Discover What It Means to Think Like a Lawyer with a Pre-Law Certificate
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.
See Yourself Succeed with a Pre-Law Certificate
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:
- Supportive community. Join the SNHU campus community of students who are closely connected with faculty and staff dedicated to your success.
- Affordability. SNHU is one of the most affordable private, nonprofit universities in New Hampshire, and students who qualify could receive up to $20,000 in grants and scholarships. (This scholarship amount is only for students who do not need a visa to study in the U.S.)
- Accessible faculty. Learn from highly credentialed faculty who are experts in their fields and interact with you in the classroom, dining hall, fitness center and the stands.
- Opportunity. Tap into our nationwide network of alumni and strong connections with employers for internship and career opportunities.
- Campus experience. Enjoy more than 50 student clubs, champion Division II athletics and fun events on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, named a "Best Place to Live" by Money magazine.
Internships & Outcomes
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.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|Certificate in Pre Law|
|Courses May Include|
|Certificate in Pre Law Campus|
|POL 210||American Politics||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.|
|POL 306||The American Legal Tradition||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.|
|POL 336||Advocacy and the Law||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.|
|Total Credits: 21|
Law School Outlook & Legal Employment Outlook
Law School Outlook
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.
Legal Employment Outlook
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.
Semester in Washington, D.C.
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. More than 90% of our students receive some form of financial aid, and students who qualify could receive up to $20,000 in grants and scholarships.
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.