“The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.”
-Justice Oliver W. Holmes
How does one begin to prepare for a life in law? Preparing as an undergraduate can mean different things for different students. There is no required major, or course of study, that will best prepare you for success in law school or as a practicing attorney. But a judicious approach to the study of law now can provide experiences and build skills that are valued both in law students and attorneys: clear and persuasive communication, both in writing and in oral argument; strong analytical reading and writing skills; pragmatic and purposeful problem-solving; coalition building and leadership.
The information provided via links above can be a prudent starting point for thoughtful law school preparation. However, these are only guideposts and suggestions, *not* a required curriculum. Law Schools actually prefer to admit and teach students who bring with them a truly interdisciplinary skill set. Perhaps, most importantly, most of the application process depends on YOU: majoring in a subject you love to read, write and talk about; taking courses that best suit you and your goals; creating experiences in and out of the classroom that will prepare you for a life in law; and of course, achieving your best GPA and doing well on Law School entrance exams such as the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or GRE.
The links above and to the right are intended to provide helpful information to consider when exploring a legal career and applying to Law School. It is also strongly recommended that you make an appointment with Vanderbilt’s pre-law advisers, Professor Carrie Russell, JD, PhD (via Calendly) or Alex Rizzutto (via DoreWays), for individually tailored assistance.
Sign up for the Pre-Law listserv and join the Vanderbilt Pre-Law LinkedIn Group to receive the most up-to-date information about Vanderbilt's pre-law program and connect with alumni.
Send email with PRELAW in subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also visit list.vanderbilt.edu and search archives; go to page 20; and scroll to PRELAW.
You can join the Vanderbilt Pre-Law LinkedIn group by clicking here.
Meet the Pre-Law Advising Team
Dr. Carrie Archie Russell, Director of Pre-Law Advising
Carrie Russell earned her bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and her PhD from Vanderbilt University. She has served Vanderbilt in the roles of Program Director for the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Pre-major Academic Adviser for the College of Arts and Science and is currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Political Science. Carrie serves as a Vanderbilt Visions leader, faculty adviser for the Undergraduate Political Science Association and the Vanderbilt pre-law society and teaches Public Law and Public Policy courses as a Senior Lecturer. Before earning her PhD from Vanderbilt, Carrie worked as a Judicial Clerk for Davidson County Tennessee’s Twentieth Judicial District
Mr. Alex Rizzutto, Pre-Law Adviser
Alex Rizzutto earned his bachelor's degree in English: Professional Writing and his master's degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has served Vanderbilt in the roles of Career Coach and Employer Outreach Specialist for the Vanderbilt University Career Center.