Law School Discussion

Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???

Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« on: May 27, 2015, 04:45:43 PM »
Please I need your help!

I am currently a high school student (class of '16) and I am completely lost in what to do for higher education. I am a 4-year classically training vocalist and love to sing, and therefore my plan until this point has been to pursue a dual major of Music Education and Vocal Performance. However this year I took an AP American Government and Politics course and I LOVED it! I was fascinated and intrigued by Monetary Policy and found Constitutional Law interesting and exciting. I want to make a difference and help people and I have begun to question my original plan.

If I were to pursue a politics-based major, would political science be a good choice if I hope to one day go to law school (an attorney to then become a politician or political speech writer)? What would be a good undergraduate program instead of political science that still deals with politics? Is it advisable to pursue a Political Science major with minors in music, economics, and english and still maintain a high GPA and graduate in 4 years? Would it be better to pursue a dual major? If I pursue a dual major is realistic to still attempt a minor in music?

I know very little about pursuing law school and could use all the advice and input you can give me.

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2015, 05:35:10 PM »
There are no prerequisites for admission to law school other than a bachelor's degree and an LSAT score.

The better your GPA and the better your LSAT score the more opportunity you will have.

Basically, pursue something your interested in for undergraduate if your into biology then get a B.S in biology and get a 4.0. If you want to get a B.A. in music then get a B.A in music and get a 4.0.

You essentially want to get a B.A or B.S. while getting the highest GPA possible. So keep it simple and study something you enjoy and don't make any life altering decisions based on wanting to go to law school at this point.

A lot will change in your mind during college and maybe you will go onto law school, but maybe you will fall in love with chemistry and get a degree in that. Whatever, you study take it seriously in undergrad and it will keep as many graduate school doors open as possible.

I know Med School has substantial pre-req requirements, but law school does not.

Good luck.

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 09:16:00 PM »
I did a BM (bachelor of music) and a MM (master of music) prior to law school. I ended up getting accepted into several of the T14 law schools, including University of Michigan (where I am now), with significant scholarships. In other words, study what you love. Undergrad is merely a time to expand your mind and learn how to become a competent, insightful adult. With exception of professional degrees (i.e. accounting, engineering, etc.), the name on your degree will mean relatively little in the long run.

Also note that studying and loving some theories and tid bits of con law in high schools is likely not what law school of the legal profession is exactly like. That's not to say you won't like law school - it's just not a sufficient reason to change life plans.

Good luck!

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 06:13:41 AM »
I don't have the exact quote, but there's only like a dozen lawyers who regularly deal with Constitutional issues, and they all went to Yale, Harvard or Stanford decades ago. Don't let this discourage you but you should have a realistic picture of what lawyers do.

I enjoy my job, but many find aspects to be mind-numbing. Checking evidence and that all of the metaphorical Is are dotted and Ts are crossed isn't for everyone.

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 08:36:53 AM »
As others have stated, it doesn't really make much difference what you major in. A biochem major with a 3.5 GPA will be considered a little "better" than an Art major with a 3.5, but it's not a huge difference. As far as the slew of potential social science/liberal arts majors (poly sci, history, English), they'll all be viewed as more or less the same.

One thing I would urge you to consider is debt. I know that when you are 18 and choosing colleges the cost of attendance can seem almost abstract. You see the numbers, but it doesn't really hit home until you actually have to start paying back those loans. If you accrue $100,000 debt for undergrad, defer it for three years while you attend law school, then accrue another $100-200,000 law school debt, you are talking about a debt that will control your life.

If you're rich or you get a full scholarship, then obviously this is inapplicable. Otherwise, be careful.

BTW, unless you get into someplace like Harvard or Yale nobody will care where you went to undergrad. Having a bachelor's from the #50 ranked music program versus the #25 ranked program will make no difference. The vast, overwhelming majority of employers won't care one bit.

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 09:47:02 AM »
I don't have the exact quote, but there's only like a dozen lawyers who regularly deal with Constitutional issues, and they all went to Yale, Harvard or Stanford decades ago. Don't let this discourage you but you should have a realistic picture of what lawyers do.

Along those lines, I had a conversation with the daughter of a family friend a while back who had just been accepted to a mid-range local law school. She told she wanted to go to law school to be a "human rights lawyer", working at the UN and travelling around the world. (Forgive me if I'm repeating this story, I think I told it once before).

"Wow" I said, "that's a really admirable goal. Would you also be happy as say, a public defender? Or some other kind of public interest lawyer?"
 
"No, I'll get my law degree then go to grad school for International Relations."

I mentioned that in the ENTIRE world there are maybe a couple of hundred people who do that job, that they tend to be highly experienced, that they tend to be graduates of places like Harvard and Oxford, that law school is a big and expensive undertaking, blah blah blah. She politely ignored me, and said she would follow through.

I didn't want to seem like a crusher of dreams, but at the same time I almost felt obligated to point out the reality of the situation. She was surrounded by a bunch of people who know nothing about law or international relations all telling her to follow her dream, if you want it badly enough, it will happen, etc etc.

If it was all free, then yes. But when you're talking about a six figure debt you need to be a little more objective.   

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 11:03:52 AM »
Thank you everyone for the awesome insight! I will definitely think on all of this. There is an overwhelming part of me that wants to help people and I always veiwed law/politics as an admirable and exciting career.

Just out of curiosity. A few people stated that by working as a lawyer I wasn't necessarily going to be dealing with the constitution and law school is probably not what I think it is. Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect? My dad is an insurance agent and my mom is an OT so I have no idea what I'm thinking of getting into.

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 11:37:23 AM »
A few people stated that by working as a lawyer I wasn't necessarily going to be dealing with the constitution and law school is probably not what I think it is. Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect?

What they mean is that the vast majority of lawyers do not practice Constitutional law. Constitutional cases, which would include things like civil rights, free speech, voting rights, etc., make up a VERY small percentage of all the cases filed. The people who do handle these cases tend to be highly experienced specialists.

The majority of lawyers deal with more mundane things like contract disputes, wills, divorces, and DUIs.

In law school you will take one required Constitutional law class, and have the option to take a few electives that also deal with Constitutional issues. You don't major in law school like you do in undergrad, you just take a lot of required courses and a few electives. Most of your time will be spent taking required courses like Contracts, Torts, Property, and Corporations. Most of it is very dry and difficult (especially the first year).

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2015, 08:07:11 PM »
The majority of lawyers deal with more mundane things like contract disputes, wills, divorces, and DUIs.

And don't forget personal injury/liability...those lawyers who advertise on billboards are generally looked down upon by the profession, but the ones who are successful are some of the richest practicing attorneys.

Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2015, 10:20:13 AM »
Very true. I know a couple of solo practitioner PI lawyers whose wallets are so fat they'd make a Biglaw partner green with envy.