Pre-Law

Welcome to the Pre-Law Program at the University of the Incarnate Word. Pre-Law is an interdisciplinary concentration designed to sharpen the skills students need to be successful in law school.

 

Law is a fascinating and broad field that offers dozens of career paths. UIW undergraduate students considering careers in law can tailor their studies to set them on the right path for successful entry into law school. 

Students from any major can pursue – and do well in – law school. There is no one major that law schools focus on in reviewing applicants. Rather, what law schools, and the profession of law, need is well-rounded people who have the keen ability to think critically and write well. 

The Pre-Law concentration enhances any major, from the sciences to the humanities, across any field of study. Courses in Political Science, Philosophy, Communications and English strengthen students understanding of the U.S. legal system and politics, critical thinking, analytical writing and communication skills preparing students for strong performances on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and first-year law classes. 

In addition to the courses for credit, the Pre-Law program hosts events and activities related to the practice of law, such as moot court competitions, Constitution Day, the student Pre-Law Society, participation in law school admission fairs and conferences, and presentations by members of the legal community. 


Before You Apply

  • What are the school's education priorities and distinctive characteristics? 
  • How good are the faculty members as classroom teachers? 
  • How accessible is the faculty and its administration? 
  • What are the students like? 
  • How are the students treated by faculty and administrative staff? 
  • Is the curriculum sufficiently broad? 
  • What special programs, if any, are offered? 
  • What is it like to be on campus? 
  • Does the school offer a safe, comfortable learning environment? 
  • How well do students do on their bar examinations? 
  • How well does the school prepare its students to be honest, ethical, effective members of the legal profession? 
  • How would this school prepare one to practice in a particular area of interest? 
  • Are there adequate library resources? 
  • What are the costs? 
  • What financial aid is available? 
  • What is the likelihood of being admitted? 
  • What is the nature of the surrounding community? 
  • Do graduates find suitable employment that is both personally satisfying and of importance to society? 
  • What opportunities are there to see and hear national and state leaders in the legal profession? 
  • Are the faculty positive role models? 
  • Is the school's reputation on the rise, static or declining? 
  • How do alumni feel about their legal education? 
  • Size of school and size of individual classes: Would you prefer a larger school with a wider variety of courses, but perhaps with a more impersonal environment and less individual attention from faculty, or do you want a smaller school with a more personal feel and perhaps more faculty interaction, but fewer choices in elective courses. 
  • Location and environment: Do you prefer a large metropolitan area or a smaller city atmosphere? What about the surrounding area, quality of life, etc.? 
  • Library and other facilities: What is the quality of library collections, computerized legal research services, adequate staff, study/meeting space, open hours? 
  • General “personality” of school: What are your impressions from their literature, representatives you meet? Are you looking for an intense, more competitive environment or more of a community feeling? 
  • Special interest areas: combined degree programs; specialized courses, clinical programs, publications or student organizations in your area of interest; part-time or evening programs; early graduation. 
  • Student/faculty ratio: A full-time student to full-time faculty ratio of 30:1 or higher is not recommended. 
  • Student body: How do you fit in with GPA and LSAT averages of students previously admitted? How balanced and diverse is the student body? How is the student morale? Do students have input in the operation of the school? 
  • Faculty diversity: Are they largely all from the same background or relatively diverse with respect to race, ethnic background, gender? Are they well-balanced in educational experiences or only from the same school or schools? What is the extent of their research and professional activities? 
  • Faculty-student relationships: Are faculty accessible and committed to teaching? Is there an “open door” policy? 
  • Are there opportunities for clinical programs, writing, law review, moot court, etc.? 
  • What student support programs are available? If applicable, what minority or disabled student services are available? 
  • What placement services are offered for summer clerkships? What career services are offered to help you investigate your options and find employment at graduation? What are the bar passage rates in the state(s) in which most of your graduates take the bar exam? What is the placement record for graduates? Are graduates finding employment in the geographic areas you are interested in? What are the average or median salaries of graduates? 
  • Cost of attendance: Consider both tuition costs and the cost of living as both can vary widely between schools and cities. You cannot ignore the cost, but neither can you use it as your only criterion. Consider the cost and potential indebtedness along with the other factors, and make sure you are choosing the right schools for the right reasons. 
  • Where do the students find employment? (locally, regionally, nationally) 
  • Do students go to large, small, medium firms? Government? Corporations? 
  • Is the school committed to those students who are interested in public interest careers? How does it serve those students? Is there any loan forbearance for such careers? 
  • How many firms interview at the school and from what parts of the country? 
  • Do students participate in any job fairs? 
  • Is there a network of contacts which could help you obtain jobs in a particular geographical area or in an area of law in which you are interested? 
  • Is there a support network for students seeking judicial clerkships? 
  • What percentage of students seek and get clerkships? Where are the clerkships located? 
  • Are clerking opportunities available in your city for students during the school year? 
  • What percentage of your third-year classes have jobs lined up by winter break? 
  • What resources do you provide for minority students? 
  • What percentage of jobs does the career placement office secure for students, and how many students find jobs on their own? How many full-time employees work in the placement office? 
  • What career services are offered to students and graduates? 
  • What percentage of graduating students find jobs? How many find jobs through on-campus recruiting? 
  • What percentage of graduates practice in the region around your school? 
  • How do you help students and graduates find jobs outside the region around your school? 
  • What kinds of jobs do your graduates take after law school? 
  • How many students find summer or part-time employment through the law school? 
  • How much does class rank determine the job search success of your graduates? 

Law School Admission Test (LSAT) 

American law schools require applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is prepared by and administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).  

The LSAT is not a test of knowledge; rather it is a test of critical thinking ability, reading comprehension and writing. Students can prepare for the exam individually, using books and practice tests, or can take group LSAT preparation courses offered by commercial companies. 

Law School Admission Process 

To apply to law school, students submit an application, letters of recommendation (or electronic evaluations), a personal statement, a vita, all academic transcripts and LSAT scores. However, students don’t have to prepare individual submissions for each law school. Law schools require applicants to use the LSAC as the portal for application material. 

Even as early as freshman year, students are encouraged to visit the LSAC website, which offers a wealth of information on law schools and on the application process and create an account. Then, during junior or senior year, students pay a fee to the LSAC to start building application materials. 

Each student must make the choice that is best for their individual needs – but to do so, complete some serious research, and plan a visit. The pre-law advisor has materials from many law schools available for review. The LSAC and the American Bar Association (ABA) also publish an annual Official Guide to ABA-approved Law Schools, available in the pre-law advisor's office. Additionally, the LSAC's web site has extensive information on each law school and links to individual schools at the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools

 

Student Pre-Law Society and Activities

Student Pre-Law Society

UIW students considering law are encouraged to join the UIW Pre-law Society, which usually meets once a month during the school year. The Pre-Law Society has hosted numerous admissions representatives from regional, ABA-accredited law schools. Periodically, the Pre-Law Society has organized trips to law schools, including Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin, for tours and participation in live or mock classes. Contact Dr. Brandon Metroka metroka@uiwtx.edu to be added to the Society's Canvas, Engage and other social media pages and to learn how to join the organization.

UIW Pre-Law Activities

UIW students are encouraged to attend the annual Law School Fair held at UTSA each fall. Additionally, students may take a trip to Houston to the annual Law School Forum, sponsored by the Law School Admission Council. Finally, you are encouraged to tour St. Mary's Law School here in San Antonio as well as other nearby law schools.