Choosing a Major

Your goal should be to find a law program that embraces your values, will provide a positive learning environment, and prepare you to practice law to the best of your abilities. Investigate as many programs as possible, make contacts with their admissions officers, faculty, and even alumni to get an understanding of the school beyond what their web sites tell you. You want a satisfactory law school experience, and this starts with you taking charge of this process.

How do I find a major that is right for me?

DISCOVERY! will help you find your direction to an amazing university experience, an on-time graduation, and a future career field that will be fulfilling and rewarding. If you are a PLAW student, you are already in the DISCOVERY! process by design. Good decision. The advisors of the Texas Tech University Advising Center will guide you through the process of learning about yourself and your options, so that you can be confident in the "major" decision that you make.

If you are a prospective student, or are a current student at Texas Tech who is questioning the major that you have declared, don't worry. DISCOVERY! is for all students at Texas Tech, and we even meet with prospective students to help in the process before you become a Red Raider.

Get started with DISCOVERY!

Can I graduate with a degree in Prelaw?

No. Prelaw is a designation to prepare you for attending law school including the process of submitting applications and preparing for the LSAT, but it is not a degree track. You must select an academic major leading to a bachelor's degree.

What majors will help me get into law school?

Law schools want students from any and every major. When selecting a major, choose one that suits your interests and strengths. Choose a major that will provide you with the undergraduate education and experience you want and one which suits you academically. These two things do not always coincide. It is possible to do well academically in an area of study and not enjoy the subject. It is equally possible to enjoy studying the subject matter, but not do well academically.

Explore Majors and Law Schools

Law studies can encompass a wide range of specialty areas. A specialization in a legal field is not required before applying to a law school, however, if you are sure of the type of law you want to practice, find a school with a concentration or clinic in that area. The fields of law we have identified is comprehensive, but is by no means a complete listing of all legal specialties. We want you to consider the possibilities as you investigate legal studies. Regardless of your academic classification, with your current undergraduate major, you can find a legal specialization to best utilize your interest.

Under each of the headings on the right you will find a description of the specialty area, Texas Tech University majors and specializations that support a post-graduate education in the law specialty, and law schools with an emphasis in the particular area. Click on each heading to reveal and hide the supporting information.

Admiralty/Coastal/Maritime/Ocean Law

Admiralty, or Maritime law, focuses on the governance of navigation and shipping on the water and is distinctly separate from any other body of law. The Admiralty and Maritime jurisdiction extends to any events occurring at sea and is vested in the Constitution in Article III Section 2. The United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea gave a legal framework in regulating its use with regard to issues such as ocean resources, establishment of economic zones, marine research, and preservation of the marine environment. Our economy is dependent on the transportation of goods and services through our nations’ ports and via our waterways. The waterways are not only the ocean, but also, gulfs, bays, rivers or other inland waters. Focus areas include shipping, navigation, waters, commerce, seamen, towage, wharves, piers, and docks, insurance, maritime liens, canals, and recreational boating.

Aging/Elder Care Law

During this past century, the human life span has increased nearly 30 years. As the average age of our population increases, so will the need for legal professionals adept at understanding laws that impact elder clients. Some common issues include long-term care, estate planning, health initiatives, federal and state legislation and programs geared toward the elderly. Employment opportunities may be available with government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration on Aging, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability, public interest groups such as the American Association of Retired Persons, insurance providers, and in private practice.

Agricultural Law

Agricultural law covers issues regarding the US system of food delivery including growth, manufacture, transportation and delivery. This can include biotechnology, environmental regulations, international trade, animal health and food safety. In addition to food, other agricultural issues include plant, environment, and land use policy. Knowledge of intellectual property, transportation, economics, taxation, and finance can be useful as well. Employment opportunities can be found in government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Texas Department of Agriculture, grain exporters and manufacturers, food producers, and in private practice.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Agricultural and Applied Economics/General Business
  • Agricultural Communications
  • Agronomy
  • Animal Science
  • Economics
  • Environmental Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Finance
  • Food Technology
  • Horticulture
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine
  • Range Management
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Management

Law Schools with this Specialization

Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration and Mediation

Alternative Dispute Resolution, commonly referred to as ADR, is a method for solving civil disagreements without the use of a trial. This has relieved some of the burden of the civil court system as some states have instituted required ADR before a case is allowed into a trial. For example, in 1987 Texas adopted the Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures Act that provided a framework for settling civil disputes. These methods include mediation, mini-trial, moderated settlement conference, summary jury trial, and non-binding arbitration. There are additional ways of settling cases so long as the both parties agree to the methodology.

Animal Law

This field can incorporate specialty areas of equine, wildlife and habitat, farm animals, performance animals, animal husbandry, animals used in research, and establishing standards for animals in the food production industry. Protecting whales, dolphins, manatees and other aquatic wildlife can also become prevalent in environmental discussions. Employment opportunities can be found in government agencies within the United States Department of Agriculture such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or with State government at the Texas Animal Health Commission, public interest organizations, agricultural corporations, and private practice.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Animal Science
  • Environmental Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Management

Anti-Trust and Trade Law

Antitrust, sometimes referred to as Competition Law, grew from governments’ concerns with businesses colluding to fix prices, and limit supply and competition in the market. Much of the purpose of Antitrust is for the protection of the consumer from illegal practices such as bid rigging, predatory pricing, and price fixing. Federal Antitrust attorneys typically work for the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission reviewing mergers and acquisitions and monitoring business practices to ensure compliance with the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Act.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Agribusiness
  • Animal Science
  • Business Administration (all disciplines)
  • Energy Commerce
  • Food Science
  • Petroleum Engineering

Arts Management

This specialization involves public policy with specific impact upon the arts (performing, visual, and media arts) and cultural affairs. Areas of emphasis include marketing, intellectual property, arts policy, governance, and cultural production and dissemination.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Art History
  • Art, Communication Design
  • Art, Studio Art
  • Art, Visual Studies
  • Dance
  • Heritage Management (Graduate Degree)
  • Marketing
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Arts

Law Schools with this Specialization

Asian Law

Asian Law programs focus on legal institutions, culture and politics of East Asian, Southeast Asian, or South Asian countries. This also includes specialized concentrations in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islands law. Many programs allow students to study abroad in the area of interest through established exchange or co-curricular programs in Asian law programs.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Anthropology
  • Ethnic Studies
  • International Business
  • International Economics
  • Political Science

Bankruptcy Law

This specialty area refers to individuals, corporations or municipalities that have sought relief from financial obligation due to an inability to pay. Bankruptcy is governed by US Code Title 11 with additional state jurisdiction covering issues not addressed in federal code.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Finance
  • Finance/Real Estate Emphasis
  • Economics

Law Schools with this Specialization

Bio-Law

This includes areas of Bioethics, Biomedical and Biotechnology. Medical research and how it affects the creation or prolonging of life has become increasingly high profile. Examples include doctor assisted suicide, stem cell research, human gene therapy, cloning, pre-symptomatic gene screening, reproductive technologies, and issues involving insurance and managed care.

Capital Defense Law

Capital crimes or Capital offenses are crimes punishable by execution. Law programs provide students an opportunity to assist in representation of capital defense cases. Their work may include research, investigation, witness interviews and writing motions. Many programs provide pro-bono representation to indigent defendants.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • English
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Sociology with a Criminology Specialization

Child Advocacy Law

Child Advocacy legal specialists provide voice to the needs children areas such as education, childcare, and governmental processes. Advocates can work against negative activities such as child abuse, child pornography, child prostitution, or child labor. They can also work for positive reforms in child support, privacy rights, parental visitation, education access, curriculum reform, emancipation and related juvenile justice issues.

Civil Rights Law

Civil Rights law covers the individual protections granted by governments either through constitutional or statutory law. Civil rights violations fall into two categories: Criminal, which involves violent or forceful violations or an individual’s right, or Civil, that involve protecting individuals from institutionalized discrimination. Examples of laws in the United States include the 13th and 14th Amendments of the constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Federal Explosives Control Statute, or the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 .

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Anthropology
  • Asian studies
  • Bilingual Education
  • Comparative Literature
  • Ethnic Studies
  • History
  • Latin American and Iberian Studies
  • Political Science
  • Religion Studies
  • Sociology
  • Social Work

Communications Law

Communications law examines law, policy and regulations governing telecommunications, mass media, cable, internet, e-commerce, and broadcasting law. There are also concerns regarding First Amendment rights such as free speech and freedom of expression. Career possibilities include positions with the Federal Communications Commission or in-house counsel opportunities with internet and cable providers, wireless communications or news organizations.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Advertising
  • Agricultural Communications
  • Classics
  • Communication Studies
  • Electronic Media & Communication
  • English
  • Journalism/ Photo Communications
  • Public Relations

Constitutional Law

Constitutional lawyers study the relationship of legislative, executive and judicial institutions in the context of the authorities expressed in the Constitution. Your focus could also be on the individual rights of citizens as expressed in Article I sections one through ten, commonly known as the Bill of Rights. As the complexion of the country evolves, so does the importance of examining and defining the Constitution for our citizens. Since the document was written in 1788, the debate its interpretation has remained an important aspect of everyday living. Your views could be seen as a Strict Constructionist, where your arguments say all laws and actions come directly from the Constitution with no variation allowed. Or you could take the stance of a Broad Constructionist, where much consideration of the day’s values, mores, and societal norms are taken into account. There are numerous employment opportunities for attorneys in this field in political think tanks, public interest groups, not-for profit organizations, in academia, or private practice.

Contract Law

Contract law deals with agreements between parties to perform a service, provide a good, or detail some related exchange of one item for another. The contract can take various forms including written or verbal. Enforcement of contracts generally requires examination of whether both parties upheld what were expressly their duties as stated. In writing a contract, an attorney would establish a contract’s validity in the eyes of the legal statutes, eliminate ambiguity, and verify and monitor execution. These matters are important in commerce in civil matters for individuals, corporation, and government entities.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • English
  • General Business

Law Schools with this Specialization

Corporate Law

A Corporation is defined as “An organized body, especially a business, which has been granted a state charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own rights, privileges, and liabilities distinct from those of the individuals within the entity.” By law, the corporation is seen as a single entity, regardless of the numbers of individuals involved. It can be publicly traded or privately held, and once granted incorporation, it can issue stocks and bonds, acquire assets, can sue, and be sued, and enter into contracts. As a corporate attorney, you will monitor the governance of the relationships of the corporation within management, between stockholders, or among corporation directors, oversee acquisitions, negotiate executive compensation, or safeguard against liability. There are a broad range of areas in which to concentrate, so find an area that holds your attention.

Criminal Law

Criminal, sometimes also referred to as Penal Law addresses statutory, common, or civil law violations. It is important to note, the United States’ legal system is based on a set of practices derived from the Common Law principles found in England, except on Louisiana, which maintains a Civil Law system held over from its time as a possession of France. A criminal lawyer has the opportunity to practice in either the prosecutorial or defense realms. An understanding of public administration would be useful in this area as judges, police, and other municipal officers are important members of the prosecutorial process. Your law school experience may include the opportunity to interview clients, investigate cases, prepare court presentations, and even negotiating plea agreements to prepare you for practice in the field.

Cyberspace/Internet Law

The internet has become a part of the daily lives of most Americans. With this pervasiveness have come a number of legal issues with which to contend. The law has had a difficulty evolving as quickly as the technology, so attorneys in this field will need a strong knowledge of copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property, defamation, privacy, and software piracy. There are many other topics to be addressed including deciding who has jurisdiction and sovereignty in cyberspace conflicts, as well as what constitutional protections should be afforded to its users.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Communication Design
  • Communication Studies
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Electronic Media & Communications
  • Journalism
  • Management Information Systems

Disability Law

Disability is a protected class recognized by the American Disability Act of 1990 . This Act protects citizens with physical and mental impairments from discrimination in areas such as employment, education, and housing. Disability lawyers must have a broad understanding of the public policy related to disability. Some disability lawyers seek to provide remedies on behalf of disabled citizens, by holding businesses, governments, or even individuals accountable when services are not provided equally. There have also been additional protections provided by Executive Orders to disabled veterans. There are numerous employment opportunities within federal agencies, state and local governments, public interest groups, non-profit organizations, and in private practice. Visit this site for addition disability information: US Dept. of Justice Guide to Disability Rights

Education Law

Education law specialists follow policy and legal issues in pre-elementary, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Although public education has garnered much of the attention, issues surrounding charter schools and parochial education are coming to the forefront in many jurisdictions. Practice specialties within this discipline could include public finance, rural education, special education, or urban education.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Agricultural Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Psychology
  • Elementary Education
  • Family Life Studies
  • Higher Education
  • Language Literacy Education
  • Multidisciplinary Science
  • Multidisciplinary Studies
  • School Health
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education

Election Law

Election law examines the constitution in relation to electing government officials. The constitution discusses of how each branch of government (Executive, Judicial and Legislative) must conduct business as it relates to elections. As recent events in the electoral process have shown, there is much interpretation regarding the intent of these constitutional philosophies. An attorney has the opportunity to specialize in federal, state, or local elections. Some additional specialization can come with ballot initiatives and referenda.

Employment Law

Employment lawyers focus on the federal and state programs regarding fair human resources practices. The ability to hire and maintain a workforce is an important aspect of business operations. Some specialty areas include benefits, hiring, firing, job discrimination, organized labor relations, sexual harassment, and worker compensation.

Entertainment Law

Entertainment lawyers provide a range of services for artists, entertainers, models, photographers, producers and directors in the fashion, film, and television or music industry. Your legal training can provide the necessary credentials for representing talent in contract negotiations, copyrights, publishing and distribution. A strong finance or tax background could also lead to asset management, taxes and estates for performing artists.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Advertising
  • Art
  • Communication Studies
  • Electronic Media & Communication
  • Exercise and Sports Sciences
  • Management
  • Music
  • Public Relations
  • Theatre Arts

Environmental Law

The environment comprises the air, land, water and its related natural resources. Environmental law is the body of federal, state, and local regulations protecting these recourses and governing their usage.

One employment option for attorneys in this field is with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was created in 1970 with the mission of protecting human health and all elements of the environment. They conduct research, develop and enforce congressional regulations, and provide support to state, tribal and local government environmental programs.

There are additional employment opportunities with public interest groups working for stronger protections, or with corporate entities, insuring they comply with existing regulations in the course of doing business.

Estate Planning and Probate Law

Estate planning is a part of wealth management that creates mechanisms by which to pass accumulated assets such as land, mineral rights, cash, stock, royalties, and insurance benefits to a pre-determined set of people or individuals after death. An estate planner will examine the tax codes to find the best way for their clients to pass their assets without being subjected to heavy tax penalties. Your job may include establishing trusts, writing and probating wills, serving as executor, or managing assets of an estate.

Ethics and the Law

Professional ethics defines the appropriate behavior of its practitioners. Although an action would be seen as legal, it could be deemed as unethical if it contradicts the professional standards. Understanding the complexities of this will be key to your success in the area. Your employment opportunities could be with state boards of license review, bar counsels, or with an internal investigations branch of a large firm.

Law Schools with this Specialization

Ethnic Issues/Race and the Law

Practitioners in this field examine if written law can have disparities based on race or ethnicity. Legal programs can focus on African-American, American Indian/Alaskan Eskimo, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, or White ethnics from a historical, theoretical, or practitioner standpoint. Employment in this area can be found with federal agencies, non-profit, or public interest organizations with a focus on eliminating racial inequality.

Forensic Law

Legal professionals apply scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge to assist courts in resolving questions of fact in civil and criminal trials. Specialization in this field as an attorney can lead to a judicial appointment or election (depending on the jurisdiction), where you would hear and ultimately decide cases based on evidence presented to the court.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Anthropology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Sociology with a specialization in Criminology

Law Schools with this Specialization

Gaming and Racing Law

This is an important area as casino gambling spreads beyond Nevada and New Jersey. In the last 20 years, only Hawai’i and Utah have not adopted any form of gambling. Gaming encompasses video lottery terminals, games of chance, sports books, keno, and bingo, pari-mutuel betting, commercial and Indian casino gaming (see Indian Law for more specific information in this area). Specialty areas within this discipline include traditional casinos, internet based, and wireless casinos, intellectual property, gaming taxes, human resources in gaming environments, and charitable gaming.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Anthropology
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Political Science

Law Schools with this Specialization

Government Procurement Law

Government Procurement law explores how federal, state and local governments acquire goods and services from outside vendors. Federal law encompasses any executive orders, court, and administrative tribunal decisions, statutes, policies, regulations and made regarding this area. This can include international in addition to domestic sources. Some related topics include, writing, negotiating, executing and administering contracts, comparative law, international economics, logistics, and procurement.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Business
  • Economics
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science

Law Schools with this Specialization

Health & Healthcare Law

An understanding of health issues and the law has become increasingly important as medical advances lengthen the average life expectancy and improve overall quality of life. With medical advances come legal challenges when the law has not adequately addressed how to deal with a new discovery. Your training in health and the law can be exciting as the field is open for setting new legal precedence, writing policy, or drafting related legislation. Curriculum possibilities include specialties in patient advocacy, mental health, medical ethics, malpractice, or biomedical technology.

Employment opportunities can be found with government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or the Office of the Surgeon General. In the private sector, you could work for medical research organizations, hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, or insurance organizations.

Human Rights

The basis Human Rights law was established on December 10, 1948 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations. This declaration espouses principles that governments should work against slavery, torture, discrimination, unlawful arrest or detention, and work for equal protection under law, freedom of expression, right to have citizenship and a host of other topics. Your work could lead to international assignments working with agencies whose focus is promoting democracy, ending inhumane practices established by governments, or providing a voice for populations that have no had success gaining access to their country’s decision makers. Employment can also be found in the federal government, in agencies such as the Human Rights Law Division, Texas Workforce Commission education institutions and research organizations. If your plan includes teaching at the university level, you should consider advanced study leading to the Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.).

Immigration Law

United States immigration policy is administered through the following agencies: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service,U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of State. Within immigration some of the discussion areas include employment, asylum, refugees, permanent residency, naturalization and citizenship, detention, and related enforcement issues. Employment opportunities may be found in agencies such as the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, State human rights offices, non-profit organizations that represent aliens, and private practice.

Indian & Tribal Law

The Indian Law specialty gives students the opportunity to understand differences in how the sovereign Indian reservations are treated and recognized under the constitution. You can learn the mechanics of federal control and its limitations over Indian land, the differences in land ownership and transfer, tribal interests to land and its environmental resources, water rights or natural resource and economic development issues. Gaming is a significant part of Indian Law. In 1988 Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Seventeen years after passage of the IGRA, 227 tribes operated 420 casinos in 30 states. Much of the revenue gained from gaming goes to fund infrastructure improvements and education programs on the reservations. Employment opportunities may be found with National Indian Gaming Commission (NGRC) that is housed in the Department of the Interior. The NGRC provides regulatory guidance and oversight of the gaming industry.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Agricultural and Applied Economics/General Business
  • Anthropology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Construction Technology
  • English
  • Environmental Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Finance
  • Finance/Real Estate Emphasis
  • General Business
  • Petroleum Land Management
  • Range Management
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Management

Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property (IP) covers items within patents, copyrights and trademarks. Inventors have discovered processes, ways to manufacture, chemical compositions, or new or improved products that are introduced to market of which they want sole proprietary ownership. Some other possible areas of IP include design, artistic or literary work, ideas, graphics, logos, icons, trade secret, trade data, titles, text and images. This profession is well suited for individuals with scientific, medical, or mathematical backgrounds. The intellectual property of inventors is protected by law administered through the US Patent and Trademark Office. In addition to federal and state government, employment opportunities can be found in a host of industries such as automotive, pharmaceuticals, medical technology or computer.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Apparel Design and Manufacturing
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Communication Design
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Engineering Technology
  • Geophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Microbiology

International, Comparative, & International Trade Law

The American economy is dependent on the ability to import and export goods and services across the globe. Your focus on international trade can assist businesses in introducing their product to new markets, build partnerships with foreign businesses, and acquire goods and services from overseas. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in 1994 as a mechanism by which free trade of goods and service would flow between the United States, Canada, and Mexico in order to stimulate the economy within each country. There are additional federal initiatives for economic growth administered by the US Department of Commerce International Trade Commission.

You also have opportunities to study both the laws of the United States as well as other countries. There are accredited law programs which allow concurrent study of both the United States Juris Doctor (J.D.) and the Canadian Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in as little as three years. There are also programs that allow for study in France, the United Kingdom and Germany. These programs require fluency in the national language of the country you choose.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

International & Comparative Law
  • Anthropology
  • Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures
  • General Studies
  • History
  • International Business
  • International Economics
  • Political Science
International Trade
  • Agribusiness
  • Agricultural & Applied Economics
  • Apparel Design and Manufacturing
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Latin American/Iberian Studies
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Retailing
  • Russian Language and Area Studies

International Law-Joint JD-LL.B Programs

Legislative Law

Legislative law focuses on public policy and politics related to the writing and passage of laws by the legislative branch of government. Legislatures are granted the power to create laws by the respective state constitutions, and their members are elected by the people. Specialty areas include not only state, but also federal and local legislatures. The federal legislature is Congress. Your understanding of this area will require understanding statutory interpretation and how it can affect legislation. You will also have an opportunity to study legislative history, a method for determining legislative intent through the research and study of historical documentation of prior legislative actions.

Local legislatures can include city or county councils which create laws commonly referred to as ordinances. At the local level, you should have a clear understanding of the function of municipal courts, public finance, and public employment law including labor relations, the power of municipal judges, municipal board and zoning commissions.

Litigation, Personal Injury, & Tort Law

Litigation is the most recognizable function of a lawyer. This is the process by which disputes are settled in court. An attorney must have a broad understanding of evidentiary and trial procedures, how to present facts, strategies for presenting cases, negotiating settlements, and trial advocacy, which examines how to prepare and present evidence in a trial. A strong litigation attorney will not only understand how to present the strongest case, but also dissect and ultimately undermine the case of your opposing attorney. Your specialty areas can be any area in which you would like to try cases before a judge and/or jury. Some civil litigation topics include corporate, personal injury, employment, or intellectual property.

National Security and Counterterrorism

Since 2001, the United States has made sweeping changes in laws and procedures to attend to National Security and Counterterrorism concerns. With these changes, legal questions have been raised regarding Executive Power and Emergency Privilege, civil liberties, and the constitutional authority of the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Branches in this area. Employment can be found with public interest organizations, or in the federal government within agencies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Created in the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the DHS’ function is to mobilize efforts to monitor and protect our borders and prevent, deter and mitigate terrorist threats.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors
  • Accounting
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Finance
  • History
  • Math
  • Math and Computer Science (Dual Degree)
  • Physics
  • Political Science

Non-Profit Corporations

A Non-Profit organization can take the form of public charities such as religious, medical or educational organizations, private foundation, or civic or business organizations. A Non-Profit attorney will have a broad understanding of federal, state and local laws regarding organizational structure, fundraising, lobbying, risk management, and taxation. Specialty areas in this area include contracts, employment, articles of incorporation, managing advisory boards, and community foundations.

Poverty/Inequality Law

This field examines common themes found when serving economically disadvantaged clients such as housing, health care, public benefits, consumer advocacy, and elder law. Attorneys commonly provide pro-bono legal services as private practitioners or through legal aid organizations for indigent clients. There are law programs that will provide funding incentives, such as loan forgiveness, for students committing to practice in this area once they have completed the law program.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Anthropology
  • Family and Consumer Services
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Personal & Financial Planning
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Public Interest & Public Service Law

Public Interest lawyers can specialize in any area of the law, but the major difference is that whatever area they choose, it is done in the interest of serving the public. For example, public interest lawyers can provide representation to the public through monitoring the actions of regulatory agencies, public corporations, federal, state, and local governments, and the courts. They can serve as advocates of reform for how these organizations function and to what extent they provide public access to their activities. Your focus could be in educational reform, prisoner rights, health-care policy, crime, social justice, or the environment. Your work could be conducted as a government attorney, working with a non-profit agency specializing in a public interest area, or as a solo practitioner or member of a firm specializing in this area.

Real Estate & Property Law

Real estate is considered the most important investment an individual can make. In recent years, the frequency of real estate transactions and home ownership in this country has reached unprecedented levels. Although personal real estate transactions are the most common, commercial real estate is also an important field to consider. Some examples of commercial real estate include shopping centers, apartment complexes, office buildings, hotels, or other building used for industrial, educational or business use. Additional specialty areas can include land use and zoning, tax, property management, foreclosure law, land contracts, property rights, urban or rural land development, or real estate investment trusts. Employment can be found in government agencies, financial institutions, development corporations, or apartment or condominium management companies.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Architecture
  • Architecture/Business Administration (dual)
  • Architecture/Civil Engineering (dual)
  • Civil Engineering
  • Construction Technology
  • Finance/Real Estate Specialization
  • General Business
  • Political Science

Religion and the Law

There are a number of law schools that incorporate religious principles into their methodology of teaching the law. Some follow the logic that our country was founded on religious principles, such as “One Nation, Under God” and therefore the practice of law is incomplete without religious consideration. Some express the need for law practitioners to embrace principles of faith to better serve their clients and communities. You may also find law programs that examine how the doctrine of separation of Church and State impacts the law, remaining neutral to faith in their teaching. Like with any law school choice, it is important for you to embrace the values of the school at which you choose to study, and programs with a religious emphasis give you the opportunity to exercise your faith while studying the law.

Refugee and Asylum Law

This is a specialty area focusing on how the law handles the involuntary migration of foreign nationals. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines a refugee as “a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country...". The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provides guidance in this area setting non-binding guidelines for how governments should address refugee concerns. Asylum is the status which may be granted to a refugee that is already present in a new homeland and fears returning for the reasons listed above. Employment may be found with the United Nations Refugee Agency , federal agencies such as US Citizenship and Immigration Services, public interests groups, or private practice.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • English
  • History
  • International Business
  • International Economics
  • Political Science
  • Social Work

Regulatory Law

Successful regulatory specialists understand the how federal agencies develop rule by which pubic and private entities much conduct business, and the process by which statutes are passed. Your employment could be with federal, state or local government, the oil industry, public or private utilities, transportation providers, or medical research organizations. You may be employed to monitor codes to ensure compliance in regulatory sectors such as antitrust, occupational health and safety, hazardous materials transportation, environmental protection, securities and tax laws, employment and labor, or communications.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Accounting
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Energy Commerce
  • English
  • Finance
  • General Business
  • History
  • International Business
  • International Economics
  • Management
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Petroleum Land Management
  • Political Science
  • Social Work

Securities & Exchange Law

Securities are transferable financial investment products such as stocks, bonds, futures contracts, or notes. Transactions in this area are monitored by both federal and state laws. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provides structure and oversight in the securities market to protect investors from fraud, facilitate capitol formation, and ensure fair trade practices. This is important to prevent our economy from enduring financial disasters similar to the stock market crash of 1929 and the great depression. This field of law is best suited for people with in interest in banking, economics, accounting, and finance. Employment can be found with mutual funds, brokerage houses, investment corporations, and government entities.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • History
  • International Economics
  • Political Science

Small Business Law

The United States Small Business Administration defines a Small Business as "one that is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation." This definition can include single proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability corporations. Small businesses are an important segment of the economy as they represent 99.7% of all employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees and over the last decade, have generated 60% to 80% of net new jobs each year. In this country, there are approximately 28.5 million small businesses. As a small business attorney, your expertise is important to safeguard the business interests of your client. Your breadth of knowledge should include human resources, contracts, insurance, finance, negotiation, incorporation procedures, and federal, state and local programs specifically geared toward small businesses.

Sports Law

Specialization in Sports Law will prepare you to represent the business affairs of amateur and professional athletes. Common concerns among amateur athletes are governance and eligibility controlled by sport governing bodies such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and International Association of Athletics Federations. Your preparation could also lead to employment at the college level as a compliance officer monitoring NCAA or federal guidelines such as Title IX, or for a local school district monitoring their team sports.

Professional athletes participate in sports governed by some of the following organizations: National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the Women's National Basketball Association, Professional Golfers’ Association, the Ladies Professional Golf Association the Major Indoor Soccer League, and Major League Soccer. Your training could lead to employment as a sports agent, handling all financial and contractual needs of your clients. Your duties as an agent could also include securing endorsements, representing athletes in the media, and even counseling athletes for a career after sports. You could also find employment within some of the governing bodies representing the leagues during the draft, in collective bargaining, negotiating stadium leases with local governments, or securing advertising dollars for your organization.

Street Law

Started as an outreach program at Georgetown University Law School in 1972, Street Law programs give law students the opportunity to work directly with high school students to give a realistic understanding of law by focusing on common problems they may encounter. For example, students could study the role of police and how their interaction with citizens is affected by the constitution, or what their legal responsibilities are when buying a car or renting an apartment. These programs were studied by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ concluded Street Law programs have a positive impact on eliminating delinquent behaviors in the communities they served. Many law schools find this is a valuable program for not only the community but for the law student as well. Some benefits listed are improved lawyering skills, increased exposure to post law school employment opportunities, and the opportunity to learn practical applications of the law.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Communications Studies
  • Ethnic Studies (minor)
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Psychology
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

Tax Law

Federal tax laws affect every business and individual in this country. Statutory authority was established in 1913 with the ratification of 16th Amendment. This granted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the authority to impose and collect taxes, define the taxpayer’s role, conduct investigations and insure compliance to tax laws. The laws are complex, and violations can lead to punishments in the form of fines and/or incarceration if convicted. As an attorney, you could represent individuals, businesses such as corporations or charitable organizations in proceedings initiated by the IRS, or simply monitor codes to prevent violations. Some tax law programs offer course training in civil tax procedure, corporate taxation, estate planning, international tax planning, and tax policy. Your employment opportunities include federal or state government, accounting firms, or corporate firms specializing in both US and international taxation.

Technology Law

Programs in technology law examine the impact of science, machinery, and medical technologies on the law and administration of laws. Intellectual property (IP) matters comprise some of the discussion of technology law; however there are issues exclusive of the IP domain. For example, what are the disclosure obligations of internet service providers regarding subscribers’ personal information? If a State agency request that a telecommunication provider release calling patterns, dates, times, and length of call information, is the provider obligated to comply? You may also cover issues such as genetics, genomics and biotechnology, and what ethical considerations are prevalent with new discoveries. You could also investigate how antitrust regulations affect the technology industries, or how to structure agreements between researchers, investors, and medical institutions. Your study will cover concepts of civil liberties, ethics, intellectual property, negotiations, and their associations with technology.

Transportation Law

Transportation is the economic engine that drives America. It is not only important for importing and exporting goods and services, but also through the employment of nearly 20 million people in transportation jobs. Transportation related goods contributed more than $1 Trillion to the economy. Transportation encompasses aviation, rail, vessel, and motor carriers, transportation infrastructure, public transportation, and rural highways. Transportation regulatory compliance affects many types of industries such as freight forwarders, logistics corporations, pilots, truck operators, insurance providers, and even energy corporations. Employment opportunities can be found with the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, private airlines, railway companies, energy corporations, automobile, auto parts, and airplane manufacturers, and maritime carriers.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geosciences
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering

Urban Policy

Urban policy can be an interdisciplinary study of urban history, geography, economics, and how municipal leaders manage issues such as land use, growth, development, housing, transportation planning, and taxation. An example is when city managers impose affordable housing stipulations on developers wanting to build in their communities. Urban policy lawyers will have to examine legal precedent and determine if such impositions are legal and enforceable. Another aspect of urban policy could examine municipal funding of public education, managing school boards, and setting compliance measures for charter schools receiving public funds. Employment opportunities can be found in federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, state and local governments, non-profit agencies, think tanks, and private law firms.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Communications Studies
  • Economics
  • Energy Commerce
  • English
  • Ethnic Studies (minor)
  • Finance
  • Geosciences
  • History
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Relations
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

Victims Rights Law

Federal, State and Local agencies maintain offices to assist the victims in recovering from criminal acts. Victims of violent crime may need assistance with physical therapy, funeral expenses, mental health counseling, moving expenses or cleaning of a crime scene. Victims may also be entitled to restitution for property damages, loss wages, or attorney’s fees. Employment opportunities can be found with Federal agencies such as U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime, State crime victims’ resource agencies, Attorneys General offices, as a court officer coordinating victims’ rights programs, non-profit and community based organizations, and private law firms.

Texas Tech Undergraduate Majors

  • Pre-Physical Therapy (designation)
  • Psychology
  • Social Work

Women and the Law

These programs provide academic study of law and public policy as it relates to women. Some topic areas include reproductive health, gender equity, child support, domestic violence, sexual assault, transgender law and policy, and employment equity. Employment opportunities are available with public interest organizations, in academia, government agencies, and private practice.