The first step towards becoming a lawyer doesn’t necessarily start with enrolling in law school.
As a matter of fact, you could say that the first step takes place even earlier – when you select your undergraduate major.
Now, there are dozens of useful pre-law majors that can best prepare you for law school and your future career as a lawyer. However, this article focuses on eight programs or courses that are most helpful to practicing lawyers.
Let’s take a look at them.
1. Public speaking and persuasive communication
Whether they’re communicating with clients, insurance companies, court representatives, or other important parties in legal proceedings, lawyers need to have good public speaking skills.
These come in particularly handy when attempting to persuade the judges to accept the narrative lawyers have built around a client’s case.
Other than that, good communication skills aid lawyers in building trusting relationships with their clients, as well as creating a positive reputation for their law firm.
After all, every time a lawyer speaks, they are representing their firm.
Subjects like sociology help lawyers understand the intention behind certain laws and how these laws influence society.
To perform efficiently and build strong cases, lawyers must be able to understand how certain people react under specific circumstances.
This means that attending social sciences courses helps future lawyers to:
· Develop critical thinking
· Maintain an ethical approach in providing legal services
· Build a legal career as a specialist rather than a generalist
Here’s an example: A law student with a minor in social sciences may better understand how New York society plays a role in influencing bus drivers to drink and drive.
Consequently, they may better understand why drunk driving prevention acts are created in NYC and make for a better bus accident lawyer from New York.
3. Political science
Some courses in political science provide great insight into the decision-making processes of judges and other important political institutions.
For example, a lawyer may benefit from a course that explores the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court or goes on to interpret certain statutes.
Lastly, you could say that political science and law complement each other.
Namely, lawyers can use knowledge from the political sciences to test their assumptions and predict the implications of certain legislation, while politicians use the law as a tool for any government motion.
4. Maths, data, and statistics
Maths, data, and statistics: This holy trinity is essential for the development of a lawyer’s analytical skills.
Lawyers, in particular, work with massive databases of documents, including intertwined legislation and client evidence records.
To successfully analyze these documents and apply them to the circumstances of a particular case, lawyers must be able to draw significant conclusions based on various texts that have different (and potentially opposing) angles.
In conclusion, these courses improve a lawyer’s understanding of formulas, patterns, and proofs, which in turn trains them in logical thinking and reduces the chances of emotionally charged reactions in the courtroom.
5. Legal History
Legal history – and history in general – can teach a lawyer a lot about how certain legislation and institutions:
· Function in practice
· Change over time
· Are influenced by political, economic, and social factors
By understanding the evolution of the rule of law, lawyers can start to envision new alternatives to existing precedents and influence the future rule of law for the better.
Lawyers draft contracts, court pleadings, and other legal correspondence daily.
To do so successfully, they must possess a thorough knowledge of not only general English but legal English as well.
Mastery of the English language will also aid lawyers in writing their law school admission essays and answering the questions on their bar exams.
7. Psychology and Philosophy
Lawyers with even just a basic knowledge of psychology are known to be better at interviewing witnesses and successfully settling negotiations.
This is because psychology teaches lawyers how to understand the behavior of others, making them good at successfully communicating with people who have different personalities and underdeveloped social skills.
As for philosophy, these courses can be especially helpful in developing sound legal reasoning and interpretation.
This way, when a lawyer presents a certain narrative to the judges, they’ll be able to give numerous reasons as to why such a narrative is relevant, correct, and fitting for the circumstances of the case.
8. Research and critical writing
Research and critical writing are essential for lawyers developing arguments for their cases and trying to demonstrate relationships between the ideas they’re presenting to the court.
In other words, these courses teach lawyers to build their arguments after careful evaluation of different angles of the case, instead of based on just their personal opinion.
As a result, judges may be inspired or influenced into making desired decisions by such argumentation.