Man, when separated from law and justice, is the worst of all animals.Aristotle
But sir, How will you have righteousness and justice unless you first acquire a competent knowledge of the law by which justice is to be learned and known?Sir John Fortescue
In Praise of the Laws of England, 1468–1470
The science of law should, in some measure, and in some degree, be the study of every free citizen…The knowledge of those rational principles on which the law is founded ought, especially in a free government, to be diffused over the whole community.Supreme Court Justice James Wilson
Lectures on Law, 1790–1791
These quotes indicate what the Pre-Law Program at Emory & Henry is all about. We study the operations and functions of the legal system and the role of law in society. We examine the origins and growth of the law, the functions of law in the social and economic system, and the fundamental tenets of the Anglo-American legal system. We examine the role of the major institutions and participants in the legal process: the courts, legislatures, lawyers, the police and citizens. We conduct these discussions with an eye on the following set of propositions:
- The study of law helps overcome widespread ignorance and misinformation about subjects of the greatest political, economic and social importance.
- An understanding of law is essential to an understanding of the political values of American society, and it enriches not only the study of politics and the political system, but also other intellectual disciplines such as philosophy, history, economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
- The study of law can be an important means of developing the student’s sense of justice and capacity for responsible action and judgment.
Pre-Law at Emory & Henry is a program that complements your major while preparing you for focused legal study after graduation. Most Pre-law students major in political science with a second, complementary major. Second majors include economics, English, history, international studies, sociology, philosophy or psychology. The Pre-Law Program especially welcomes students interested in majoring or minoring in a natural science discipline as leading law schools often seek out students with science backgrounds.
Because Emory & Henry’s small classes allow for a participatory education, many of our pre-law courses focus on helping students develop their skills in presentation and oral argument. Our constitutional law courses are taught in a law school style Socratic method in which students are placed “on call” to answer questions about the legal issues in major cases about the landmark rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court. Our Moot Court culminates in oral arguments that are delivered directly to a panel of federal judges and practicing attorneys who evaluate students’ performance under pressure. We recommend that students take advanced courses on logical reasoning and argument and debate that are offered by our Philosophy Department.
Pre-Law Program Activities
The Dorothy Buck Boucher Pre-Law Program Endowment Fund was established in honor of Mrs. Boucher, a practicing attorney for more than 50 years and the first female graduate of Emory & Henry to study the law. Programs that are helped significantly by the endowment include the following:
- Annual Moot Court Competition. Every year, the department sponsors a moot court competition. Students argue cases before real federal and state judges. Winners of the E&H competition have gone on to win major law school contests.
- Pre-Law Internship Program. Our students obtain practical experience through competitive internship programs which place students in outstanding law firms and state and federal courts throughout Virginia and East Tennessee. Students work side by side with lawyers and judges in areas ranging from the family court to the federal district court and the Virginia Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Professional School Resource Library. Our resource library includes catalogs and sample applications for most American law schools, The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, and a sizable collection of law books, periodicals and LSAT prep guides.
- LSAT and Law School Application Workshops. We offer workshops to help students prepare for the Law School Admissions Test and to revise their personal statements. A high LSAT score and a strong personal statement are key elements in a successful law school application process, and we can help you target the schools you want to attend and to apply to them successfully.
- Honors Thesis Research and Travel. Outstanding pre-law students (with a 3.6 GPA or higher) participate in the Pre-Law Honors Thesis Program. Topics such as legal philosophy, civil rights, legal reasoning, law and literature, law and politics, and judicial biographies are addressed. These experiences enhance writing, thinking, and analysis; thesis projects serve as portfolios for students and increase chances for their success in law school admissions.
- Law School Forums. Held annually in various parts of the country and sponsored by the Law School Admissions Council, the forums are an invaluable source of information for pre-law students.
- Pre-Law Society. One of the best resources of the Pre-Law Program is the Emory & Henry Pre-Law Society. This student club sponsors and administers mock examinations in preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT); hosts events, lectures, and programs for pre-law students; and arranges for campus visits to regional law schools, as well as for visits to the Emory & Henry campus by admissions officers, professors, and deans of law schools. Pre-law students also are encouraged to participate in campus government, organizations, and clubs to become campus leaders.
Admissions to Law School
Emory & Henry students have an excellent record of gaining admissions to many of the nation’s top law schools. Consistently, 90 percent of all Emory & Henry students with overall GPAs of 3.3 and higher and strong LSAT scores are admitted to one or more law schools. Emory & Henry graduates have attended or have been admitted to such law schools as:
- University of Colorado
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Georgetown University
- University of Georgia
- New York University
- University of North Carolina
- University of Richmond
- Samford University
- University of Tennessee
- Vanderbilt University
- University of Virginia
- Wake Forest University
- Washington and Lee University
- College of William and Mary
- Yale Law School
Our pre-law advisors will help you put together an integrated program that teaches you the basics about the political and legal system, improves the skills that are necessary for success in law school, and prepares you for the application process. We have a proven record in graduating students who are prepared to excel at the best law schools in the country, and we can help you join their ranks.