We know that acceptance into law school is not dependent on a particular undergraduate
major. But we also know that the cutting-edge skills you'll develop in our 15-credit
Pre-Law Certificate Program will successfully prepare you for law school, graduate
public policy and foreign affairs programs, political careers and public service opportunities.
A Horizon-Expanding Education
At Duquesne, learning happens everywhere.
In our Pre-Law Program, you’ll have access to over 50 courses from multiple disciplines
across the University, including business, English, philosophy and political science,
that count toward your Pre-Law Certificate.
You’ll engage in experiences that will develop your research, analytical and advocacy
skills and build foundational knowledge for legal, governmental and public service.
And you’ll learn to think critically, analyze deeply, communicate clearly and argue
persuasively about important civil, legal and scholarly issues.
Our Pre-Law Center is housed in theThomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne Universityand is offered in cooperation with the multiple undergraduate schools and departments
within the University. The program supports undergraduates in all disciplines who
are exploring cutting-edge subjects that will prepare them for law school, graduate
public policy and foreign affairs programs, political careers and public service opportunities
inside and outside of government.
We're Behind You, 100%
You'll have access to many resources that will help you succeed during your time on
campus and beyond.
We take the responsibility of educating you seriously, and we do everything we can
to help you succeed. You'll engage in experiences that will develop your research,
analytical and advocacy skills and build foundational knowledge for legal, governmental
and public service. And you'll learn to think critically, analyze deeply, communicate
clearly and argue persuasively about important civil, legal and scholarly issues.
Open to undergraduates in all majors at Duquesne, our Pre-Law Certificate Program
offers many benefits including:
Earn a15-credit certificatethat shows on your official transcript, a desirable qualification for employment,
law school admission and/or continued professional education.
Experience expedited consideration for admission into Duquesne Kline School of Law(a four-week turnaround from the date the completed application is submitted)if you successfully complete the certificate program with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Receive a$5,000 scholarship(in addition to other scholarships) upon enrollment into Duquesne Kline School of
Lawif you complete the certificate program with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Academic Internship Opportunities
Our location in the heart of Pittsburgh will put you in the center of a city full
of opportunities for gaining career experience. Students in our Pre-Law Program have
found a wide range of internships throughout the region, including with:
The Allegheny County Courthouse
The Borgen Project
Court of Common Pleas
The Education Partnership
U.S. and State Senators
Members of Congress
Our Graduates Get the Job Done
Whether you go to law school or jump right into the workforce, you'll have a bright
future ahead of you.
Our Pre-Law Certificate graduates have gone on to work for leading companies, law
firms, non-profits and public institutions, or have enrolled at law schools throughout
the country, including:
Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Columbia Law School
Duquesne Kline School of Law
Emory University School of Law
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
Emory University School of Law
Gonzaga University School of Law
Northeastern University School of Law
Penn State Law
We’ll help you discover what you’re good at and why that’s good for the world.
Our faculty are enthusiastic about your future, walking alongside you to help realize
your boldest goals.
In our Pre-Law Center, you can:
Learn more about law schools and legal careers.
Meet with our Pre-Law Program Director to discuss your career goals, courses of study,
LSAT registration and preparation, law school options and much more.
Get involved with Duquesne’s Undergraduate Mock Trial Team and Pre-Law Society.
Most law schools require the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The test is administered online multiple times a year. Students are encouraged to
take the test in June after their junior year or the fall of their senior year. Information
about the LSAT and other aspects of law school admission can be found online at the Law School Admissions Council. The Pre-Law Director maintains a collection of books about the LSAT, law school
and law careers.
Duquesne undergraduates who successfully complete the requirements of thePre-Law Certificatewith a 3.0 GPA or higher are eligible to receive a $5,000 scholarship for their first
year at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University. This scholarship
is in addition to, and does not preclude consideration for, any other scholarship
for which the student may qualify.
Law schools offer merit scholarships to attract top students. These may pay for some
or all of law school tuition. Before accepting any scholarship, make sure to check
with other schools to see whether they might meet or better the first offer. Check
too on conditions of the scholarship, e.g., whether it is conditional on maintaining
a "B" grade or higher after the first year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Only you can answer that question, but there are several ways to increase your chances
of making a good decision. Don't just watch "The Good Wife," "Law and Order" or "How
to Get Away With Murder." TV dramas dramatize and romanticize the professions they
portray, including the lives of lawyers. Instead of watching television, take action
and do so early in your college years, preferably in your freshman, sophomore or junior
Work, intern or volunteer at law offices. Even if you only do menial tasks and are not paid, it will be worth your while to
spend time at law firms, government law offices, courtrooms, or other legal settings
to see how lawyers actually work. If you go into law practice, it is likely that you
will be doing something similar in a few years. Would you enjoy doing what the lawyers
in your office do on a daily basis? Can you yourself as a lawyer doing these things
for many years?
Observe court hearings and trials. Duquesne is located only minutes away from federal and state courthouses that are
open to the public and you! Take a few days to visit a courtroom and see litigators
in action. Although some lawyers never enter a courtroom, many do. Can you see yourself
litigating or judging? Would you enjoy it?
Talk to lawyers. Ask your parents and friends if they know a lawyer. Call this person and quiz them
about their professional lives — what they like and dislike. Most people enjoy talking
with college students about their jobs. Try to obtain several perspectives, particularly
from lawyers who practice in different areas of law.
Observe law school classes. The law school experience differs significantly from law practice, but "attending"
law school for a day can be a useful experience. In addition, ask law students you
know about their experiences.
Read reliable books about the lives of lawyers. Check the ratings of lawyer satisfaction in the books. Sadly, lawyers as a whole
are one of the least satisfied groups of professionals in the country, and many switch
to new careers after several years of practice. But others love the law!
Most people practice law with a Juris Doctor (J.D.), but law practice is extremely
diverse in its subject matter, everything from aviation law to workers' compensation.
In a general sense, however, most lawyers do similar things: they analyze practical
problems faced by individuals and organizations, and they use their writing and oral
skills to solve those problems. This takes place in many settings from the law library
and law office to the courtroom.
Lawyers work in the private sector, in government offices, and in nonprofit organizations.
While lawyers are "service" professionals, those they serve are extremely diverse
— the rich and the poor, guilty and innocent, corporations and individuals, etc. Your
own personal philosophy should guide you in deciding who you want to serve as a lawyer.
Many people also use a law degree to land jobs outside law, in business, academia,
or other endeavors. But most people do practice law with their J.D. and you generally
should not attend law school unless you plan to practice law, at least initially.
Most lawyers live comfortably — and work hard to do so. A few become very rich, but
most are middle class. Note as well that at times it may be difficult to land a law
job after law school, depending on the job market. The market since 2008 has been
tight, and many newly minted J.D.s are having difficulty gaining jobs as lawyers.
Do not assume that a law degree is a ticket to Easy Street. In fact, most lawyers
work very long hours to make their money.
Throughout your career at Duquesne, you should be taking challenging courses that
require analytic thinking, high level reading, and extensive writing. This is the
best preparation for law school.
Work hard at your classes and earn good grades. Do not take your freshman year (or
any other year) for granted. When you apply for law school, your freshman year will
be 1/3 of the grades that law schools will review. It is important to do well throughout
your college career.
No. Most law schools, as well as the American Bar Association, discourage students
from majoring in pre-law, and Duquesne's Pre-Law Program is only for advising students.
Anything that interests you, from chemistry to political science tophilosophy, as long as the major hasrigorous courses, with significant amounts of reading, analysis, and writing. Law schools prefer that you broaden and challenge yourself as an undergraduate.
There is time enough for you to specialize in law school (or other grad schools).
College is a time to explore new and interesting areas of study--and law schools encourage
that, rather than narrow pre-professional training.
Certaincourses in your majormay help in your preparation for law school. In addition, thePolitical Science Departmentoffers aMinor in Law & Politics open to students in any major.
Political science majors may also take aConcentration in Law & Politics. Majors in thePalumbo-Donahue School of Business at Duquesnemay also pursue theLegal Studies minor.
First,never take the LSAT without preparation. This is a difficult test that demands significant practice and thorough preparation.
Every score you receive on it will be reported to law schools, and many schools will
average two or more scores in deciding on admissions.
Second, study hard for the LSAT. Many students take LSAT preparation courses. The
Pre-Law Program takes no position on the merit of these courses. If you are a self-motivated
student who is serious about studying a test prep book, you may not need a prep class.
If you do not believe you have the discipline to study on your own for several months,
take a class. Whether or not you take an LSAT course, be sure to take several practice
tests under real test conditions, most importantly strict timing. This is critical
so that you go into the LSAT knowing the format of questions and the speed with which
you will need to answer them.
For students who are sure they want to apply to law school, the best time to take
the LSAT is in June after the end of junior year. This date gives you time to focus
solely on the exam after classes end, and to find out your scores well before classes
begin again in the fall.
Most law schools will take your highest score on multiple tests. In this case, it
may sometimes make sense to retake the LSAT, to improve your chances of admission
and of obtaining financial aid. Check with individual schools to determine their policy
on re-takes. If you have already submitted an application but are planning on retaking
the LSAT, you can always send an email to the Admissions Office at the schools you
have applied to, letting them know of your upcoming exam.
Some law schools average scores from multiple LSAT testings. For these schools, your
chances of dramatically improving on your first score are small, unless you really
did blow the first exam. How would you know if that is the case? If in the timed practice
tests that you took before the LSAT, you consistently scored much higher than the
score you received on the real test, there is a good chance that you may be able to
improve on a retake. In this circumstance, it may make sense to retake.
First time test-takers can also take advantage of theLSAT Score Preview option. First-time test takers who sign up for score preview will receive their scores at
the same time other test takers receive theirs (assuming they have completed their
LSAT Writing and have no holds on their accounts), and will have six (6) calendar
days to decide if they want to cancel or keep their score. If no action is taken,
their scores will be added to their LSAC account and released to law schools to which
they have applied at the end of the six-day period. Score preview costs $45 for candidates
who sign up prior to the first day of testing for a given test administration, or
$75 for those who sign up during a specified period after their test administration.
Various organizations, including most prominentlyU.S. News & World Reportmagazine, rank law schools using a variety of criteria, from professorial scholarship
to alumni giving to entering students' LSAT scores. How useful these rankings are
for the most important issue — the law school's ability to teach you law — is questionable.
For better or for worse, however, the rankings have considerable importance. If you
go to a high ranked law school, your fellow students are, on average, likely to have
much higher LSAT scores than if you attend a low ranked school. As a result, your
in-class experience is likely to be richer and more challenging. The rankings also
have a major impact on your job opportunities immediately after law school. If you
graduate from a top ranked school, major law firms and other employers may seek you
out for high-paying jobs and you may have opportunities to practice law in a variety
of settings. If you attend a lower ranked school, you will have to work harder to
find employment as a lawyer and your opportunities and salary will be smaller.
All that said, it is also true that if you do well in a law school of any rank you
will have a good chance of eventually finding a job in law. Particularly if you make
the school's law review and clerk for a judge, you will likely have a wide variety
Finally, bear in mind that your law school is most important in landing only your
first job. Thereafter, your skills and reputation as a lawyer will determine how far
you can go with your law degree.
Top-ranked law schools are more than happy to take your application fees, but you
should make sensible choices about which law schools are most likely to admit you.
For better or worse, law schools rely primarily on GPAs and especially LSAT scores
in making their admissions decisions. Knowing the median GPA and LSAT scores of the
schools that you are interested in will give you a good idea about your likelihood
of admission, based on this information.
Only you can decide that, but key factors that you should consider include: the law
school's ranking; its financial aid package; and its placement record for new J.D.s.
Every law school is unique, but all of them offer the same curriculum for the first
year of law school and many of the same courses for succeeding years. Some schools
have reputations for specialties in certain practice areas, such as environmental,
human rights, international, corporate, or criminal law. But you can gain basic training
in most of these areas at most law schools. Your real training in any of these areas,
however, will come on the job.