Pre-Law Society

PRE-LAW

 Planning Undergraduate Coursework

There is NO Pre-Law Major at California State University-Dominguez Hills. The American Bar Association cautions students that there is “no single path that will prepare you for a legal education”. Students are advised that preparing for law school is not the same as preparing for medical school, and that a one-size-fits-all slate of classes will not likely help them in preparing to pursue a legal career. Fortunately, Dominguez Hills offers extensive opportunities to help students ready themselves for a future career in law. There are many courses in various disciplines that contribute to the skills students will need as a lawyer. For help in choosing your courses, contact a pre-law advisor after admission to this university.

 

Pre-Law Advisors

Dr. Salvatore Russo (Political Science)
Tel: (310) 243-3490
Email: srusso@csudh.edu

Dr. Clarence Augustus Martin (Public Administration/Criminal Justice Administration)
Tel: (310) 243-3490
Email: gmartin@csudh.edu

Dr. Theodore Byrne (Public Administration/Criminal Justice Administration)
Tel: (310) 243-2692
Email: tbyrne@csudh.edu

Marie E. Palladini (Public Administration/Criminal Justice Administration)
Tel: (310) 243-2677
Email: mpalladini@csudh.edu

Dr. La Tanya Skiffer (Sociology)
Tel: (310) 243-3039
Email: lskiffer@csudh.edu

 

Skills Pre-Law Students Must Develop

Several broad objectives of pre-legal education are set forth by the Association of American Law Schools. These include the oral and written command of language; an understanding and appreciation of social, political and economic values, institutions, problems and frames of reference; and an ability for creative, innovative, critical and analytical thinking.

 

Choosing a Major or Minor

“The American Bar Association does not recommend any undergraduate majors or group of courses to prepare for a legal education”. The selection of a major and minor should depend on the student's personal interest or goals. Again, there is no one major that will act as a “silver bullet” and by itself enable you to enroll in the law school of your choice. Traditionally, students bound for law school majored in political science. More recently, prospective law students also major in public administration, sociology, business, history, English, philosophy and criminal justice. Strong academic performance in any major is a necessity for admission to law school. Regardless of which major a student selects, it is strongly urged that students take courses that will require them to perfect their writing and research skills!

 

Mock Trial

Dominguez Hills offers students a mock trial program that teaches the foundations of civil and criminal litigation, as well as oral communication skills desired by law school admissions officers. Students can register for the Mock Trial course—offered in the Department of Political Science, but open to all students of all majors—in order to learn the basics of trial advocacy, including preparing opening and closing statements, how to make objections, and how to get evidence admitted at trial. Students are also given the opportunity to compete against other mock trial programs from other universities at both invitational and regional tournaments. Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Russo at srusso@csudh.edu.

 

Law School Admissions Test & Letters of Recommendation

Applicants for admission to most law schools are expected to have a B.A. or a B.S. Degree and to have taken the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is a specialized test designed to measure cognitive skills that are used in legal reasoning and argument. Test preparation courses can help raise student scores; but such preparation is best done well in advance.. See a pre-law advisor as close as possible to the beginning of your junior year or earlier to take best advantage of LSAT preparation. Many law schools require that the LSAT be taken by December of the year preceding law school entry. For more information about the LSAT, students are encouraged to go to http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/test-dates-deadlines.

Letters of recommendation, and even personal statements require early planning. Most law schools will require three letters of recommendation, and it is preferred if those letters come from professors and instructors at your university. It is encouraged you ask your professors for letters of recommendation well in advance of your application to law school. For help on your personal statement, contact the pre-law advisors as soon as possible!

 

Credit/No Credit Courses and Law School Admission Policy

Most law schools require applicants to take the Law School Admissions Test and also to register with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), which collects and distributes letters of recommendation, reviews academic transcripts and standardizes undergraduate records to simplify the work of law school admission committees. Grades are converted to one system that allows law schools to compare applicants from many different campuses on a uniform basis. Note the LSAC counts a "NC" grade in a CR/NC class as a failing grade. Students planning to apply to law school must either complete the course for "Credit" or withdraw. Do not simply drop the course and allow a "No Credit" to appear on the transcript. For more information—and to register with LSAC—please go to www.lsac.org.

 

Pre Law Society

Dominguez Hills is home to an active Pre Law Society. The Pre-Law Society engages in a variety of activities, including hosting talks from members of admissions committees, young attorneys, judges, and also offering help to students looking for LSAT prep materials and courses. Interested students should contact Dr. Russo, advisor to the Pre-Law Society, at srusso@csudh.edu

 

Court Observer Program

Dominguez Hills is also pleased to partner with the Los Angeles County Superior Court each Spring semester in offering a unique opportunity for Dominguez Hills students. After a competitive application process during the Fall semester, students are selected for an interview round with faculty and administration. Successful students are then selected to participate in the Court Observer Program. These students will “shadow” a Superior Court Judge, often in Torrance, California, and observe the activities at the courthouse. This includes, but is not limited to, criminal and civil trials, and motion practice. The selection process starts each October. Interested students can contact Dr. Russo at srusso@csudh.edu, or Dr. Hamoud Salhi at hsalhi@csudh.edu.

 

Sources of Additional Information

There are special financial benefits and educational programs available to minority students through the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, 1800 M. Street, N.W., Suite 290, North Lobby, Washington, D.C. 20036. Please see http://www.cleoscholars.com/ for more information.

For general law information, a student should see the bulletins or catalogs of various law schools or the official Pre-Law Handbook, current edition, prepared by the Law School Admission Test Council and the Association of American Law Schools. Students are also recommended to explore https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx for information on admissions criteria at each of the ABA-Approved Law Schools.