UAA Pre-Law Advising Information
"almost nothing has more impact on our lives... than that something we call the law."
Lawrence M Friedman
Law in America, 3 (2002)
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a general guideline to the process of applying to law school, and is intended as a starting point of reference only. Every effort has been made to present accurate information, but all of the information is subject to change without notice. Neither the author, the Justice Center, nor the University of Alaska guarantees the timeliness, accuracy or completeness of the information provided below, or provided at any of the linked websites. Any use of or reliance on such information is voluntary, and should be undertaken only after an independent review of its accuracy. Links or references above to a specific product or service, or to any public or private organization or group do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation. Neither the author, the Justice Center nor the University of Alaska assumes responsibility for any damage resulting from the use of the information set forth above, or from the use of information obtained at any linked Internet address.
There are many different routes to law school. Though all applicants will need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, there is no single major that is "best" for law school preparation. You should choose an undergraduate major that interests you, will help you develop critical thinking skills, and will prepare you to communicate well orally and in writing. In choosing your electives, be sure to include courses in advanced composition, as strong writing skills are essential, and courses that will provide you with a good understanding of American history and government. As you move through your undergraduate coursework, you should also participate in a variety of public service activities that meet your interests, and will prepare you to take an active role in your community.
American Bar Association / Law School Admissions Council
There is a wide array of commercial information marketed to pre-law students, and much of it is very good. However, the best resources available to you are the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Both of these organizations maintain comprehensive websites with reliable information on preparing for law school, getting into law school, and choosing the best school for you. Links to their websites are listed below.
ABA Section of Legal Education & Admissions to the Bar: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education.html
Another valuable resource is the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. This book is updated yearly, and provides a wealth of information on each law school approved by the American Bar Association. It is available in print at most commercial bookstores, and is also available online, in a searchable format, at the LSAC website. You may access the online guide at http://officialguide.lsac.org.
UAA Consortium Library - Martindale Hubbell Directories
The UAA Consortium Library also provides useful information on law schools and legal careers through its Lexis-Nexis database. It includes the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory Listings, with details on more than 900,000 lawyers and law firms throughout the United States and around the world, and the Martindale-Hubbell Law School Directories, with information on over 250 American law schools. You will need your UAA user name and ID to access this information on-line. You may link to this information at http://consortiumlibrary.org.
Alaska Bar Association
Information on becoming licensed to practice law in Alaska, and on sitting for the Alaska Bar Examination, is available through the Alaska Bar Association. Its website provides links to the Alaska Bar Rules, which explain Alaska’s requirements for admission to the practice of law. That information may be accessed at www.alaskabar.org.
UAA Justice Center Resource Library
In addition to the resources listed above, the UAA Justice Center maintains a small library of materials relevant to law school admissions, including copies of the LSAC registration booklet, a current copy of the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, and numerous law school catalogs. These materials are available during Justice Center operating hours, which are normally 8-5 Monday through Friday. The Justice Center is located on the main UAA campus, in the Consortium Library, Suite 213.
Students in the Justice Bachelor of Arts program who intend to go to law school should consult with a pre-law advisor for help in planning their academic schedule.
Most ABA-approved law schools rely on the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), through its Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), to simplify the admissions process. You will submit your application information to the LSDAS, which will use the information to prepare a standardized report. The report will typically contain your law school admissions test score and copies of your writing sample, a summary of your undergraduate academic performance, copies of prior academic transcripts, and copies of your letters of recommendation. The LSDAS will send this report directly to the law schools to which you are applying.
The most important event in the application process is the law school admissions test (LSAT), administered by the LSAC. The test is given four times per year, and is designed to measure skills important for law school success. It includes five sections of multiple choice questions covering reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning. A 35 minute, unscored writing sample is administered at the end of the test. Schools vary in the importance they attach to the LSAT score, but you should assume that it will be a significant factor in determining the success of your applications.
The following is a brief overview of the application process. For more detailed information you should visit the LSAC website, www.lsac.org.
- Begin preparing for the LSAT.
- Register for the LSAT and LSDAS.
- Have your official undergraduate (college-level) transcripts sent from the University's registrar's office to the LSAC.
- Ask your references to send letters of recommendation to the LSAC, using the LSAC
preprinted forms (unless a school to which you are applying requires that letters
of reference be sent to directly to the school). To request a letter of recommendation
from a Justice Center faculty member, complete and submit the following forms to the
Justice Center office (Consortium Library, LIB 213):
Request for Letter of Recommendation Form
Student Reference Request, FERPA Release, and Release of Liability Form
- Take the LSAT.
- Check your LSDAS Master Law School report to make sure your transcripts have been summarized, your letters of reference are in, and your file is otherwise complete.
- Apply to your schools of choice as directed by each individual school (most schools now prefer that you apply electronically through the LSAC).
- Submit a personal statement or essay as directed by each school.
For additional information on pre-law resources at the University of Alaska Anchorage, or to make an advising appointment, please contact:
Assistant Professor; Legal Studies Program Coordinator
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