Berkeley offers an excellent undergraduate education in a wide variety of majors that prepare you for entry into law school.
Like most universities and colleges in the United States, Berkeley does not offer a major specifically called “pre-law” because law schools do not require any specific major for admission. Most law schools require a bachelor’s degree, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), strong letters of recommendation, and compelling personal insight questions for admission.
What should I major in at Berkeley, if I want to attend law school?
The most popular undergraduate majors of students admitted to law schools are political science, economics,business administration, history, English, and rhetoric. Most law schools give equal admission consideration to all academic disciplines because lawyers are needed in a wide variety of areas. This goal requires students with diverse academic backgrounds, but no matter what the field, all law students will need the skills mentioned above.
Does UC Berkeley have a law school?
Yes. The UC Berkeley School of Law (formerly known as Boalt Hall) is generally considered one of the top ten law schools in the United States. Admission to UC Berkeley School of Law is highly competitive. For further information, visit its website at: law.berkeley.edu
How do law schools decide which students they will admit?
Law schools look closely at five factors:
- College GPA. The higher your grades, the better. Grades can account for 30-40 percent (or even 50 percent) of the admission decision. The college you attended and the major in which you earned your degree often are taken into consideration, so attending Berkeley is an advantage. An excessive number of courses taken passed/not passed could work against you because law schools cannot interpret your accomplishments accurately. Many law school admissions officers assume that a GPA would be lower if all courses had been taken for a grade.
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The higher your score, the better. The current LSAT consists of three types of questions: reading comprehension to measure the ability to read with understanding and insight; analytical reasoning to measure the ability to understand a structure of relationships and to draw conclusions about that structure; and logical reasoning to evaluate the ability to understand, analyze, criticize, and complete a variety of arguments. The LSAT is given considerable weight, up to 50 percent (or even more) of the decision in the law school selection process.
- Personal insight questions. This is an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants and to explain your qualifications beyond what is revealed by your transcript and test scores.
- Letters of recommendation. Usually two or three are requested. It is your responsibility to develop relationships with two or three professors during your first three years in college so they can write strong, informative letters about you.
- Activities/work experience. Activities in which you have taken on responsibilities and demonstrated leadership are the most useful for admission purposes. It is better to concentrate on a few activities rather than spreading yourself too thin just so you can list many organizations on your resume. Responsibility is a plus in work experience, particularly paid or volunteer community or legal work experience.
Does UC Berkeley Law School give special preference to graduates of Berkeley?
While no special admission preference is given to graduates of UC Berkeley, the percentage of Berkeley applicants admitted to the law school is quite high. Over the last four years, UC Berkeley School of Law has been the second most popular destination for Cal graduates. (Hastings College of the Law is number one.)