Noah Leavitt (Assistant Dean for Student Engagement)
Whitman does not have and does not recommend a formal prelaw major as preparation for law school, believing that no specific series of courses can be considered correct for every student who intends to enter the legal profession. Major law schools and the Association of American Law Schools agree that a broad liberal arts program is the best general preparation.
Law schools want evidence that its applicants can think, read, write, express themselves orally, and have some understanding of the forces which have shaped human experience, developed its institutions, and ordered its values. A wide variety of courses in the social sciences, history, literature, philosophy, and rhetoric deal with such matters, though in different ways and with different emphases. The study and practice of law also requires analytical reasoning skills which are fostered by certain courses in mathematics and the natural sciences, economics, and philosophy.
Students planning a legal career are welcome to discuss their plans with a prelaw adviser. Those interested in the combined program with Columbia University that will permit them to obtain a law degree and a bachelor’s degree at the end of six years rather than the normal seven should read provisions for such a program in the Special Programs section of this catalog. It is essential to plan for this program as early as possible in order to meet all requirements.
The P-D-F grade option should be used by prelaw students with caution. Students who hope to attend law school the fall following graduation should take either the October or December Law School Admission Test during their senior year in order to meet most law school admission deadlines. A reason to take the earlier October test: Scores will be reported prior to most law school admission deadlines, an advantage when judging one’s chances for admission to various schools.