The Pre-law Advisor

Last updated: September 11, 2017

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences seeks to offer aid to those undergraduates and graduates who have indicated an interest in attending law school and entering the legal profession. However, it should be understood that this aid is on a limited basis and that the student assumes primary responsibility for the process of selecting and applying to law schools. This office seeks to offer aid in four major ways:

Communication

The pre-law advisor receives various items of information from the law schools and talks frequently with deans and other admission officers. We shall through emails and individual conferences with students pass along this information as it comes through our office. The purpose of this is to help each student know the general situation in terms of various law school programs and admissions practices, and to help him or her realistically ascertain which schools should be considered.

Inviting Law School Representatives to Duke

In alternate years, when there is no Graduate or Professional School Day, the pre-law advisor invites law schools throughout the United States to send representatives to Duke during the fall semester. Not all of these schools send representatives, but a number do  come to our campus. It is of great benefit for pre-law students, especially senior applicants, to confer with these representatives. Appointments may be made in 04 Allen or by calling 684-2865. We will keep you informed as these representatives are scheduled.

General Advising

The pre-law advisor will be glad to hold individual conferences with pre-law students and offer advising about law schools. Since such advising is, of necessity, limited in scope, the student is urged to take advantage of all available resources in planning his of her law school career. For example The Official Guide To U.S. Law Schools published annually by the Law School Admission Council and the American Bar Association can offer useful information. Students can benefit also from meeting with the various representatives from other law schools as they visit our campus. In brief, every student should make use of the widest range of resources possible in planning his or her law school career.

Dean’s Forms/College Questionnaires

A number of schools require students to obtain a recommendation from a Dean/Prelaw Advisor. In general, the purpose of this is to obtain some comment from a person who has a view of the student's over-all record at the University. The pre-law advisor will write such a recommendation for you. If you wish the pre-law advisor to perform this service, please note the following:

  • Dean’s Forms/College Questionnaires should be brought/mailed to the Office of Pre-Law Advising as early as possible in the fall along with stamped envelopes addressed directly to the law schools.
  • All Deans Forms/College Questionnaires will be mailed directly to the school from this office;
  • Recommendations will be completed and mailed in order of their receipt in this office, but no recommendations will be sent for an individual student until his or her LSAT scores are available and the student has completed and filed in this office the Pre-law Information Sheet;
  • Recommendation forms contain a Buckley Amendment Waiver Form. Each student has a choice as to whether or not he or she will waive right of access to the recommendation. It is certainly everyone's privilege not to waive the right to read a letter of recommendation and anyone feeling strongly about the matter should not sign the waiver. To a number of schools, whether or not a student has signed the waiver makes no difference. On the other hand, some schools may discount the value of the recommendation if the waiver is not signed on theory that the writer may be less candid if he or she knows that it may be read by the student. This office recommends that, barring a strong reason otherwise, students waive their right of access. Dean Wilson will be glad to discuss this matter further with any applicant.

As we have noted, the scope of functions performed by the pre-law advisor is limited. He will, however, always be glad to receive suggestions as to how we may better serve the students in this capacity.

Return to Prelaw Handbook for Seniors