Iowa State helps students prepare for law school

Jared Raney

Even though Iowa State has no law school, its pre-law program does prepare students for rigorous law school recruiting and careers in the legal field.

“I think students choose to come here because we have a very active pre-law club,” said Bruce Allen, pre-law adviser. “I think the key here is our students are very well informed, and they need to be very well informed as they’re making the decision to go to law school.”

Allen said about 240 students have declared their intent to apply to law school, and between 400 and 450 have shown an interest in pre-law.

The pre-law program is not its own major, so students can major in any area they want and still declare themselves pre-law. In addition to their normal coursework, pre-law students have the option of taking a number of courses that teach skills to help them get into law school.

Among these courses is the Preparation for Law School Seminar Course, LAS 290C, taught by Allen. The course features a series of lecturers from within the field.

“The important thing about the class is it’s kind of a learning community where students become comfortable with one another,” Allen said.

Allen said the course is usually taken by juniors and seniors who have committed to applying to law school.

There are benefits that come along with declaring pre-law. For example, students have the opportunity to be a part of the Pre-Law Club. Right now the club has about 10 to 15 members who attend regularly, though club president Jasmine Harris said she is trying to raise attendance.

“The big part of our club is seminars and lectures. We have a lot of people from different law schools. You get a lot of networking opportunities,” Harris said. “You get the opportunity to come in and let these people who are coming here year after year see your face, talk to you, ask them what you need to do to prepare. They remember those people who are proactive.”

Members of the club also have exclusive opportunities such as free LSAT preparation and a free Law School Admission Test (LSAT) practice test. There are also scholarships such as the current Pre-Law Paper Competition worth $4,000.

Allen said about 45 to 50 students reported receiving offers from law schools, though the numbers are self-reported and not indicative of a single class. More and more frequently, Allen said students are taking a year or two off after their undergraduate studies before applying to law school.

Some ISU pre-law students stay in the Midwest, going to schools like Drake and Iowa to earn their Juris Doctorate, or J.D. degree.

“In law school, because it is a professional degree, you want to stick out,” Harris said. “You’ve got to be great to get into law school.”