TTU Pre-Law Academy
Description and Mission:
The Texas Tech University Pre-Law Academy (PLA) is a prestigious summer program for undergraduate students who are interested in attending law school and pursuing a career in the legal field. Students enrolled in the Pre-Law Academy will spend approximately four weeks taking three courses. The mission of the Pre-Law Academy is to prepare students for the competitive law school admissions process and the demands of law school, while also helping students create a vision for themselves as law students and lawyers.
2021 Pre-Law Academy:
Applications are now closed for Summer 2021.
Pre-Law Academy Structure:
The PLA includes the following courses:
1. Argumentation and Debate COMS 3314 (3 credit hours)
2. Lawyering Skills: Legal Analysis & Advocacy PLAW 4301(3 credit hours)
3. Seminar in the Legal Profession PLAW 3101 (1 credit hour)
Students admitted into the Pre-Law Academy must take these three courses. All seven credit hours count towards a Legal Studies minor, and students in the Honors College may receive general Honors credit for PLAW 4301.
If a student has already taken Argumentation and Debate, the Pre-Law Academy course may be taken as an independent study. In addition, upon successful completion of the Academy, students may have the option to participate in an internship during the second summer session.
The following courses are restricted to students admitted into the Pre-Law Academy.
Course 1: Argumentation and Debate
Course Number & Title: COMS 3314: Argumentation and Debate
Course Description: The relationship between rhetoric and law extends back more than two thousand years ago to the beginning of democracy. In ancient Greece, advocates would represent their position before the courts. The roots of that system are maintained today, in the adversarial political and legal system of the United States. This course examines the judicial system and the relationship between rhetoric and law. Students begin by considering classical concepts of rhetoric, including argumentation/reasoning, the use of proofs as evidentiary support, and fallacies in argumentation. Next, they investigate the ways in which the law is rhetorical, which includes how one understands or interprets the United States Constitution. Students will consider different areas of law and the ways in which the argument used to support or to oppose legal outcomes are rhetorical. They also will engage in debates to further their argumentation and debate skills. By the end of this course students should understand their fundamental rights, as well as certain strategies to help them advocate for those rights.
Course 2: Lawyering Skills: Legal Analysis & Advocacy
Course Number & Title: Lawyering Skills: Legal Analysis & Advocacy, PLAW 4301
Course Description: This course introduces undergraduate students to fundamental concepts related to the legal system, including court structure and the types of legal authority. It also introduces them to legal analysis and the format for legal writing and citation. Students write an objective legal memorandum, and this assignment helps them improve their critical thinking and writing skills. In addition, students learn how to give a persuasive oral argument and they demonstrate their advocacy skills in a moot court setting. Upon completion of the Lawyering Skills course, students will demonstrate competency of the following learning outcomes:
1- Identify and describe the structure of the U.S. and Texas legal systems.
2- Identify and describe key rules and reasoning contained within applicable authority.
3- Effectively synthesize and reconcile multiple legal authorities when applicable.
4- Effectively analogize and distinguish precedent.
5- Identify and describe the roles and differing characteristics of sources of law, including the weight of authority.
6- Use proper citation when required.
7- Engage in effective and professional oral communication, including delivery of an oral argument.
Course 3: Seminar in the Legal Profession
Course Number & Title: Seminar in the Legal Profession, PLAW 3101
Course Description: This seminar course includes three segments: (1) People in the Legal Profession, (2) Learning from Lawyers, and (3) Getting into Law School.
Segment I: People in the Legal Profession: In this segment, students participate in roundtable discussions with a variety of groups, e.g. lawyers, law school staff, and law faculty. Topics may include overviews of law school activities, work-life balance in the legal profession, public service work, judicial system employment, and non-traditional jobs in the legal field.
Segment II: Learning from Lawyers: This segment exposes students to different practice areas and includes "field trips." For example, students might hear from a criminal defense lawyer or a prosecutor and then tour the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Segment III: Getting into Law School: The goal of this segment is to teach students about getting admitted to law school, preparing for and taking the LSAT, and developing study skills to ensure success as an undergraduate and as a law school student. Some topics include the following: writing a personal statement; choosing the right law school; the cost of law school; choosing undergraduate courses in preparation for law school; and, developing strong study skills. As part of this segment, students take a practice LSAT and learn about their test-taking strengths and weaknesses.