Pre-Law

Interested in a career in law? Pre-Law Advising offers excellent preparation.

The University at Albany is located less than one mile away from the New York State Capitol, an area that offers numerous pre-law opportunities. You can develop real-world skills through internships with New York State government or choose from a variety of community service opportunities offered through the Community and Public Service Program (CPSP).

 

Empire Plaza

3+3 joint degree with Albany Law School

The University at Albany and Albany Law School participate in a joint degree program combining the bachelor's degree and law degree in a six year program.

Selected students who fulfill the criteria for the program, will start Albany Law School after their junior year and receive a bachelor's degree from the University at Albany after their first year of study at Albany Law School. Students in this program complete standard bachelor’s degree requirements at the University at Albany.

Eligibility Criteria

Incoming and current freshman at the University at Albany are only eligible to apply.

Transfer students who have completed prior study at another institution would not be eligible to apply to this program.

Students enrolled in the Honors College are not eligible as the cumulative honors credits and the sequential nature of the Honor’s program are not compatible with the accelerated pathway.

The 3+3 Law program enables students to complete three years of study at UAlbany after which they move directly into three years at Albany Law School. Students earning more than 30 credits in AP and IB or college courses in High School may not be a good fit for this program as the number of accelerated credits can make it difficult for students to complete their three-year course of study at UAlbany or If you are applying to the 3+3 program with more than 30 credits earned, please contact Chris Gebhardt at [email protected] for further academic advisement regarding your eligibility for this program.

Note: Any student may apply to law school after the successful completion of their third year at UAlbany provided they have completed all degree requirements including the completion of 120 total credits.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria commonly considered by the UAlbany selection committee include:

  • Academic performance 
  • SAT examination scores
  • Class rank
  • Quantitative criteria
  • Personal Essay

To be selected, an applicant must be acceptable to both the UAlbany selection committee and Albany Law School.

Applicants will be notified of the decision by the University at Albany approximately five weeks after the application deadline.

Apply to 3+3 joint degree program

3+3 Law Program Application for High School Students

Due Date: Please check back soon for 2022 due dates!

 

3+3 Law Program Application for UAlbany Freshman

Due Date: Please check back soon for 2022 due dates!

 

Note: Along with the submission of the 3+3 Law Program Application, please send a two-page personal statement of your reasons for seeking admission to this program and any additional information about yourself, your experience, or your reasons for wanting to study law, which you believe, might be helpful to the admissions committee in evaluation of your application.

The personal statement should be sent to Christopher Gebhardt, Pre-Law Advisor at [email protected].

Program Criteria

To qualify for guaranteed admission into Albany Law School, those admitted to the program must meet the following criteria:

  • At the end of the freshman year, students must have earned a minimum of 30 graduation credits with at least a 3.3 cumulative grade point average.
  • At the end of the sophomore year, students must have earned a minimum of 60 graduation credits with at least a 3.3 cumulative grade point average.
  • At the end of the junior year, students must have earned a minimum of 90 graduation credits with at least a 3.3 cumulative grade point average, must have satisfied all requirements for a major and minor, must have satisfied the general education requirements, and must achieve a one-time or average score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) that is no lower than the median LSAT score for the prior year's entering class at Albany Law School.

Stay in touch with Pre-Law

We highly recommend that you subscribe to the Pre-Law LISTSERV if you're interested in pursuing a career in law and want to learn about upcoming opportunities.

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Pre-Law Resources
Pre-Law Events

University at Albany Law Fair

The University at Albany sponsors a Law School Fair every fall. Representatives from over 40 Law Schools attend this event and are available to answer questions from prospective students.

For information about attending or presenting at the Fall 2021 Law Fair, please click here.

 

Programming Events

Pre-Law hosts events each semester we have programming events that involved UAlbany alum who are lawyers, the Black Lawyers Matter speaker series, informational sessions with current law students, etc.

Pre-Law Timeline

Prior to Junior Year

  • Select a major in a field that interests you and in which you will excel.
  • Start building relationships with professors and teaching assistants early on, so you can ask for a recommendation letter from someone you know best.
  • If interested in 3+3 Law Program, please apply by the end of freshman year.
  • Subscribe to the Pre-Law LISTERV.
  • Join the UAlbany Pre-Law Association.
  • Explore relevant job and internship opportunities with the Office of Career Services and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Junior Year

  • Research law schools.
  • Attend the University at Albany Law Fair in the fall.
  • Begin preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
  • If prepared, consider taking the June LSAT (Note: Students that plan to start Law School right after graduation, should take the LSAT between June after junior year and Fall of senior year.
  • Register with the Credential Assembly Service.
  • Register for October LSAT, if appropriate.

Senior Year

  • Request letters of recommendation.
  • If required, forward Dean's Recommendation forms to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.
  • Review financial aid material.
  • Take October LSAT, if appropriate.
  • Prepare applications according to law school deadlines.
  • Call law schools in January to ensure application is complete.
Advanced Degree Options

Law School Preparation & Application Process

Law School Preparation

 

Choosing A Major

Law is an incredibly diverse profession, and because of this, there is no one major that provides a student with a definitive background for its study. While the majors of History, English, Political Science, Philosophy, or Criminal Justice have traditionally been considered as preparation for law school, it is equally true that any major will lead to success in a law career. The most important first step that any student interested in law can make is to choose a major in which the student excels, which can be any major that interests the student. 

 

Admission Requirements

While there is no major that is "pre-law," there are certain basic requirements for admission to law school: the successful completion of the bachelor's degree, a competitive undergraduate grade point average, and a competitive score on the Law School Admissions Test. Additionally, many personal factors are considered. Even though there is no single major that predicts a successful career in law, there are certain skills that will be necessary to ensure that success, and students should choose their classes wisely to develop those skills. 

 

Language Skills

Language skills are of the utmost importance for success in the legal profession. Among these skills is writing and students should look for classes that aim to strengthen technical skills such as grammar and choose classes that require essay examinations and analytical written work. Oral communication is another important language skill since those in the legal profession must be able to clearly and effectively convey their meaning through the spoken word, speech classes, or those classes that require oral presentations to help build oral communication skills. Reading and oral comprehension skills are also crucial, both in law school and in the profession.

 

Critical Thinking and the LSAT

Students should work to develop their critical thinking skills. These skills are the basis of all success in the legal profession and account for three-quarters of the scored portion of the Law School Admissions Test. Courses in foreign languages, English, mathematics, and physical sciences, economics, philosophy, are useful in developing quantitative and verbal reasoning skills. Students will also need to have an awareness of people and society, to better understand how individuals and group's function. Classes that would be useful for this would be sociology, psychology, history, literature, and philosophy. Students should also develop their general research skills by choosing classes in which a research project is a critical component.

 

Extracurricular Activities & Personal Experience

Although the Grade Point Average and the LSAT score are important, there are many other factors that law schools consider. Campus involvement, community service, internships in the legal field, and an overall commitment to helping others would be very useful to someone interested in law as a profession.

 

Law School Application Process

 

Personal Statement

A strong personal statement should discuss who you are, explain weaknesses in your file, and tell a good story. The admissions officer who reads your personal statement should not just feel informed but feel entertained while reading. No one can tell you what should be in your personal statement without knowing your entire personal and family history. Personal statements are often sent in conjunction with other essays. The set of essays must tell a unified story.

Note: Please email your essay prior to meeting with Pre-Law at [email protected].

 

Dean's Letter

While not all schools require a Dean's Letter, it is a very important part of the overall application process for those that do and is referred to as a Dean's Recommendation or College Questionnaire. The purpose of this letter is to verify whether a student has had any disciplinary or academic infractions while attending college. 

The office that is responsible for processing this on our campus is the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. The Dean's Letter should be mailed or dropped off at the following address: 

Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
1400 Washington Avenue
Lecture Center 30
Albany, NY 12222

Note: Please observe the importance of disclosing any infractions that may have occurred in the past even if they have since been expunged. Failure to disclose, if later discovered, carries very serious consequences such as denial of admission to the bar or disbarment. A pre-law advisor is available for further input on this matter.

 

Letters of Recommendation

When deciding who to ask for a recommendation, please do not use references from your friends or relatives, or recommendations from people who do not really know you. A common mistake made by applicants is to think that the prestige or position of the writer is more important than what the person can say about the applicant. Letters that compare you to your academic peers are often the most useful. A recommendation that is purely laudatory can lose some of its credibility and be viewed with some skepticism. A small flaw embedded along with much praise is likely to be viewed as more real. 

Provide the recommenders with the following information:

  • A résumé  

  • Information about your grade point average, LSAT score, unusual circumstances or trends.

  • Highlights of significant experiences and/or awards, responsibilities, above average leadership responsibilities.

  • Copies of papers you did, if any, with comments by the writer of your recommendation.

Make an appointment to meet with the recommenders in-person and be prepared to discuss why you want to go to law school and what you are hoping to do with a law degree. Be active in expressing what you're hoping the recommender will include in the letter. The letter should evaluate rather than describe and the recommender's response will be a good indicator as to whether the recommendation will be useful. If you don't receive a firm yes when you ask the recommender to write a positive letter, you should seek alternatives.

A good recommendation will convey the recommender's enthusiasm and support for you as an applicant to law school.

Provide an envelope stamped and addressed to Credential Assembly Service as a courtesy and to facilitate the process for your recommender. 

Allow at least 4 or 5 weeks for the tasks to be completed by the writer. 

Remember to write a thank you note or stop by in person to express your appreciation. 

The recommender should keep the following in mind:

  • The law school admissions process is very competitive. Please ensure the recommendation is specific as possible. Law school admission committees’ want to know primarily how well the student reads and writes, if the student can adapt to the discipline of law school, and will the student reflect favorably on their law school. 
  • Be specific about the student's coursework. Was the course a demanding one? How well did the student perform on both oral and written assignments? Did the student do anything which stands outs in your mind (e.g., did the student write a term paper or essay which you considered superior?) if so, indicate the topic and why it was a superior work. Note the student's potential for intellectual development. 
  • Indicate how long and in what capacity you have known the student. If you are familiar with non-academic achievements (e.g., extra-curricular activities), please note these. 
  • Also note other background characteristics which may be useful (e.g., work experience, bilingual ability). Convey facts, not judgments alone. Do not use unsupported adjectives. 
  • Please forward your letter directly to the Credential Assembly Services on the form provided by the student. 
  • Keep a copy of every letter of recommendation.

 

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