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Law and Social Thought and a "Pre-Law" Education
The word "pre-law" means that a student is interested in post-baccalaureate study in law school. At the University of Toledo, it is also an official designation within the College of Arts and Sciences. This designation certifies that a student graduating as a pre-law student from our institution has satisfied a rigorous program in the liberal arts that we maintain is crucial for critical engagement with the law and success in law school. LST is not the only way to pursue a pre-law career. Indeed, there are no curricular requirements associated with a pre-law degree, other than that one satisfy the Arts and Sciences distributive requirements. This means that pre-law must ALWAYS be combined with another traditional major in the College (English, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, Economics, Communication, History, Psychology, and so on) or an interdisciplinary major (LST, American Studies, Africana Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, etc.). Students from other colleges at the University must satisfy A&S's distributive requirements to be designated as a pre-law student. For more on pre-law at UT, consult the Pre-Law website.
There can be little question that the pursuit of a well-rounded education is the best path to post-baccalaureate study. Medical schools have rather well worked out requirements for admission, but there is no parallel in the world of legal education. Indeed, the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Schools are consistent in their recommendation that no specific `pre-law' course of study will enhance a student's chances of gaining admission to law school. Rather, both organizations emphasize the acquisition and development of analytic and problem solving skills, critical reading abilities, and a high level of competence at written communication.
The Law and Social Thought major is uniquely suited to meet these requirements. The major will expose students to that legal vocabulary that is so integral to an understanding of predominant legal ideas and institutions. Our graduates will be well-suited to succeed in the all-important first year of professional legal training. We reject a purely instrumental pre-professionalism, but we do not object when students contemplating a career in law find the Law and Social Thought major attractive. These students might turn out to be different and better kinds of law students and, ultimately, better lawyers as well. They would be, we hope, insightful, creative, and humane readers of legal materials and sensitive to law's power and limitations.