For the most up-to-date overview of the program, frequently asked questions, and recommended courses, please download the FAQ document.
For a list of courses for the Legal Studies Minor, please download Courses document.
Welcome to UTPA's pre-law program. The goal of the program is quite simple: to facilitate your entrance into law school. To this end, several of the most common questions concerning the law school admissions process are listed in the link above. I have also listed a number of courses that emphasize the academic skills necessary to successfully pursue both the admissions process and law school itself. Some of these courses will be part of your undergraduate major; others may serve as electives.
Admission to law school is extremely competitive. Applicants are selected primarily on the basis of the following factors: the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score, undergraduate grade point average (GPA), the personal statement, letters of recommendation, and extra-curricular activities. Virtually all law schools begin with the numbers: the LSAT and the GPA. If you make a perfect score on the LSAT (180) and have a 4.0 GPA, then unless you're an ax murderer, you will be admitted to a law school. On the other hand, if you make 130 on the LSAT and have a 1.5 GPA, then, unless your folks own a law school, you don't want to give up your day job. Most of us fall somewhere in between, at which point the law school admissions committees pay closer attention to the other factors mentioned above.
UTPA's pre-law program includes a number of components. Keep in mind that there is no such major as pre-law. That is, a pre-law student is a student who intends to go to law school, just as a pre-med student intends to go to medical school. Participants in UTPA's pre-law program come from majors in virtually every college on the campus.
The UTPA pre-law society is an important part of our program. The student organization meets every other week during the fall and spring semesters. Typical programs include guest speakers from the local bar, speakers from different law schools and various films. In addition, there are a series of courses one can take to obtain a "certificate in legal reasoning". Check the UTPA catalogue under pre-law for a list of these courses. Finally, there is the UTPA Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI), a five-week summer institute that offers selected students intensive analytical training as well as LSAT preparation. Admission to the institute is by invitation only and is based in large part on academic ability.
If you have other questions, please feel free to ask them. Most importantly, understand that the application process is highly individualized: one size does not fit all. So plan to meet with me on a regular basis as we develop the best strategy to achieve your chosen career goal: becoming a lawyer.
Jerry Polinard, UTPA Pre-law Advisor
Phone: (956) 665-3341