Overview

The Division of Social Sciences offers a rigorous and challenging Minor in Pre-Law. It is designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge, critical thinking skills, and ethical framework essential not only for successful entry into the legal field, but also for informed and socially responsible citizenship.

More specifically, the Pre-Law Minor is intended to assure an advantage to Tougaloo students who plan to attend law school by focusing on coursework that emphasizes skills necessary for success in the first year of law school and beyond: legal writing and research, case briefing and legal analysis, and learning how to prepare for and take the law school exam.  In other words, the new pre-law minor takes a strategic and targeted approach to ensuring that any gap in knowledge and skills necessary for success in law school for Tougaloo graduates is closed; and they enter law school ready to succeed on day one.

While there is no specific course of study required for law school admission, as all law schools emphasize the value of excellent reading comprehension, analytical reasoning skills, and a solid command of written English, it is important that those foundational skills be taken to the next level to encompass the academic rigor and legal aptitude that is unique to the law school experience. Law students transitioning from college often find themselves trying to navigate their law school experience first year without any idea as to whether or not their approach to law school will ensure their success first year. We intend to change that dynamic with this new pre-law minor. That is why completion of the Pre-Law Minor will be mandatory for all participants in the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Program.

Requirements

Students must fill out a minor request form to declare the minor. Eighteen (18) hours of credit are required to earn the distinction of a Pre-Law Minor, comprised of the following courses:

  • Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, and Analysis I (3) POL 345 -- Offered Fall Semester
  • Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, and Analysis II (3) POL 346 -  Offered Spring Semester
  • Survey of Civil Law I: Preparing for Law School (3) POL 347 - Offered Fall Semester
  • Survey of Civil Law II: Preparing for the Bar Exam (3) POL 348 - Offered Spring Semester
  • Introduction to the Bill of Rights, Criminal Law, & Constitutional Theory (3) POL 349 - Offered
  • Spring Semester
  • Legal Writing & Research (3) POL 435 - Offered Fall Semester
  • Pre-Law Seminar: LSAT Preparation & the Law School Admissions Process (3) POL 344 -  Offered Spring Semester (for Juniors)
  • Advanced Legal Writing & Legal Analysis for Law School (3) POL 439 -  Offered Spring Semester (for Seniors)

 

Eligibility for the new Pre-Law Minor will take effect during the fall of the 2020-21 school year with the incoming freshman and sophomore classes. Juniors and Seniors who are subject to the previous 18-hour Pre-Law Minor requirement will be able to enroll in these courses to complete that requirement pending approval of the Pre-Law Director. All credits must be taken at Tougaloo College, unless this requirement is specifically waived by the Director of the Pre-Law Program and approved by the appropriate College personnel.

Students are also encouraged, but not required to take Labor Law Practicum, Mock Trial I and II, and Legal Environment of Business.

Students must earn at least a “C” (2.00) average in all courses counted for the Pre-Law Minor and Post-Baccalaureate Program.

Students must maintain a professional dress code and adhere to standards of ethics, morality, and conduct as delineated by the Director of the Pre-Law Program and the highest principles of the Tougaloo tradition excellence so as to replicate that which is widely and commonly expected of Tougaloo students. The dress and conduct code will respect various cultural viewpoints.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, & Analysis  I (POL 345)

This is a seminar course that will serve as an introduction to foundational skills necessary for mastery of the first year of law school - basic legal vocabulary and nomenclature, understanding court systems and basic rules of civil procedure, how to approach law school strategically, developing a law school work plan, learning Socratic Method, learning how to study and outlining, and learning how to take the law school exam. Offered fall semester. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, & Analysis  II (POL 346)

This second part of a two-semester sequence will be a continuation of foundational skills necessary for mastery of the first year of law school with an emphasis on the case method and legal analysis  - an introduction to the case method, case briefing and analysis, the ability to critically read, analyze, and study cases, issue-spotting in cases as a skills set, thinking like a lawyer, and learning how to take the law school exam. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning & Analysis I. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Suvey of Civil Law I: Preparing for Law School (POL 347)

This course will serve as introduction to the civil law courses required for first year law student. This course will provide a brief overview of the first-year law school doctrinal, civil courses of property, torts, and contracts with emphasis on writing, analysis, case briefing, and other legal skills. This course will ultimately serve as a vehicle for furthering their ability to read cases closely and for a purpose, discover rules, understand the reason for a court’s holding, brief cases, and synthesize rules. The students would complete the courses with a basic understanding of how civil law is categorized and organized and sharpen skills fundamental to law school success. It will also serve as a review from skills from Intro. to Law courses.  Prerequisites: Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, & Analysis I &II. Offered fall semester. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Survey of Civil Law II: Preparing for the Bar Exam (POL 348)

The second part of this two-semester sequence will be a continuation of foundational skills necessary for mastery of the first year of law school and beyond through a brief overview of advanced doctrinal, civil law school courses that would prepare law students to take the Bar exam upon graduation.  The course will be a complete simulation of standard law school courses – with use of the Socratic method and with only one comprehensive, three-hour final exam at the end of the course. Students would be responsible for reviewing and briefing cases and materials as well as preparing an outline for the class based on skills learned from prior pre-law courses. Offered spring semester.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, & Analysis I ⅈ Survey of Civil Law I. Offered spring semester. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Introduction to the Bill of Rights, Criminal Law, & Constitutional Theory (POL 349)

This course introduces students to constitutional theory and precedent through the lens of criminal law and procedure. The course will place a major emphasis on civil rights cases involving criminal matters, with focus on the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and the constitutional rights of the individual, including the rights of the accused. The course would provide a simulation of the traditional first-year law school classes of constitutional law and criminal law and would be taught like a conventional law-school class: Socratic Method with one exam at the end. Prerequisites: Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, & Analysis I & II. Offered spring semester. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Pre-Law Seminar: LSAT Prep and the Law Schools Admissions Process (POL 344)

This course would be a mandatory workshop course for all junior participants in the Pre-Law program. The course will allow students to develop a clear understanding of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the overall law school admissions process, including its purpose and components, improve existing reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, writing, and logical analysis skills in preparation for the LSAT course, and build awareness of social emotional skills, including self-management, self-awareness, and a growth mindset for students to successfully approach the LSAT and the overall law school admissions process. Junior will complete this course ready to take the LSAT and submit their law school applications by the early fall of their senior year. Offered summer and spring semesters. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Legal Writing & Research (POL 435)

This course provides development of skills in analysis, writing, and research in the context of writing legal, predictive memoranda. Additionally, the course will provide an introduction to the sources of law in the American legal system, the legal research process, and specific instruction in finding and analyzing primary and secondary source materials in order to research and complete the legal memoranda. Students build from every exercise applying a rule to a short set of facts to synthesizing and applying complex rules to more extensive fact patterns. Offered fall semester. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Advanced Legal Writing and Legal Analysis for Law School (POL 439)

This course will be a specialized, mandatory survey course for senior law school applicants to provide them with the foundational skills for legal writing (including the required, first-year legal writing course as well as legal writing for the law school exam) in their first year of law school.  It will begin with the learning how to “think like a lawyer.” They will then start the process of learning how to write about the law clearly, concisely, and correctly.  The course will also introduce students to the rigor of law school courses that will ultimately serve to ensure their successful completion of first year-law school. Prerequisites: Legal Writing & Research. Offered spring semester. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

 

Suggested Course Sequence:

Freshperson (Honors or Accelerated Track Students)

Fall Semester

POL 345 - Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, and Analysis I

Spring Semester

POL 346 - Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, and Analysis II

Sophomore

Fall Semester

POL 347 - Survey of Civil Law I: Preparing for Law School

Spring Semester

POL 348 - Survey of Civil Law II: Preparing for the Bar Exam

Junior

Spring Semester

POL 349 - Introduction to the Bill of Rights, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Theory

Spring Semester

POL 344 - Pre-Law Seminar: LSAT Prep and the Law Schools Admissions Process

Senior

Fall Semester

POL 435 - Legal Writing and Research

Spring Semester

POL 439 – Advanced Legal Writing & Legal Analysis for Law School

Sophomore (Non-accelerated Track)

Fall Semester

POL 345 - Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, and Analysis I

Spring Semester

POL 346 - Introduction to Law, Legal Reasoning, and Analysis II

Junior

Fall Semester

POL 347 - Survey of Civil Law I: Preparing for Law School

Spring Semester

POL 344 - Pre-Law Seminar: LSAT Prep and the Law Schools Admissions Process

POL 348 - Survey of Civil Law II: Preparing for the Bar Exam

Senior

Fall Semester

POL 435 - Legal Writing and Research

Spring Semester

POL 439 – Advanced Legal Writing & Legal Analysis for Law School

POL 349 - Introduction to the Bill of Rights, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Theory

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Pre-Law Minor, in addition to being prepared to enter first year of law school, equipped with foundational skills for proficiency in the first year and beyond, will develop a deeper understanding of how law and legal systems intersect with the everyday lives of ordinary people, especially in terms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation. Students will also develop a deeper awareness of how law and legal systems intersect with systems of power and privilege. In the process, students will demonstrate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills that enable empathetic and critical communication and advocacy. Such skills will include the ability to observe and make fine distinctions, ask relevant questions, explore significant information, and analyze divergent points of view with clarity and conscience.

Where To Go For More Information

A student considering law school or the Pre-Law Minor should seek advice from the Pre-Law Director in the Division of Social Sciences. Tougaloo College’s Pre-Law Director is Attorney Julian D. Miller, Esq. and the Pre-Law Advisor is Dr. Charles Holmes. Both Attorney Miller and Dr. Holmes welcome questions and can be reached at 601-977-6154 or via email at jdmiller@tougaloo.edu.

Program Contact

Julian D. Miller, Esq.
Director/ Assistant Professor of Political Science
Reuban V. Anderson Pre-Law Director

   601-977-6154
   jdmiller@tougualoo.edu