The ABA does not recommend any particular group of undergraduate courses that should be taken by those wishing to prepare for law school so, choosing to attend law school, strictly speaking, poses little or no restriction on choosing courses.
PREPARING FOR LAW SCHOOL LINK
Check the ABA's list of PREPARING FOR LAW SCHOOL. This website gives information about undergraduate preparation for a good law school experience. Use this information, along with advice from your prelaw advisor, to determine which electives are needed to fill in any gaps that you may have among the skills, values, and knowledge considered important by the ABA. It is also crucial to have input from your major-field advisor.
Make sure that your undergraduate course work leads to a Bachelor's degree.
The best or most appropriate courses will vary from one institution to another and will often be dependent on the particular skill and teaching ability of the instructor teaching the course.
Follow your heart and take courses that interest you.
Since grades are so important with regard to admission to law school, you cannot afford to pursue endlessly subjects in which you are unlikely to perform well.
Take serious courses with excellent instructors.
Take some courses that will improve your essay test-taking skills.
Take some courses that will develop your research skills.
If you feel your major does not adequately prepare you to write well or to think logically and analytically, you should take electives that will.
A beginning course in logic should help you think logically and prove useful for the LSAT.
Take some upper-division courses that test and develop your intellectual and analytical skills.
Law students and lawyers are very dependent on the personal computer. Taking one or more computer or computer-related courses may be of value.
Take courses that will improve your oral communication skills since lawyers must be able to present their views and those of their client clearly, forcefully, and persuasively.
Take writing assignments seriously and develop research skills.
Many law school admission committees are unable or unwilling to determine which courses are serious and which disciplines are subject to extreme grade inflation.
The study of a foreign language has little or no impact on law school admission decisions albeit knowledge of a foreign language may be of some value to a lawyer in some legal specializations (e.g. intermational law and immigration).
TAKING LAW RELATED COURSES
Law-related courses are not necessary as background for success in law school. In fact, they may be contra-indicated. Every law-related course a student takes is one fewer course he or she can take in other areas, and law schools are inclined to look less favorably upon a transcript full of law-related courses. Law schools expect that a law school student will get her/his legal education in law school, not prior to entering law school. One exception: students who are uncertain about whether or not law is of interest to them are advised to take at least one law-related course as exploration.
The College of Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says that you are not required or expected to take law-related courses as an undergraduate. Some students take an undergraduate course in Business Law or Constitutional Law to see if they are really interested in legal material. This can be a sensible approach if you are in doubt. But, these courses are often taught much differently than the same courses are taught in law school. Here again you will not gain an "edge" once you get to law school. You should consider whether you want to duplicate courses offered in law school when there are so many other courses that could broaden your overall education.
New York University PreLaw Handbook offers some advice on law-related courses: In short, while law-related courses may help you decide whether law is a field which interests you and may familiarize you with a new vocabulary, undergraduate law courses will neither help you get into law school nor measurably help you once you are there. Be wary of claims made by any professor that a particular undergraduate course will improve law school grades. As an undergraduate, you may want to enroll in one or two law-oriented courses to test your interest in the study of law." Most law schools specifically advise against taking one category of courses, those--such as 'business law"--which are vocational in nature. Admissions committees presume that you will spend sufficient time studying 'law' while in law school, and they prefer that the undergraduate years be used to acquire a broad field of general knowledge upon which legal studies can be based. Similarly, most law schools actively discourage students from taking too many law-related classes as undergraduates.
The Law School Option at Johns Hopkins states that You may be tempted to take "law-related" courses. While such courses offer students an opportunity to test their academic interest in law, law schools urge undergraduates not to take these courses in such numbers that they prevent them from taking a broad range of courses in the liberal arts.
The University of Southern California Pre-Law indicates that Some colleges and universities have pre-law programs, which may be labeled majors, minors, or concentrations. Almost all colleges will have law-related courses. These courses are not necessary as background for success in law school. In fact, they may be contra-indicated. Every law-related course a student takes is one fewer course he or she can take in other areas, and law schools are inclined to look less favorably upon a transcript full of law-related courses. Law schools expect that a law school student will get her/his legal education in law school, not prior to entering law school. One exception: students who are uncertain about whether or not law is of interest to them are advised to take at least one law-related course as exploration.
TAKING SERIOUS COURSES
Prelaw at the University of Notre Dame gives the high-minded advice: "If you feel your major does not adequately prepare you to write well or to think logically and analytically, you should take electives that will. Take challenging courses, and exercise the self-discipline to do well in those courses.''
The question arises as to whether you should take mickey mouse courses and get good grades or take serious courses with the possibility of lower grades. Law school admission committees claim to examine the quality of the courses taken but will a law school admissions committees realize that an "A" in Calculus for Business is not as impressive as a "B" in Calculus 1, a course for math and physics majors; we certainly know that the law school admissions committees can distinguish between an "A" and a "B."
COURSE LOAD AND GRADUATING EARLY
A course load of 14-16 credits per semester (excluding summer) is appropriate.
It is better to take 16 credits and get A's and B's than to get C's with 20 credits. (The New York University PreLaw Handbook)
If you are averaging less than fifteen credits per semester, you may have to take courses during the summer or graduate in more than four years. Unless there has been a drastic change in circumstances (e.g. you quit your job), trying to make up this credit deficit by taking more than fifteen or sixteen credits in a semester may be a poor idea.
Although a heavy course load does make an impression on admissions officers, it is still more important to take an average number of credits (approximately 15) per semester and do your best. Completing your degree requirements a semester or a year early is not in itself seen as a benefit. (The Johns Hopkins Law School Option, slightly revised).
ll other issues aside, graduating early will not affect your chances [of being admitted to law school] either positively or negatively. However, you should be aware that you will be presenting law schools with a shorter track-record (i.e. fewer grades) to evaluate..Just as importantly, you are losing a whole year of emotional, social, and intellectual development." A typical 21 yr. old senior with no professional experience may well be admitted to a prestigious law program but may not, ultimately, gain as much from law school as if he or she had waited awhile. Many students in college feel pressured to begin their professional education immediately after graduation, but it is never too late to consider applying to law school.If you begin law school the same year you receive your B.A., you may be disadvantaged in two ways: 1) you will be among the youngest members of the class, and 2) you will not have a "professional" perspective on legal education. Although being the youngest in a class may not seem important, the difference in the students' ages is much greater in law school than in college. Though students do enter law school right out of college, they often find that many of their classmates are in their late twenties or thirties, are married, and may have children of their own. Furthermore, the majority of their classmates will have had some professional experience. Imagine yourself in a classroom where the professor asks a student to interpret a legal point in the context of her professional experience as a real estate broker! Although your going to law school will not necessarily hinge upon a prior career, it is becoming increasingly important. Many admissions committees now view some professional experience as a significant part of the candidate's profile (business schools, for example, view it as a prerequisite)." "When you decide to attend law school, whether you choose to graduate early, and how you choose to get exposure to the profession you are considering is up to you. Use the resources available to you and consult with your pre-law advisor to aid in your decision making process. It is our hope that you will one day have a successful, thriving career in whatever you choose to do." From theUNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Check the student evaluation of teachers; at many colleges these results are available.
To locate excellent teachers who encourage and reward thinking, talk to academic advisors, prelaw advisors, teachers, and fellow students.
Seek out professors who make you think about the subject matter and require the use of analytical and problem-solving skills, rather than those who simply teach you the material. (The Pre-Law Handbook at Florida State University).
Rather than searching for courses that might be good for law school, you are far better advised to search for excellent professors in any discipline. (Boston University).
Students should recognize that the best or most appropriate courses will vary from one institution to another and will often be dependent on the particular skill and teaching ability of the instructor teaching the course. (The Holy Cross Prelaw Program).
Seek excellence in instruction. Select courses with professors who inspire, challenge, and demand the best from you. (The University of Illinois Pre-Law).
Search for excellent professors who make you think about the subject matter and require the use of analytical and problem-solving skills.