Last updated: March 19, 2018
The American Bar Association (ABA) reveals trends in their active attorney demographics survey suggesting major shifts in the demographic landscape for legal professionals on a national scale. Since 2007, the population of caucasian and male active attorneys has decreased by 5.4 percent. On the other hand, national female representation has increased by over 5 percent, and collective minority rates have been steadily growing as well. This demonstration of diversity within the legal profession is only one of the many indicators of the growing opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career with law.
If you’re a student interested in majoring in political science, criminal justice, public interest law, environmental law, business law, or pre-law studies, the educational foundation that these undergraduate degrees provide will create the foundation you need to become a practicing attorney. Explore our guide to learn more about how you can prepare for a career in law and use our interactive scholarship tool find political science, pre-law and law school scholarships to help fund your degree.
Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, exemplifies how studying law can not only prepare you for ample career opportunities, but also help positively change lives. As a Harvard Law student turned community organizer in Chicago, he used his law degree to support his career in politics, which led him to hold the office of the President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
“And the good news is, you’re ready. And when your journey seems too hard, and when you run into a chorus of cynics who tell you that you’re being foolish to keep believing or that you can’t do something, or that you should just give up, or you should just settle — you might say to yourself a little phrase that I’ve found handy these last eight years: Yes, we can.”
— Barack Obama, Former President of the United States
The path to becoming a practicing lawyer is very expansive, with plenty of time to discover concentrations and expertise where you could add value to a variety of different professional fields. However, the journey to the classroom all starts in the same place: acceptance into an accredited law degree program, and the support to get you there.
The LSAT is a mandatory test for prospective law school candidates to assess reading, logical, and verbal reasoning proficiencies specifically as it pertains to pursuing a law degree.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for admission to law school. The ABA notes that undergraduate students gain admission to law school from nearly every area of study, ranging from political science, English, economics, business, and journalism.
A JD is the nationally recognized degree for practicing law in the United States. There are many specialties within legal practice and students can select a concentration program in public interest, environmental, criminal, or property.
Most states require lawyers to graduate from an ABA-approved law school and pass the state bar examination prior to qualifying in that state. The bar exam is commonly a two-day process.
Public Interest: Lawyers can specialize in fields relating to organizations of all sizes, as well as government agencies at all levels. Environmental, Business, Estate, Family, and Personal Injury lawyers are considered public interest lawyers.
Criminal: Lawyers who specialize in criminal law and represent clients in criminal cases are considered criminal lawyers. Students who major in criminal justice and law prepare for careers in the criminal law field.
Political Science: Deals with systems of government, and the analysis of political activity and behavior. Students majoring in political science graduate to work in government, journalism, law, business, and teaching.
The Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) offers links to law and legal information, federal law, court opinions, treaties, legal dictionaries and journals, and copyright information.
The ABA offers this resource for student loan repayment and forgiveness through the U.S. department of education.
The ABA offers a detailed overview of the bar exam, test information and preparation, and a comprehensive guide to bar admission requirements.
The first and largest social network for law professionals. Network within hundreds of specialized law groups and forums, whether you’re a student, attorney, or law professional.
Hosted by Cornell University, this not-for-profit database allows students to search for statutes and published law online for free.
There are hundreds of scholarships for pre-law and law school students, which are awarded by local organizations, private companies, societies and more.
Grants don’t need to be paid back and are based on your financial circumstances. They are usually funded by the federal government, your state or college.
While scholarships usually fund tuition, fellowships typically cover graduate study, research projects and abroad experiences without needing to be paid back.
You can borrow money from the government or a bank, but it needs to be paid back with interest. The federal government offers many loan options—fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for financial aid. If you need help, use our interactive guide to learn how to answer every question.
Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.
If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.
Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to sort by concentration, award amount and if you qualify for need-based aid.
Amount: up to $1,000
Deadline: June 1, 2019
Students studying criminal law enforcement and who identify as LGBTQ are eligible for this award. Must demonstrate positive role-model ability and potential for success post-graduation to apply.
Deadline: July 1, 2019
Students must be studying law enforcement, law, criminal justice or related fields to apply for this award. Students must be a high school senior, freshman, or sophomore to apply.
Deadline: July 1, 2019
This annual scholarship is awarded to a child of a law enforcement or firefighter who has been injured or died in the line of duty. Awards are based on financial need and academic achievement. Students must reside in the New York metro area to be considered.
Amount: up to $5,000
Deadline: July 8, 2019
The best three essay submissions will be awarded scholarships through the Foundation for Excellence in Taxes and The American College of Tax Counsel. Must be a part-time or full-time law student to enter. Papers may be on any federal or state-related topic.
Deadline: July 31, 2019
Students pursuing scholastic study in fields related to alliance building, counterintelligence, and national security studies are eligible for this memorial scholarship.
Deadline: September 30, 2019
Students, or soon-to-be law students are eligible for this award if located in, or demonstrate significant ties to Maui County. Financial need will be considered.
Deadline: December 31, 2018
Students attending four-year accredited universities in their sophomore year and above are applicable for this award. Must have a GPA of 3.0 to be considered, majoring in one of the eligible degree programs as listed on the scholarship website.
Deadline: January 17, 2019
The MALDEF scholarship is open to all law students enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. law school. Applicants will be selected based on their academic and extracurricular achievements, and financial need.
Deadline: January 18, 2019
College seniors enrolled in a law program are eligible for this award. This award provides the opportunity to pursue one year of public service anywhere in the world.
Deadline: March 15, 2021
The American Indian College Fund will award the second American Indian Law School Scholarship to a first-year student in the 2021-22 Harvard Law School. The scholarship covers all costs of attendance, including tuition for the three-year course of study at Harvard Law School, for one Native student. Th eligible applicants must be an American Indian or Alaska Native who are enrolled tribal members, or who are lineal descendants of an enrolled parent or grandparent.
Deadline: January 1, 2019
Students ranking in the top third of their class on an annual basis in Texas and Oklahoma are encouraged to apply for this award. The selection committee will review academic performance, civic engagement, and leadership abilities.