Students leafing through a binder on a bench in the quad

Pre-Law

History, Political Science, and Philosophy

  • Capital Building
  • Law Textbooks
  • Gavel
  • Scales

Applying to Law School

The practice of law is both a service to society and a rewarding career. Becoming a lawyer is a major achievement and elevates you to a place of status in a community. Law is a central way that our society solves many of its deepest conflicts and where the pursuit of justice is most practically applied. Prosecutors seek to bring order and safety to communities while defense attorneys strive to uphold the rights of the accused and prevent injustice towards the innocent. Tax and corporate attorneys are essential to the flow of the economy. Practitioners of family law are called on to help individuals through some of the most difficult moments in life such as death, divorce, abuse, and determining the custody of children. Constitutional and civil rights lawyers establish the proper bounds of government institutions and protect the rights of citizens. And, of course there are many other areas and specialties in law from environmental law to labour law. In other words, becoming a lawyer is an opportunity not only to advance your career but also to serve others in essential ways. 

Additionally, the study of law is a stimulating and enriching academic pursuit. In law school, you will not only learn a substantial body of knowledge, you will also acquire rigorous logical and analytical skills, precise reading and writing abilities, and to be a clear and compelling communicator. The diversity of fields and specialties you can pursue allows you to choose from among many career trajectories. 

While there are numerous advantages and rewards that come with studying law, law school programs are rigorous. Additionally, there is intense competition to be accepted into quality law schools. This means that ideally you will prepare throughout your undergraduate career and plan carefully before applying. 

Law school programs involve a number of challenging elements. Students are expected to have developed excellent writing skills and to be ready to think clearly and quickly.  Law professors are famous for posing difficult questions to the class and then cold-calling on students for answers. Law programs also generally expect students to enter with at least a competent knowledge of American political institutions, American history, and ethics. All that is to say, one should not enter law school unprepared. 

Likewise, the application process is quite challenging. Applications to law school nearly always include at least the following five items:

  1. LSAT Score: The LSAT is a standardized test that evaluates your reading, writing, and logic skills. The LSAT score is the most important element of your application. The test is difficult and involves unique styles of questions, particularly in presenting logic puzzles. Nearly every applicant to law school will need to engage in serious preparation for taking the LSAT. 
  2. GPA: The second most important element law schools consider is your undergraduate Grade Point Average.  For this reason, it is essential that those wishing to pursue law take their undergraduate studies seriously and strive for the best grades possible in every class. 
  3. Personal Statement: Applicants need to write a statement that both demonstrates their writing abilities and tells a compelling story for why a law school should want to admit them. 
  4. Letters of Recommendation: Most schools require at least three letters of recommendation. Usually these will be written by undergraduate professors, though sometimes relevant employers or supervisors for internships are also appropriate. The key is to cultivate good relationships with several faculty and to seek to impress them in multiple classes so that they can write strong letters based on extensive experience. 
  5. Resum√©: Law schools want to see your academic achievements and your commitment to community service. 

Law schools sometimes require other elements in an application, such as a writing sample and diversity statement. 


Pre-Law Resources

If all of this seems challenging or maybe even overwhelming, there is no need to despair! At UofSC Aiken we offer many programs and services to help prepare you and guide you into law school:

  1. Pre-Law Advisor: Dr. Mitchell Krumm is available to assist you at any stage of the process of preparing for and applying to law school. You should always feel free to reach out to him for help and guidance. He can be reached via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  2. Pre-Law Minor: The History, Political Science, and Philosophy Department administer a minor that is designed to guide you in taking classes that will prepare you for law school and the application process. You can find the details of the minor in the academic bulletin. And, if you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Krumm. 
  3. Mock Trial Team: UofSC Aiken recently launched a mock trial team.  This team is an excellent way to practice skills you will need as a lawyer, find out if you enjoy the practice of law, and to learn about specific elements of law. The team is organized as a class (first time students take HIST A302 or POLI A302; returning students take POLI A303 or HIST A303). The team has already had substantial success in placing at tournaments and winning awards. 
  4. Pacer Pre-Law Club: This club meets on the first Tuesday of every month in fall and spring semesters. Club meetings involve a range of activities and functions such as discussing the application process, LSAT preparation, learning about elements of law, and discussing current law related controversies and events. The club will also serve as a way to organize LSAT study groups that will meet more often to help those preparing for the test do their best. Contact Dr. Krumm at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or look for postings on the pre-law bulletin board on the second floor of the H&SS building for the time and place of meetings. 
  5. Pre-Law Events: Each semester there will be at least one or two pre-law events. These could include meeting with practicing lawyers, current law students, law school professors, and law school admissions officers. Contact Dr. Krumm at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or look for postings on the pre-law bulletin board and on posters around campus for the time and place of these events.  
  6. Pre-Law Email List: If you would like to get updates about the Pacer Pre-Law Club, upcoming pre-law events (and other events of interest), useful articles and materials, and announcements about opportunities beyond UofSC Aiken, then you should send Dr. Krumm a message asking to be added to the pre-law email list. You can also request that you be removed anytime. This list will not be shared with anyone outside the History, Political Science, and Philosophy Department. 

Helpful Links

American Bar Association

Law School Admission Council (LSAC)

South Carolina Bar Association

University of South Carolina School of Law


Suggested Timeline for Students

First Year: 

  • Maintain high GPA and work hard in every class
  • Attend pre-law events
  • Begin to develop relationships with faculty
  • Join campus and/or community groups to get leadership and community service experience

Recommended Courses: PHIL A110 and HIST A201 or HIST A202 or POLI A201

Second Year: 

  • Continue to maintain high GPA and continue developing relationships with faculty
  • Attend pre-law events and Pacer Law Club meetings regularly
  • Join mock trial team
  • Seek out and apply for a relevant internship
  • Start to look into specific law school options and areas of law

Recommended Courses: PHIL A211 or PHIL A311 and HIST A430 or POLI A431

Third Year:

  • Continue to maintain high GPA and continue developing relationships with faculty
  • Prepare and study for the LSAT
  • Join an LSAT study group through the Pacer Law Club
  • Contact several potential law schools and ask for campus visits
  • Begin developing application materials
  • Ask Faculty for letters of recommendation (near the end of the year)
  • Take the LSAT in spring or summer (retake if necessary)

Recommended Courses: Extra Writing Intensive Courses

Fourth Year: 

  • Continue to maintain high GPA
  • Prepare application materials
  • Follow-up with letter writers
  • Send law school applications (earlier is better; best to send them out by October)
  • Consider options once you have heard from law schools
  • Hopefully accept an offer and get excited for law school next fall! 

Recommended Courses:  Upper Level History and Political Science Courses