Pre-Law Resources

Are you thinking about going to law school?

In recent years, University of Portland students have matriculated to excellent law schools throughout the US, including: Harvard, Berkeley, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Michigan, Virginia, UCLA, Texas, Arizona State, Boston University, Washington, Oregon, and many others. 

Choosing to go to law school is a big decision that must be well-informed.  If you are pondering a career in law, you will need to further educate yourself about law school and career paths for lawyers.  Here are a few good online resources to start with:

You should also consider making an appointment to see the University of Portland's Pre-Law Advisor, Dr. William M. Curtis, PhD, JD, Professor of Political Science & Global Affairs.

Pre-Law at UP

Check out Professor Curtis's "Pre-Law 101" handout covering basic information about what you should be doing as a pre-law undergraduate student at UP.

You may also want to look into UP's highly successful Mock Trial Team and UP's Pre-Law Society. 

UP also has a new, interdisciplinary Constitutional Studies Minor that should be of interest to students who are considering going to law school.

Applying to Law School

Unlike applications to college, law school applications across the nation do not open on a specific designated date. Some schools start accepting applications in August, others open applications in September or October. Applying early in the cycle is always preferable. See the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) excellent list of steps for applying to law school. Generally, you want to give yourself a year’s timeline in order to be ready to submit applications in November.


Because the LSAT is integral to the law school application process, if you are considering attending law school in the fall following graduation, you should start your preparation for the LSAT no later than spring of your junior year. The method of preparation you select will depend upon your unique personal circumstances, but you should not take the test without adequate preparation using either LSAC materials or reputable test preparation companies. Expect to devote no less than eight weeks to prepare. Plan to take it once; but take it early enough that you can take it a second time if something should go amiss with the first testing. LSAC advice on preparing for the LSAT.

Personal Statement

Although GPA and LSAT/GRE scores are critical, don’t assume the personal statement can just be thrown together! It could be the very document that wins you the admission over another candidate!

Recommendation Letters

Make it easy for your selected recommenders! Share your list of schools, why you are selecting those schools, your personal statement, and resume with them. Let them know which of your qualities you hope they will be able to speak to in their letter.

Financing Your Legal Education

Because the cost of a legal education can exceed $150,000, the expense of a law school education is a concern to anyone wishing to attend. All prospective law students must make the effort to understand clearly the entire cost of your law degree including tuition, housing, transportation, textbooks and other associated expenses. Here are some resources to help you think about the associated expenses and how to minimize your cost and debt for law school: