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 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.
Total Credits: 21
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.
Our Manchester campus aims to keep tuition and related costs low for our students so that you can pursue your degree and your goals.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.