The Pre-Law Program
The Pre-Law Program is housed in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Acceptance into law school is generally determined by the candidate’s Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, participation in a rigorous course of undergraduate study, college grade point average, a written personal statement specified by each law school, and letters of recommendation. Generally, the successful pre-law student will maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA in an academic program with a challenging major, double major and/or minor.
While there is no specific undergraduate major or set of courses required for admission to law school, certain programs are recommended as excellent introductions to the study of law and its affiliated fields as well as pertinent preparations for the LSAT.
The best undergraduate preparation for the LSAT and course work required in Law School is a challenging program of study which develops writing, reading comprehension, critical judgment, logical reasoning, and precise expression of ideas. The majors that provide the best preparation are political science, English, history, criminal/social justice, paralegal studies, and philosophy of law. Students with particular interest in the application of law to business, technology, and research are encouraged to have majors or minors linked to those areas. As a strong formation for both the LSAT and for first year law school, the following courses are recommended:
06-300 Writing for the Professions (3)
06-310 Advanced Writing (3)
09-236 History of Illinois (3)
09-325 United States Since 1941 (3)
09-381 History of England and Great Britain after 1450 (3)
10-242 Argumentation and Debate (3)
10-400 Mass Media Law (3)
15-310 Philosophy of Law (3)
15-299 Logic (3)
18-200 American National Government (3)
18-210 State and Local Government (3)
18-322 Mock Trial–Forensics (1-2)
18-327 Mediation (1-2)
18-371 Constitutional Law (3)
18-372 Civil Liberties (3)
23-250 Business Law I for Accountants (3)
23-251 Business Law II for Accountants (3)
61-250 Business Law I (3)
81-110 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3)
81-200 Court Systems and Probation (3)
81-430 Elements of Criminal Law (3)
81-445 Criminal Procedures/Rules of Evidence (3)
90-301 Legal Research, Analysis and Writing for Paralegals (3)
90-302 Interviewing and Investigation for Paralegals (3)
Students planning to enter law school in the fall semester after graduation from college should take the LSAT at the end of their junior year or the beginning of their senior year. The Pre-Law Program strongly encourages students to participate in and complete a comprehensive preparatory program prior to taking the LSAT. This preparation can be in the form of self-guided study using a preparation manual, tutorial study in a group or with a faculty member, or a specially designed, commercially available preparation course. The LSAT may be taken more than once so students are urged to take the exam earlier rather than later. Multiple test takers should know that LSAT will send all scores to the designated Schools of Law. However, the manner in which the law school handles the scores will depend on the policies of the particular institution. Some will consider only the most recent score, some the highest score, and some law schools will average the scores. With this in mind, students should check with those law schools to which they will be applying to ascertain the advisability of retesting. Pre-law students are encouraged to meet with a pre-law advisor. The advisor can assist in reviewing course schedules and providing information on the LSAT, LSAT preparation programs, specific law schools, and the law school application processes. In addition, pre-law students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Pre-Law Club, the Mock Trial and Mediation teams and to join Phi Alpha Delta, the national legal fraternity.
Lewis University’s Accelerated Admission Program with The John Marshall Law School
The John Marshall Law School permits a limited number of exceptionally well-qualified Lewis University students to enter The John Marshall Law School after completing their junior year of undergraduate study. Students participating in this accelerated admission program receive the appropriate bachelor’s degree from Lewis University following successful completion of the first year of law school, and they earn the law degree (J.D.) from The John Marshall Law School after successful completion of the required law school curriculum. Accelerated admission to The John Marshall Law School permits completion of the requirements for both degrees in six years, rather than seven. The student’s Lewis University adviser in the major of choice and the pre-law adviser will help the student design a three-year program of study at Lewis University.
Juniors at Lewis University applying for admission to this accelerated admission program must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The John Marshall Law School evaluates carefully the quality of the student’s academic record, faculty recommendations, and the applicant’s LSAT score. Successful applicants for accelerated admission usually have an undergraduate cumulative grade point average and LSAT score at or above the median of college graduates accepted into the regular J.D. program. This means that their GPAs and LSATs will have to be above last year’s entering class averages, so this is a high standard. Students who fail to meet the standard may yet be eligible for JMLS or another law school after traditional graduation from Lewis.
When an applicant’s GPA/LSAT profile is at an acceptable level, other qualifications are considered, including extracurricular activities, involvement in cultural or civic affairs, and work experience. The John Marshall Law School welcomes applications to this accelerated admission program from qualified students belonging to groups underrepresented in the legal profession.
Before entering The John Marshall Law School, accelerated-admission students must have completed 99 Lewis University credit hours toward the bachelor’s degree, including all requirements of their chosen academic major and all general education program requirements. Upon successful completion of two full semesters of law school, 29 semester hours earned at John Marshall will be applied as elective credit giving the students 128 Lewis University credit hours, the total needed to complete the bachelor’s degree.
Students who transfer into Lewis University from two or four year colleges must complete the above stated requirements and also meet the 32 hour residency requirement at Lewis, as well as complete 4 courses (12-16 credit hours) of upper division coursework in their major at Lewis. For the purposes of admission review, The John Marshall Law School will calculate a GPA based on all college coursework completed (not just Lewis University courses) and as part of the application process will require official transcripts from all institutions attended.
Students applying for accelerated admission for fall semester (August) should complete the application process by early January of their final semester at Lewis. It is preferable for applicants to have taken the LSAT by the preceding October test date. Students should contact their pre-law advisor early in the first semester of their junior year to review the admission process. At the time of application, students must be on schedule with regard to completing all Lewis requirements.
Students applying for accelerated admission for winter semester (January) should complete the application process by early September of their final semester at Lewis. It is preferable for applicants to have taken the LSAT by the preceding June test date. Students should contact their pre-law advisor early in the first semester of junior year to review the admission process. At the time of application, students must be on schedule with regard to completing all Lewis requirements.
Students will be eligible to apply for and receive financial assistance through Lewis University for the period of time they are actively enrolled at Lewis. Once students are admitted and enrolled at The John Marshall Law School, they will no longer be eligible to receive financial assistance from Lewis and will need to apply directly to The John Marshall Law School for any desired financial support.
Should a student be unsuccessful for any reason in completing the program of study at The John Marshall Law School, the student can apply for readmission to Lewis University for the purpose of completing the bachelor's degree. Lewis University will consider all courses completed at John Marshall with a grade of “C” or above for transfer as elective credit back to Lewis University.