The pre-law certificate at Southern New Hampshire University is an interdisciplinary instructional and mentoring program that helps you prepare for law school by giving you substantial insight into what it means to "think like a lawyer." Although the program is hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences, it's open to students in the undergraduate day school from throughout the University.
As an integral part of the program, SNHU provides a Pre-Law Advisor - a full-time School of Arts and Sciences faculty member, lawyer and former law school legal practice skills instructor - to advise you on all matters related to your preparation for law school and the practice of law.
The Pre-Law Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) does not recommend any particular major or group of courses as the best preparation for law school. Instead, the ABA emphasizes that pre-law students take "a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors," and "seek courses and other experiences that will engage you in critical thinking about important issues, challenge your beliefs and improve your tolerance for uncertainty." SNHU's pre-law certificate has been designed with this advice in mind.
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission - to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your pre-law certificate at SNHU include:
Competition for admission to law school is less intense now than it has been for several years. Nevertheless, law schools continue to seek well-prepared college graduates, and those who aspire to law school should expect to be part of a competitive applicant pool. This makes the pre-law skills and knowledge you'll learn at SNHU as vital as ever.
Some law school graduates become trial lawyers of the type familiar to us from television and movies. The vast majority of others work as legal counselors, appellate litigators, legislative staffers, regulatory policy-makers, arbitrators, mediators, administrative law judges or legal educators, or in law-related fields such as legal publishing. These legal professionals work in a wide variety of settings, including private law firms that range in size from two lawyers to many hundreds, solo practices, regulatory agencies or attorneys' general offices, legislatures, nonprofit organizations, the legal departments of large corporations, law schools, consulting firms, publishing houses and more.
The pre-law certificate program is not for students enrolled in the BA in Law and Politics, the BA in Law and Politics (International), or the BA in Law and Politics (Pre-JD Accelerated). Students in any other major in the undergraduate day school may participate. The curriculum includes a series of required foundational courses, like The American Legal Tradition and Advocacy and the Law, along with your choice of classes in business, forensics, criminal procedure, logic and more.
This course offers a broad introduction to the structure and function of the American political system at the national level, including the roles played by the president, Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, political parties, interest groups and the mass media in the policy- making and electoral processes. This course places special emphasis on how the efforts of the framers of the Constitution to solve what they saw as the political problems of their day continue to shape American national politics in ours.
This course offers a broad introduction to the American legal tradition, including the structure and function of the courts, the legal profession, legal education, and the politics of judicial selection. As an introduction to what it means to "think like a lawyer" in the United States, students learn how to write parts of a predictive legal memorandum of the type that first-year law students learn how to write, in which they analyze a legal issue of concern to hypothetical clients by applying the reasoning and conclusions in selected judicial opinions to the facts of the clients' case.
This course explores the reasoning process by American courts in resolving constitutional disputes. It is modeled on a first-year law school course. The readings consist almost exclusively of abbreviated U.S. Supreme Court opinions in civil liberties and civil rights cases. Students learn how to write brief, formal summaries of these opinions of the type that first-year students in American law schools learn to write, and are expected to participate actively in the type of in-class Socratic dialogues that are the standard method of instruction in American law schools.
This course aims to dispel some of the myths about lawyers as advocates that are perpetuated by popular culture and the mass media in the United States. Students spend much of the course exploring case studies that illustrate the ethical dilemmas faced by lawyers as advocates in the American legal system, the ethical rules that govern their behavior as a condition of their license to practice law, and the fates that befall them when they fail to fulfill their ethical obligations. In addition, students learn how to write parts of an appellate legal brief of the type that first-year law students in American law schools learn how to write, and how to make an appellate oral argument on behalf of hypothetical clients in a moot court setting.
Select two of the following:
Select two of the following:
The background, foundation and ethical aspects of the United States' legal system are examined. Torts, product liability, criminal law, contracts, sales, business organizations, and agency and cyber law also are explored.
The study begun in Business Law I continues as the topics of commercial paper, real and personal property, creditors' rights and bankruptcy, agency, business organizations, estate planning and government regulation of business are explored.
An introduction to substantive criminal law that reviews the social, philosophical, and legal foundations of criminal codification. In addition, the course covers the historical development of criminal law in the U.S. Other subject matters include parties to crimes including principals/accessories, criminal capacity, criminal elements, e.g. mens rea, actus rea, and the specific crimes against person, property, and public order. Lastly, the course captures criminal law from the defendant's perspective by reviewing the accuser's mental states, potential defenses and uses of mitigation.
A procedural law course which includes a review of the law of arrests, search, and seizure, the making of bail, adjudication, pre- and post-trial activities and the nature of plea bargaining. Substantial emphasis is given the constitutional protections afforded through the Bill of Rights, particularly the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th. The course deals extensively with case law applications of these principles and the role of judge and jurist in the crafting of criminal process standards.
A comprehensive review of evidentiary principles, both common law and statutory, and how evidentiary standards affect and govern both civil and criminal process. Topical coverage includes: Real and physical evidence, demonstrative substitution, hearsay and first-hand evidence, witness scope and qualification, as well as privilege principles. Both federal and state rules will be interpreted. Students will be required to advocate cases utilizing these evidentiary principles in a mock court environment and to research an area of emerging evidence law.
This course is a study of the fundamental principles of correct and incorrect argument, historical forms of deductive logic, and the significance of language and clear verbalization. Offered as needed.
How can businesses, governments, and public interest groups achieve environmental sustainability goals in legal and political contexts that were designed with other goals in mind? This interdisciplinary course explores the options in the United States, and provides a comprehensive point of comparison for topics explored in POL 329 and POL 349. Students spend about half of the course learning how to spot facts that give rise to compliance issues for businesses and other private parties under a full spectrum of federal environmental laws, and to identify opportunities for achieving broader sustainability goals within the constraints imposed by the law. In the other half, students learn both how to predict environmental law and policy outcomes and how to shape them adaptively in pursuit of sustainability goals in a fragmented system of governance that was designed to privilege special interests and to favor the status quo.
This course explores the history and contemporary significance of the world's major legal traditions, including the common law, civil law, and other municipal legal traditions, and the international law tradition. Students compare and contrast the essential features of these traditions, and explore how they shape what it means to "think like a lawyer" in the United States, in many foreign countries, and internationally.
How can we resolve environmental disagreements without picking winners and losers or merely agreeing to disagree? This interdisciplinary course explores the most effective strategy for doing so in negotiating environmental agreements of all kinds, using the multi-country agreements that are at the center of international environmental law as illustrative examples. Students spend most of the course building "win-win negotiation" skills in a series of increasingly complex computer-assisted and other role-playing simulation games, including an unregulated international common pool resource negotiation, an International Whaling Commission negotiation, and a global climate change negotiation using C-ROADS, an award-winning computer simulation used by governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations worldwide to model the long-term climate impacts of alternative greenhouse gas emission policy scenarios.
How effective is environmental law as a strategy for achieving sustainable development? How does its diversity across countries and cultures constrain the ability of businesses, governments, and civil society organizations to achieve environmental sustainability goals in an increasingly globalized world? This interdisciplinary course examines the many legal, political, cultural, and other factors that shape the answer to these questions, using China, India, Russia, the European Union, and the United States as illustrative examples. Students explore the implications of these factors not only for businesses, governments, and civil society organizations pursuing sustainability goals within their own countries, but also for their counterparts in other countries to whom the former are linked through bilateral trade relationships and global supply chains.
*At least four courses must be in addition to any courses counted toward the requirements of a student's major.
An education from Southern New Hampshire University is a smart investment for your future. It’s an affordable investment, too. We believe that college should change your life, not break the bank. That’s why more than 90 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid, and students with a GPA of 2.5 and higher could receive up to $18,000 in grants and scholarships.
After surging in the early 2000's, the number of college graduates applying to American law schools has begun to fall. As a result, competition for admission to law school is less intense now than it has been for several years. Law schools continue to seek well-prepared college graduates, however, so students who aspire to law school should expect to be part of a competitive applicant pool. Amid such a pool, the skills and knowledge acquired by students in SNHU's Pre-Law Program, which is designed to provide students with a solid foundation for learning how to "think like a lawyer" once they arrive in law school, can help them to stand out from other applicants.
Employment opportunities for graduates of American law schools are much more diverse than most Americans believe. Although some law school graduates become trial lawyers of the type familiar to us from television and movies, many others work as legal counselors, appellate litigators, legislative staffers, regulatory policy-makers, arbitrators, mediators, administrative law judges, or legal educators, or in law-related fields such as legal publishing. These legal professionals work in a wide variety of settings, including private law firms that range in size from two lawyers to many hundreds, solo practices, regulatory agencies or attorneys' general offices, legislatures, nonprofit organizations, the legal departments of large corporations, law schools, consulting firms, publishing houses, and more.
Although legal employment opportunities in general tend to be relatively abundant no matter what the state of the economy, opportunities in particular areas of practice or work settings often expand and contract in response to their own peculiar sets of factors. In private law firms, for example, opportunities in real estate and corporate law tend to increase during economic booms, whereas opportunities in bankruptcy law tend to expand during busts. Opportunities in other fields, such as environmental law, have been increasing slowly but steadily for decades. Opportunities in still other fields, such as trusts and estates, tend to remain relatively stable over time.
Despite these differences, students in the Pre-Law Program need not be concerned about picking an intended area of legal practice. Even most legal employers expect law school graduates to be generalists when hired.
Beginning in their junior year, students in the Pre-Law Program may elect to spend a semester in the nation's capital as a student in SNHU's Semester in Washington, D.C., program. The Semester in Washington, D.C., program promotes learning by doing among SNHU pre-law students and others through for-credit internships and academic seminars hosted by The Washington Center in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Center is an independent, nonprofit organization that since 1975 has provided internship programs and academic seminars to college students from throughout the United States and around the world, and is affiliated with more than 850 colleges and universities nationwide. The Washington Center provides students with housing and places them in internships appropriate to their interests.
For more information, see the course descriptions for POL 413A and POL 413B, email the Pre-Law Advisor.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...