Pre-Law Programs

Pre-Law Programs

The challenge of a profession that has both an intellectual basis and a practical, real-world impact has been extraordinarily appealing to alumni of Fairfield University. Hundreds of men and women are enjoying challenging careers as judges, legal administrators, and lawyers specializing in:

  • Criminal justice
  • Corporate law
  • Environmental law
  • Other subfields of the legal profession

Your education at Fairfield in pre-law will prepare you to think logically, critically, and analytically, and to write and speak clearly and persuasively, while giving you the broad background of learning that is crucial to a lawyer's practice. The growing prestige of Fairfield University can be seen in the large numbers of Fairfield alumni who are accepted to the top law schools in the United States and who graduate from those schools with the highest honors. As a pre-law student at Fairfield, majoring in any field of study you wish, you will get the full benefit of the University's experience in educating for a career in the law.

 Pre-law students

Annual Law Day Luncheon and Celebration of the Class of 2018's Pre-Law Society graduating seniors.

Pre-Law - Academic Timeline

Freshman Year

  • Concentrate of attaining high grades in your University Core classes.
  • Develop good study habits.
  • Attend St. Robert Bellarmine Society Events.
  • Follow Pre-Law website for events and tips on applying to law school.

Sophomore Year

  • Continue your focus on getting high grades.
  • Carefully consider what you will major in and whether you will minor in a particular area.
  • Attend St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society Events.
  • Follow the Pre-Law website.
  • Consider taking an LSAT Prep Class whether you intend to take the LSATS or not.
  • Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor and Career Planning to discuss career options.

Junior Year

  • Start looking at what law schools you might be interested in attending.
  • Plan to attend the annual Law School Fair Law School Panel Discussion to get more information.
  • Think about what you might want to discuss in your personal statement that is part of your application.
  • Attend St. Robert Bellarmine Society Events.
  • Take the LSAT Prep Class during the Spring of your Junior year.
  • Plan to take the LSAT in June.

Senior Year

  • Narrow the list of law schools in which you are interested during the summer before you become a Senior.
  • Work on your Personal Statement and Application.
  • Line up your letters of recommendation from faculty members and others.
  • Have your application and supporting materials ready by late summer of your Senior year and apply as early as possible.
  • If you were unable to take the LSAT in June of your Junior year, plan to take the October exam in the fall of your Senior year. Apply as soon as possible after getting your scores.
  • Attend St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society Events.
  • Let the Pre-Law Advisor know of your progress in getting accepted. Other students will be anxious to learn from your experience!

Pre-Law - Alumni Law Schools

An important aim of a pre-law program is that its students gain admission to a law school of choice. Typically, law schools base admission on the student's grade point average, performance on the Law School Aptitude Test, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation. Fairfield graduates have been highly successful in gaining admission to law schools over the years.

‌The law schools to which Fairfield alumni were accepted in the past several years include:

  • Albany Law School
  • American University Washington College of Law
  • Benjamin Cardozo School of Law
  • Boston College Law School
  • Boston University School of Law
  • Brooklyn Law School
  • Columbia University School of Law
  • Duquesne University School of Law
  • Fordham University School of Law
  • George Washington University Law School
  • Hofstra Law School
  • New England School of Law
  • New York Law School
  • Pace University School of Law
  • Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Roger Williams University School of Law
  • Rutgers University School of Law
  • Seton Hall University School of Law
  • St. John's University Law School
  • Stetson University College of Law
  • Suffolk University Law School
  • Syracuse University College of Law
  • Touro Law School
  • University of Maine School of Law
  • University of Miami School of Law
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • University of Richmond School of Law
  • Widener University School of Law - Harrisburg PA
  • The College of William and Mary Law School
  • UCLA School of Law
  • University of Connecticut School of Law
  • Villanova University Law School

 

Learn more about how the University's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Pre-Law Program Application Information

Personal Statement

Do’s and Don’ts for Personal Statements

Many law schools require that applicants prepare a personal statement as part of the application process.

While some students believe that the GPA and LSAT scores are the most critical aspects of the application, the aspiring law students should NOT underestimate the importance of the personal statement. It can play a crucial role in determining a favorable admission decision.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ERRORS IN PERSONAL STATEMENTS?

  1. Failing to determine what the law schools you are applying to want in a personal statement. Some ask you to tell the school why you want to be a lawyer. Others may simply ask you to tell them something about your interests or experiences. A personal statement that might suit one law school may not be appropriate for another. Do not take shortcuts here. Pay close attention to the instructions.
  2. Careless grammatical errors, misspelled words, run on sentences, misuse of homonyms, etc. (“Peak” for “pique” or “peek” will harm your chance for acceptance). Your goal should be to prepare an error-free statement. Get a third party to read and critique it before you submit it.
  3. Making the statement too long. Two to three double-spaced pages is generally what the law schools require. 500 words. Two paragraphs is too short.
  4. Using the statement as a vehicle to attack something like the LSAT’S. There should be no bitter diatribes or negativity. Also, if you write about a person who has inspired you, you should not talk about him/her as much as about your reaction to that person. Avoid providing too much information about personal matters that may make the reader uncomfortable.
  5. Using gimmicks that you think will sway the admissions committee: Sending a DVD, photos, writing a sonnet, or using iambic pentameter will likely turn off the reader. Attempts at humor may fall flat. Do not try to be cute by writing in an extended metaphor.
  6. Getting a personal statement from the internet. Do not use a statement that was submitted by someone else. If the admissions committee uncovers evidence of plagiarism, your application will be rejected and the misconduct be reported to LSAC. Remember you aspire to be a member of the legal profession whose members are held to high ethical standards and who are officers of the court. 

Your personal statement is unique to you. It should be a vignette, an epiphany – an “aha” moment, or a slice of your life. If you have a passion for some causes or issue, tell the committee. Have you seen or lived an injustice? Your reaction reveals something about you. You are seeking to enter a profession where a certain amount of gravitas is expected.

There are two critical elements:
WHAT you write about and HOW you write it

You can write your way into law school with a thoughtful, well-planned and well-executed personal statement. A bad one can be a deal breaker.

Letter of Recommendation

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION TO SUPPORT YOUR APPLICATION TO LAW SCHOOL

Faculty or outside letters of recommendation are a key part of the law school application process. Most schools require at least two letters. Some will accept up to four. Here are some rules to follow in seeking and obtaining letters that will bolster your application.

1. Make an appointment to meet with the professor. Ask for the letter in person. Go to the professor’s office and pose two questions: 

  • a.)   “Do you have time to write a letter of recommendation for me?”
  • b.)   “Can you write a strong, positive letter for me?” 

If the would-be recommender hesitates to answer or answers “no,” find somebody else.

2. Do not email your request. Professors are bombarded daily by e-mails. They may read yours and may not remember you just from your name or class.

3. Seek out professors from whom you have taken more than one class or who have taught you in a smaller seminar or for whom you have done research. These instructors will likely know you best and can comment on your strengths and skills.

4. When you approach a professor for a letter, bring with you the following: 

  • a.)  Your resume
  • b.)  Your transcript highlighting the grades you earned in his/her course
  • c.)   A copy of a paper(s) you wrote in his/her class that garnered a high grade and favorable comments
  • d.)  A brief statement about why you want to study law. 

5. Tell the professor that the letter you are seeking should address the following:

  • a.)   Your intellectual acumen
  • b.)   Your writing skills
  • c.)   Your critical thinking skills
  • d.)   Your public speaking skills
  • e.)   Your work ethic

6. A letter addressing all of the above should be at least two pages long.

  1. Give the professor enough time to prepare the letter. Asking a professor to write with only a few days’ notice is an imposition. Notify him/her at least 30 days prior to the due date. Inform him/her that he/she will be receiving a form from LSAC with instructions for submission.
  2. Two weeks later, follow-up to make sure the recommender has heard from LSAC and remind him/her of the due date. Missing letters mean that your file is incomplete and not ready for consideration. 

The LSAT

1. When is the LSAT offered?
The four-hour exam is given four times a year: February, June, October, and December. Plan to register at least one month before the test date.

2. When should I take the exam?
The Pre-Law Program at Fairfield recommends that students take the exam in June of the Junior year. Seniors who plan to take a year off before attending law school could take the exam then as well.

3.Why June?
Most schools have rolling admissions. The earlier you apply the better your chances of getting accepted.

4. Can I take the exam more than once?
Yes, but the Pre-Law Program recommends that students take the LSAT once. Schools will average the scores on multiple exams.

5. Should I take a prep course?
Yes, the LSAT is a demanding test. Advance preparation is essential to success. The Pre-Law Program recommends that students take a several weeks long prep course in advance of the test date. The Program can make arrangements for a live as well as video/online prep program.

6. What is considered a high LSAT score?
160+

7. How important is the LSAT score?
Critically important if you aspire to attend a top tier law school.

Pre-Law - Course of Study

There is no required major for law school. As a pre-law student, you should select challenging courses that require you to think critically and read analytically.

Fairfield offers a minor in business law and ethics. The following are a list of undergraduate courses related to law, some of which are offered every semester others are offered once a year or less.

  1. American Constitution I and II
  2. Philosophy of Law
  3. Supreme Court I and II
  4. Psychology and Law
  5. Criminology
  6. Sociology of Law
  7. Legal Environment of Business
  8. Law of Business Organization and Financial Transactions
  9. The Law of Contracts, Property and Sales
  10. Employment Law and Discrimination in the Workplace
  11. International Business Law
  12. Environmental Law and Policy

Pre-Law Program FAQs

What major should I choose if I am planning to go to law school?
There is no required major for law school. Students major in areas as diverse as History, Politics, English, and Psychology, as well as Accounting and Nursing.

Should I plan to take a law course while I am at Fairfield?
Taking a course in law is not necessary, but doing so might help you decide if law is a field that you are interested in pursuing. If you discover that you do not like it, you can save yourself time and money in application and LSAT prep fees!

What are the requirements for being admitted to law school?
Concentrate on attaining as high a grade point average as possible, garner a high score on the LSATS, and carefully prepare the personal statement that will accompany your application.

What kind of skills do I need to be successful in law school?
Excellent reading and writing skills are essential to success in law school and beyond. The ability to speak confidently in public and to think critically are invaluable. Only those with a strong work ethic need apply. You should spend your undergraduate career acquiring and honing these skills to prepare yourself for a law career.

Since the economic downturn, are there jobs available for law school graduates?
Yes. Law as a profession can provide an entry into a variety of lucrative careers including private law practice, or work in government agencies and non-profit organizations. Lawyers can be found among the ranks of lobbyists as well as the media and many others.

What else do I need to know?
Any student who aspires to go to law school should have a clean criminal record. Also, one should avoid indiscreet postings on Facebook or other social media that may reflect badly on you and undermine your case for admission.

How can I get help if I decide to apply to law school?
The Pre-Law Advisor and the Career Planning Center are ready and willing to answer questions about law school applications and guide you through the process.

Dr. Gwendoline Alphonso, Director, Pre-Law Advising Program and Associate Professor, Department of Politics
Susanne Quinlivan, Associate Director, Career Planning Center

 

Pre-law mentoring program

Attending law school is not a decision one should make without careful research and discernment.  The St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society works to promote alumni mentoring particularly with recent alumni currently attending law school to help students get acquainted with the law school programs and the demands. 

The following alumni have volunteered to serve as a resource to students considering law school. We greatly appreciate their willingness to support the St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society in assisting current students. 

Kevin Ashe '11
University of California Hastings College of the Law

Bridget Butterworth '13
Boston College Law School

Michael Callahan '12
Suffolk University Law School

Greg Chase '13
University of Connecticut School of Law

Ryan Daly '14
Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana

Xavier Francis '13
George Washington University Law School            

Jordan Freeman '13
Western New England School of Law

Rob Vogel '13
St. John's University School of Law

Kirsten Yerger '14
Pace University School of Law

Laura Zervoudakis '14
Brooklyn Law School 

If you're a Fairfield alumni currently attending law school and interested in volunteering as a mentor for current students contact:

Dr. Gwendoline Alphonso, Director, Pre-Law Advising Program and Associate Professor, Department of Politics or
Sue Quinlivan, Associate Director, Career Planning Center

St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society

Join the St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society

The St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society is open to all undergraduate students interested in a law career. If you are considering law school you are encouraged to join. There will also be sessions offered on how to prepare your Personal Statement and about LSAT Prep Courses.

Members will have access to regularly scheduled events during the academic year including the Law School Fair and Law School Admissions Panel Discussions. Guest Speakers are often recent Fairfield University alumni who are attending or have attended law school and have embarked on careers in law. Members will have the opportunity to establish relationships with alumni attorneys and obtain internships. There will also be sessions offered on how to prepare your Personal Statement and LSAT Prep Courses.

Mission Statement of the St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society:

  • To involve students from their arrival at Fairfield as freshmen through senior year in events that promotes their interest in a law career.
  • To establish connections between lawyer alumni and students.
  • To provide assistance to students in preparing their applications to law school.
  • To advise student about the availability of programs supported by the University to aid in their preparation for the LSATS and to arrange for their participation.

To join, contact Dr. Gwendoline Alphonso, Director, Pre-Law Advising Program and Associate Professor, Department of Politics at galphonso@fairfield.edu or ext. 2836. Obtain your membership card from Career Planning in the Kelley Center, which will admit you to Bellarmine Society events.

About Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)
Saint Robert Bellarmine was an Italian theologian, cardinal, Doctor of the Church, and a principal influence in the Counter Reformation. His full name was Robert Francesco Romolo Bellarmino. He joined the Jesuits (1560) and taught at Louvain (1569-76) and at the Roman College (1576). In 1599 he was made cardinal and from 1601 to 1605 he was archbishop of Capua. His theological works (in Latin) were polemical and widely noticed. His three-volume Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei (1586-93), the most lucid modern exposition of Catholic doctrine, called forth many Protestant replies. As Jesuits nearly always were, Cardinal Bellarmine was uncompromisingly ultramontane. He was an admirer of Galileo and a moderating influence at his trial. His devotional works have been translated frequently into English. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1930 and declared him a Doctor of the Church the following year. His feast day is May 13.

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