A Broad-Based Education
A well-rounded education in the Humanities and Social Sciences is important to understand the law
Law and legal institutions do not operate in a vacuum. They operate in, and thereby reflect, a governmental, historical, cultural, political, economic, sociological, and philosophical context. This means that it is difficult to understand the development of law without understanding the ways in which these contexts shape the law.
Our law reflects, for example:
- our Judeo-Christian and Western European heritage;
- our political and economic institutions;
- the ideals and traditions of the 18th century enlightenment; and
- our specific history, including the histories of slavery and the treatment of native peoples.
Prelaw students would thus be well served by a program of study that is strong in liberal arts courses, which provides insight into these contexts of law.
Focus on Critical Thinking
Gaining insight about the human experiences, the social institutions, and the values to which law responds means more than merely gathering information. It means, in particular, learning how to think critically about the various features of our social life to make sound judgments based on factual evidence, as well as social and moral principle. A broad-based education is one that provides this critical habit of mind. Such an education goes beyond mere description and unquestioning acceptance. This is the education that best equips the undergraduate pre-law student for the analytical challenges of law school.