Overview of Program
The Legal Studies Program of SUU is part of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice but works with students from all majors who have an interest in a future career in law as an attorney or paralegal. It is overseen by the Undergraduate Legal Studies Director who also acts as the university’s Pre-Law Advisor.
The mission of the Undergraduate Legal Studies Program is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to work effectively, competently, ethically, and successfully as legal professionals in a law office/firm, corporation/business entity, government agency, or the public sector, as well to support students in seeking their goals of attending law school and becoming attorneys.
Southern Utah University offers many programs for students interested in careers in law. Such careers include attorney, paralegal, court personnel, and arbitrators.
There is no established major for pre-law students. However, it is suggested that the pre-law student choose a major which interests him/her and supplement this curriculum with as many courses from other areas as possible. In addition to this, the pre-law student should read widely in areas outside the major. Developing the ability to teach oneself will be essential throughout one’s career.
Curriculum guidance is readily available and students considering entering the legal profession are urged to consult with a pre-law advisor early in their undergraduate career.
Legal Studies Coursework
SUU offers an A.A./A.S. in Legal Studies and a minor in Legal Studies for students interested in learning more about the law and/or entering a legal profession. Note: The educational standard for work as a paralegal or legal assistant is an associate’s degree. Student wishing to attend law school must first earn a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
Students interested in attending law school are especially encouraged to work with a pre-law advisor and become involved in the Legal Scholars Program. The student’s undergraduate GPA and his/her score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) are the primary factors on which law school admission decisions are based. Although other matters such as work experience, community service, personal statement, resume, recommendations, and leadership experience are also considered by law school selection committees, the importance of these two factors cannot be overestimated.
Good grades are essential to those interested in being accepted at a well-regarded school. However, it should be clear that one does not benefit from being so grade-conscious that the major criterion for course selection becomes the likelihood of receiving an “A.” Challenging, thought-provoking courses are the best way to prepare for the LSAT, for success in law school, and as a member of the legal profession.
The LSAT is the second major factor considered by law schools in determining admissibility. The test measures abilities and skills related to problem identification, analysis, logical reasoning, and reading. The LSAT includes a written essay, copies of which will be sent to individual law schools to enable them to evaluate a candidate’s writing ability.
Legal Scholars Program
Students who wish to pursue a legal career should become part of the Legal Scholars Program at SUU. This program includes the following events and activities to support their interest in law:
- Enhanced advising
- LSAT study programs
- Law-related volunteer/internship opportunities
- Field trips to courts, law firms, and law libraries
- Law school visits and fairs
- Law school admissions workshops
- Leadership opportunities through the Legal Studies Student Association
- Assistance with resume & personal statement writing
- Presentations from law school representative and practicing attorneys
- Intramural Mock Trial Competition
- Purple Cord Society to recognize graduating scholars
- Study abroad opportunities