Campbell offers two “pre-law” majors: Government/Pre-law and English/Pre-law. (Some students major in Criminal Justice as a preparation for law school, but it’s more clearly a pre-professional degree.) In the past, almost every time prospective students would visit campus, if they had indicated an interest in “pre-law,” they would be funneled willy-nilly to the History/Government orientation/advisement sessions. Occasionally, an English professor would go over to the History department and ask, “Is anyone here interested in English/Pre-law?” Now and then, one or two hands would go up—they didn’t realize they’d had a choice. Fortunately, things are done differently now.
The Princeton Review notes that law school doesn’t require a “pre-law” major for admission:
If you major in English [emphasis added] or history, you’ll still be on the right track. Crucial to a Pre-Law major are critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. After all, as a lawyer, your job will require drafting cogent arguments and solutions to problems, then communicating those arguments and solutions effectively to persuade and convince a judge or jury.
In fact, you can major in almost anything that includes these kinds of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills, and that will also provide you with a breadth and depth of knowledge you can apply to legal issues. The American Bar Association also notes the importance of general research skills and the ability to read and analyze lengthy, complex materials—for example, Victorian novels, the plays of William Shakespeare, or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Middle English.
One university with an entire college devoted to criminal justice recently realized that reviving its English major would give their students good value for money. One reason:
When the time comes to apply to law school, as nearly 30 percent of students there say they plan to do, what’s often missing is a record of analytic study, as honed through a series of literature and writing courses.
In short, one of the many, many things you can do with an English major is to go to law school. Once you do that, all the fun is over, but at least you will have enjoyed your undergraduate days. And perhaps, one day, you’ll write a novel like The Firm, make bazillion dollars, and leave the lawyers to fight it out while you go on to write best-sellers about how awful they are! (But note that John Grisham majored neither in English nor in Government before applying to law school: he was an accounting major!)