Pre-Law Area of Study

Luther provides intellectually demanding courses as preparation for the study and practice of law.

If you want to take law-related courses, either to explore your interest in law or as preparation for law school, you can choose to take one or more of the following:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Business Law
  • Law and Economics
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Logic
  • Rhetoric

Luther also has an active Mock Trial team, which competes from the middle of the fall semester to early in the spring semester.

Even when considering the LSAT, the surest preparation for law school is to major in an area one enjoys and take intellectually challenging courses from many disciplines. Look for courses that will sharpen:

  • reading comprehension
  • writing
  • analytical skills

Most importantly, to quote the American Bar Association statement again, “taking difficult courses from demanding instructors is the best generic preparation for legal education.”

Explore the pre-law degree

Learn More about Studying Pre-Law at Luther

An Agreement with Drake and University of Iowa Law Schools

Luther has agreements with the law schools at Drake University and The University of Iowa that enable students to begin law school after the junior year. Students interested in this option can go through the regular law school application during their junior year and must be accepted by Drake or University of Iowa. If accepted, they will receive the B.A. degree from Luther after successfully completing the first year of law school. Students opting for this must have completed 96 credit hours at Luther, all of the general education requirements, and all of the requirements for the major prior to matriculating at the law school.

Check out the Drake University Law School newsletter for more info.

We believe that there are good reasons for doing the traditional four years at Luther prior to entering law school, but we also recognize that for some students this 3+3 approach makes sense. Students considering this option need to work closely with their academic advisor and either of the pre-law advisors (Steve Holland and Carly Hayden Foster).

Learn what a recent graduate says about the 3+3 Option

Luther College alum Eugene Nassif“The 3+3 program with Drake has been the best decision I’ve made for my education. I was able to shave a year off of college which helped me financially and allowed me to practice a year earlier.

I’m currently in my last year of law school. I’ve been clerking at Lamarca Law Group, PC in Des Moines for over a year. Prior to that, I was in the Iowa House as a legal clerk and the Governor’s office as a clerk. After I graduate, I’ll likely stay in Des Moines to practice.

Drake Law School has been wonderful. The professors are helpful and easy to talk to, much like they are at Luther. People are friendly and ideologically diverse. Unlike many other law schools, I really don’t feel like I am competing with my peers. If I need help, I can ask a fellow student. We also have weekly “bar review” events where we socialize. Overall, I feel like I’ve gotten a great education, and am well prepared to practice.”

—Eugene Nassif ’16

Luther graduates have had a high degree of success in gaining entrance to law school. While factors such as GPA and the LSAT score have a role in narrowing a student’s law school search, much of the decision has to do with personal preferences. These preferences may have to do with school location, prestige, program specifications, or placement for work after law school.

In talking with students about law school we tend to think of three levels:

  • Top Tier. Some students desire to attend a prestigious national law school, which would benefit those looking to practice at top law firms. In recent years Luther alumni have earned law degrees at University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Texas, NYU, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, and Harvard.
  • State Universities. Because the public law schools in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois have national reputations and are more affordable than the most prestigious private law schools, many Luther students prefer to stay home for law school. Also, for students looking to practice in the Midwest or work in firms nationally, an education at a state university has proven to be an effective option. In any given year there will be multiple Luther graduates studying at University of Minnesota, University of Iowa, and University of Wisconsin.
  • Regionally Acclaimed. In addition, we are fortunate to have a number of first-rate regional law schools located in the Midwest, which have served our graduates well. Regionally acclaimed law schools work well for students who wish to practice law in the Midwest. In recent years, Luther alumni have studied at Drake, Hamline, William Mitchell, St. Thomas, Loyola, Valparaiso, Ohio Northern, and Creighton.

In recent years more students have chosen not to go directly to law school. Some do a volunteer program for a short period of time and others work, sometimes for five to ten years, before continuing their legal education.  Not only is this a national trend, we think for those who are unsure of their career path or who want to take a break from intense studying, this can be a good choice.

No matter which path is taken to earn a law degree, Luther’s liberal arts education helps to prepare its students for each of these higher education paths. So whether one is looking to work in the nation’s capital, the Twin Cities, or the Quad cities, students are prepared for their continued education at each of the three types of schools that would take them there.

Law schools rely heavily on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in the admissions process. The test evaluates reading comprehension, critical-reasoning ability, and logical analysis. Luther is a recognized test center and offers the test in June, October, December, and February. Most students take the test either in June following their junior year or in October of the senior year. Because the test does not include substantive sections, there are no particular courses that students need to take in preparation for the test.

For general information about applying to graduate school, visit the Career Center website.

Delaney McMullan
The well-rounded curriculum provided by Luther is so beneficial. The credit requirements ensured that I strengthened everything from my writing and communication skills to my analytical skills. I’ve found them to be very useful in my first year of law school.
Delaney McMullan '14
Read Delaney's story