Pre-Law

Lewis is the perfect place to prepare for law school.

From Lewis to Law School

Acceptance into law school is generally determined by a comprehensive evaluation that includes:

  • Your Law School Admission (LSAT) score
  • Your college GPA
  • Your written personal statement (specified by each law school)
  • Faculty recommendations
  • Some schools also consider work experience, extracurricular and civic activities, and diversity of classes.

In order to determine the probability of getting accepted in specific law schools based on your GPA and LSAT scores, please see the Law School Admission Council’s website (www.lsac.org/index).

ACADEMIC PREPARATION

While there is no specific undergraduate major or set of courses required for admission to law school, the majors that provide the best preparation are Political Science, English, History, Criminal Justice, Paralegal Studies, and Philosophy of Law. Students who have interests in applying the law to business, science and technology, nursing, education or media should consider adding another major or minor from the list above. In addition, the Political Science Department offers POLS-36000 Pre-Law Seminar: Law School Preparation, which teaches about the legal profession, introduces students to legal writing, and provides information on the application process.  Finally, pre-law students are encouraged to enroll in POLS 32000 Mock Trial – Forensics or POLS 32700 Mediation I, or POLS 32900 Mediation II for additional experiences with the law and advocacy.  Overall, the best undergraduate preparation law school and for the LSAT is a challenging program of study that develops students’ writing and oral communication skills, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE THE LSAT?

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 a specially designed, commercially available preparation course.  In addition, the Philosophy Department offers PHIL-30700 Reasoning and Standardized Test-Taking, a course open to all juniors and seniors that focuses on preparing for the LSAT.

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 law schools. 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.

LEWIS UNIVERSITY’S ACCELERATED ADMISSION AGREEMENT WITH THE NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW

The Northern Illinois University College of Law permits a limited number of exceptionally well-qualified Lewis University students to enter NIU Law 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 NIU Law after successful completion of the required law school curriculum. Accelerated admission to NIU Law 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.

To be eligible for matriculation at NIU Law, Lewis applicants must comply with all of the following requirements:

  • Complete all Lewis general education requirements, as well as all requirements for their Lewis major. Applicants must complete at least 96 credit hours at Lewis, which is three-fourths of the 128 credit hours required for completion of their Lewis bachelor’s degree, before matriculating to NIU Law. 

  • Possess a cumulative Lewis undergraduate grade point average of 3.25 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) as of the time of application to NIU Law.

  • Take the Law School Admission Test (“LSAT”) and score at or above the 50th percentile of the previous year’s matriculating class at NIU Law.

  • Apply for admission to NIU Law by April 30 of their third year of undergraduate study toward a bachelor’s degree at Lewis. Application requirements include an electronic application form, a personal statement, an LSAT score reported through the Law School Admissions Council’s Credit Assembly Service, a transcript, at least one letter of recommendation, and a letter from the Lewis Registrar stating that the applicant has complied with the general education and major requirements as described above. Applicants are also encouraged, though not required, to submit a résume.

Each student admitted into this programmatic option will be awarded a bachelor’s degree by Lewis after completion of the first year of study at NIU Law and transfer to Lewis of up to 32 semester credit hours earned during that year at NIU Law which will serve as electives to satisfy the 128 credit hours required for the Lewis bachelor’s degree.

Both current Lewis undergraduate students and transfer students to Lewis are eligible to participate in this programmatic option and will be allowed to matriculate at NIU Law only if, in addition to the above requirements, they are admitted.  NIU Law shall have sole discretion with respect to all NIU Law admission decisions.

Students who matriculate at NIU Law as part of this Agreement will pay tuition and fees for each year of study at NIU Law to Northern Illinois University. Merit-based scholarships and financial aid from NIU Law are available for competitive applicants, including those accepted into this programmatic option.

All students must meet the requirements established by the University and will be subject to the academic and student regulations, policies and procedures of the University while enrolled at NIU Law.

Should a student be unsuccessful for any reason in completing the program of study at NIU Law, the student can return to Lewis University to complete their bachelor’s degree. Lewis University will consider all courses completed at NIU Law with a grade of “C” or above for transfer as elective credit back to Lewis University.

YOUR PRE-LAW ADVISOR

The Pre-law Program is housed in the Political Science Department. Any student who is considering law school should meet with Dr. Laurette Liesen to discuss majors and specific undergraduate coursework that will be helpful in preparing for law school. The Pre-Law Advisor will also provide information on LSAT preparation, law school application dates, and the application process.

Contact Dr. Laurette Liesen at 815-836-5681 or liesenla@lewisu.edu for more information or an appointment.

VIEW THE PROGRAM CURRICULUM