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    Dr. Bruce Antkowiak
    Professor of Law
    Phone: 724-805-2940



Home > Majors and Programs > Pre-Law
  • The Right Focus

    If the law is your vocation, the realities you face require that you focus on the critical moment that lies before you. That moment is not the date on which you are admitted to a law school; rather, it is the date on which you enter the profession as a practicing lawyer.

    To make that date come to pass as soon as possible after you complete law school, you must begin now to focus on these two goals:

    1. Attending a law school that excels at preparing students for the practice of law; and, 
    2. Becoming a multidimensional person who will stand out in a crowded field of law graduates applying for the legal positions then available.

    There are three important ways in which Saint Vincent can help you achieve these goals.

    An Undergraduate Curriculum To Ready You For Law School

    While individual courses in logic, advanced writing and principles of the judicial process will help acclimate you to the legal system and prepare you for the important LSAT exam, recognize this truth: there is no one major in college that best prepares you for law school or best positions you to be accepted by law schools you will want to attend.

    Each of the four schools at Saint Vincent can help you fashion an undergraduate curriculum that will make you a desired candidate for law school and prepare you to succeed in any law school program. These curriculum options will allow you to exhibit a rigorous work ethic and the necessary level of competence in the areas most critical to success in the study and practice of law:

    • your capacity to synthesize a large body of material; 
    • your skill in analyzing that material to discern the key principles that will lead to a strategy to resolve the problem the material presents; and,
    • your ability to advocate that strategy with force and clarity. 

    From the Dean of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government
    The Politics major is ideal for students planning to attend law school. According to the American Bar Association, an effective pre-law education involves critical thinking about important issues, close reading of complex texts, and fluency in written and oral English. Knowledge of political thought and American institutions is also recommended. All of these are required by the Politics major, which concentrates on the study of American political thought and politics, as well as Western political philosophy. The Politics major emphasizes a close reading of primary sources, including the Great Books of Western civilization. By doing so, it helps students develop critical reading, writing, analytical and oral skills. In addition, the Politics Department is closely associated with the college’s Law Society and Mock Trial Team, as well as its nationally renowned Center for Political and Economic Thought, which introduces students to some of the nation’s most prominent scholars in law, politics, and public policy.

    From the Dean of the School of Humanities and Fine Arts
    The School of Humanities and Fines Arts provides an excellent foundation for a career in law. Any academic major is an appropriate preparation for admission into law school, and the major fields in the School of Humanities and Fine Arts—English, History, Liberal Arts, Modern and Classical Languages, Music, Philosophy, Theology, and Visual Arts—equip the pre-law student with the necessary analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills which are essential for admission and success at law schools. Our graduates have been accepted into top tier schools, and as lawyers they are pursuing successful and fulfilling careers in all areas of the legal profession. We advise our majors interested in law to become involved with the College’s Pre-Law Program, explore legal internships, and work closely with the our alumni who are in the legal profession. The School of Humanities and Fines has an advisory Council to assist the School Dean and the faculty, and two lawyers and a federal judge are members. They have volunteered to meet and advise any student interested in law. The contact person for any student interested in pre-law studies at Saint College and who wants to pursue a major in the School of Humanities and Fine Arts is Fr. Rene Kollar, O.S.B., Ph. D., Dean School of Humanities and Fine Arts.

    From the Dean of School of Social Sciences, Communication, and Education
    In the School of Social Sciences, Communication, and Education, we have several majors that have traditionally been successful in preparing students for law school: Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, and Communication. These majors emphasize rigorous reading and writing in addition to methods of investigation and exploration that lead to clearer understandings of human and societal motivations and actions. Our new major in Criminology, Law, and Society provides a more focused curriculum in areas related to law and may provide insight to students who desire to know more about the nation’s law enforcement system. In recent years, a growing interest in education law has prompted law schools to seek applicants with a background in educational issues. Ideally, a student in our School would declare one of these majors and also sample broadly from offerings in the other disciplines. For instance, a Psychology major may be advised to take several courses in Criminology, Sociology, and Communication; an Education major may be encouraged to take classes in Psychology, Communication, Sociology, and Criminology. In addition, courses outside the School may also be recommended: advanced writing courses, accounting, and ethics, for instance. The advice would center upon the student’s strengths and interests as related to the study of law. Our goal is to tailor a curriculum that provides each student with an area of expertise and insight that will serve as the best preparation not only for law school admission but, more importantly, for a successful and productive career in law.

    From the Dean of The Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing
    Earning a baccalaureate degree in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing can be a wonderful starting point for a student with aspirations for a career in the field of law. The programs of study found in the Boyer School provide the graduate with a strong foundation in problem solving that can be useful in many areas of law. While it is certainly true that an undergraduate degree in an area of science provides a solid foundation that can be used in applying to law schools it is also true that certain science disciplines are particularly suited as preparation for careers in patent law. A more complete list of science and technical degrees suitable for a career in patent law (including Biology which is offered at St. Vincent) can be found at this site of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

    The complete list of undergraduate degrees available in the Herbert W. Boyer School can be found at http://www.stvincent.edu/Majors_and_Programs/Schools/Herbert_W__Boyer_School_of_Natural_Sciences,_Mathematics,_and_Computing/Our_Programs.

    A Liberal Arts Curriculum That Will Make You Stand Out

    Our liberal arts approach will help you become a multidimensional person who will stand out as a candidate for legal positions when that critical time comes.

    The job market for law school graduates is very difficult. When you seek your first legal position, you will need more than just a credible record of achievement in law school. You will need to exhibit an extra dimension that demonstrates that you are ready to begin promptly to be a productive member of the legal profession.

    That dimension could be an in-depth understanding of business, government, or the court system, fluency in multiple languages, advanced skill in writing or oral advocacy, or expertise in a field of science or technology. Our strong liberal arts curriculum will help you find new dimensions and enhance them into skills that will give you an edge in the competitive market that awaits you.

    A Supportive Community

    The community at Saint Vincent supports those who seek their vocation in the law through active student and alumni Pre-Law organizations that sponsor mentoring programs, raise money to lessen the cost of LSAT prep courses, and support our excellent Mock Trial Team. Our Career Center makes the process of applying to law schools effective and efficient, and our pre-law advisor is available to students in any major for advice and counseling on the many decisions that have to be made in pursuing a career in the law.

    A special level of support is offered to students who achieve recognition as a Saint Vincent Law Scholar. The Deans of the four schools and the pre-law advisor will identify truly exceptional candidates and certify to the law schools that they have demonstrated the academic and ethical attributes necessary to meet the highest standards of law school study and the practice of law that lies beyond it.

    The process of becoming a lawyer begins in college. Beginning that process at Saint Vincent means coming to a place that is committed to giving you the foundation to pursue a true vocation as an advocate for justice. The world needs those advocates now, perhaps more than ever. We will be with you at each step if that is the road you choose.

    Law Scholar Program