a software application is just connecting a stream of logic to produce the desired result.  Just as legal arguments build upon logic to come to their conclusion.

2nd, the work load is similar.  My engineering degree was actually more work and more stressful than law school has been.  Many people I know had a hard time getting acquainted to the amount of work required, but for me it was just more of the same.

3rd, you can study IP law.  I know at my school a large percentage of the jobs employers are looking to fill are IP law related.  Not that everyone wants to study IP law, or IP law is any better.  You just have the door open if you want too.  It can never hurt to have more choices.  I'm not even planning to practice IP law, but at least I know if I have trouble finding a regular law job I can fall back on IP.

Now not every engineer is cut out for law school.  There are really two requirements that engineers/scientist often lack.

1) People skills.  Being a lawyer is all about communicating effectively with people.  Many engineers/scientist just want to sit in a lab or cubical and do their work.

2) Writing.  In engineering you don't do a lot of writing.  Many engineers were those "I'm good at math but I can't write" type of people.  Writing can be developed over time, but will definitely be a strike against someone the first year.  I am not a great writer but I'm getting better.  I have to spend 2x as long on my legal writing assignments as some of my class mates.  This is balanced by the fact that I don't need to study the regular material as much to establish the required understanding.



xferlawstudent

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Re: Political Science Advantage...
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2007, 12:32:20 PM »
I think the best possible undergrad degree for law school prep is:

1) Math, Engineering or Science
2) Economics
3) Finance or Accounting
4) everything else