Clarence Augustus Martin (Public Administration), Richard Palmer (Political Science), A. Marco Turk (Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding)
CSU Dominguez Hills offers extensive and varied opportunities
to plan for a future career in law. There are many courses in various disciplines that contribute to the skills students will need as a lawyer. For help in choosing your courses, contact a pre-law advisor after admission to the university.
Several broad objectives of pre-legal education are set forth by
the Association of American Law Schools. These include the oral and written command of language; an understanding and appreciation of social, political and economic values, institutions, problems and frames of reference; and an ability for creative, innovative, critical and analytical thinking.
The selection of a major and minor should depend on the student's personal interest or goals. Traditionally, students bound for law school majored in political science. More recently, with new social trends, students also major in such varied areas as public administration, sociology, business, economics, history, English, philosophy.
CSU Dominguez Hills has the only undergraduate moot appellate court that permits students to argue before Supreme and Appellate Court Justices. Each spring a competition is held in which students are given research materials, trained in oral argument, and compete in rounds. Courses are presently available, though not required for participation, in political science and sociology.
Applicants for admission to most law schools are expected to have a B.A. or a B.S. Degree and to have taken the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is a specialized test designed to measure cognitive skills that are used in legal reasoning and argument. Test preparation courses can help raise student scores; but such preparation is best done well in advance. A manual is available, through the pre-law advisors, which explains LSAT preparation and relates it to upper division coursework. See a pre-law advisor as close as possible to the beginning of your junior year or earlier to take best advantage of LSAT preparation. Many law schools require that the LSAT be taken by December of the year preceding law school entry. A packet of information about the LSAT is available from any pre-law advisor, the Information Center or by writing directly to the Law School Admission Services, Box 2000, Newtown, PA 18940.
Letters of recommendation, and even personal statements require early planning. A manual on how to write requests for letters of recommendation and how to strengthen personal statements is available to students. Students should obtain these manuals and plan their applications with their advisors during their junior year.
Most law schools require applicants to take the Law School Admissions Test and also subscribe to the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), which reviews academic transcripts and standardizes undergraduate records to simplify the work of law school admission committees. Grades are converted to one system that allows law schools to compare applicants from many different campuses on a uniform basis. Note the LSDAS counts a "NC" grade in a CR/NC class as a failing grade. Students planning to apply to law school must either complete the course for "Credit" or withdraw. Do not simply drop the course and allow a "No Credit" to appear on the transcript.
Students are encouraged to join the university's chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law society.
There are special financial benefits and educational programs available to minority students through the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, 1800 M. Street, N.W., Suite 290, North Lobby, Washington, D.C. 20036.
For general law information, a student should see the bulletins or catalogs of various law schools or the official Pre-Law Handbook, current edition, prepared by the Law School Admission Test Council and the Association of American Law Schools. This handbook may be obtained at most college bookstores or ordered from Educational Testing Services, Princeton, N.J. 08540. Usually a copy of the latest edition of the Pre-Law Handbook will be on reserve in the library.