The Hunter Pre-Law Program
The Hunter College Pre-Law Program brings together a number of opportunities designed to prepare students for law school, including alumni mentoring, special internships, informational forums, one-on-one and small-group advising, enrichment activities, student clubs, and skill-building courses.
The program was instituted by President Jennifer Raab in 2005, and subsequently developed with a Board of Advisors from notable law firms in New York City including Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz; Seeger Weiss; Morrison & Foerster; and Anderson, Kill & Olick.
The program serves as a supplement to students’ core liberal arts studies, offering students exposure and insight into the practice of law. It is a conscious choice that the program does not incorporate a “major.” U.S. law schools want to teach students the law; a strong liberal arts background – with appropriately developed analytical thinking, critical reading, writing, oral communication, and research skills – is the best preparation for graduate legal study. Thus, Hunter’s program provides students with insight into the law school admissions process and legal careers, rigorous academic training and skills to succeed in law school, and accessible advising support throughout their undergraduate careers at Hunter, but especially during the application process.
This combination of elements has been a recipe for success. Hunter alumni have developed an impressive track record; in recent years, our graduates have matriculated at all of the top-ranked, nationally recognized law schools, including Yale, NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago. Many of our students also take advantage of opportunities at local schools with strong ties to the New York metropolitan area, or seek new horizons in other regions.
We are excited to help you follow in their footsteps. While you are reviewing the opportunities noted below, remember that Hunter's Pre-Law Advisory Office is available to help you make good choices along the way. In addition, there are numerous law-related classes offered at Hunter integrated into the liberal arts curriculum, as well as other resources unique to Hunter, that can provide students with a sense of whether law may be of interest.
A. Moot Court Class
Moot Court is a one credit Intersession course that simulates the appellate court setting. Students become knowledgeable about existing legal controversies, prepare legal briefs, and present a case before a mock judicial panel. By learning to read cases and make oral arguments, students gain insight into court-based decision making, as well as the role of lawyers and judges within the process. Registration for the course is by permission only. Thereafter, students have the opportunity to compete in local Moot Court scrimmages, such as the John Jay Tournament usually held at Fordham Law School. Students should contact the Pre-Law Advisory Office during November if this class is of interest.
B. Short-Term Professional Mentoring
Through programming sponsored by the Pre-Law Advisory Office and the Pre-Law Society, students have frequent occasion for contact with Hunter alumni who are part of New York City’s rich and diverse legal community. Be sure to sign up for Hunter’s Pre-Law Listserv for information about events and opportunities to meet with Hunter’s alumni attorneys. Events have included roundtable discussions addressing issues in banking law, employment law, personal injury law, criminal law, as well as panels and luncheon discussions on:
- International Careers in Law
- Intellectual Property and Media Law
- Lawyering as General or Corporate Counsel
- Public Interest Law
Our annual “Careers in Law Day” allows students to mingle with Hunter alumni and friends who are practicing attorneys. This casual, cocktail party type event gives students the opportunity to learn more about the contexts in which lawyers work – such as private sector, non-profit, and government settings – and also about particular areas of specialization. We also use this end of year capstone event to celebrate the law school acceptances of our seniors and recent graduates.
C. Long-Term Mentoring Opportunities
There is a formal year-long mentoring program at Hunter that includes many attorneys, and is organized through the office of the Vice President for Student Services. Applications are generally submitted in April for the following year.
In addition, there is a student-to-student mentoring program whereby Hunter undergraduate students are matched with a current law student, through the cooperation of the Pre-Law Advisory Office and the New York City Bar Association. Students are generally “matched” with a mentor in the spring.
If you are interested in either of these opportunities (which are not mutually exclusive), please contact the Pre-Law Advisory Office.
D. LSAT Preparation
The generosity of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson has enabled Hunter to sponsor a special discounted LSAT preparatory program. This extended class begins in the spring term and provides students with comprehensive instruction, though a combination of a skill-building workshop and guided self study prior to the intensive summer component of the course. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, speak with the Pre-Law Advisory Office, preferably before the end of the fall term.
A law-related internship can be a great way to explore the legal profession, develop contacts, learn new skills, and gain work experience. Becoming familiar with legal work may provide you with some insight and direction, and when you apply to law school, help you write a more focused and interesting personal statement.
1. Paid Summer Internship Program
Through the Pre-Law Advisory Office, Hunter encourages students to apply for paid summer internships at a number of prestigious law firms in Manhattan. These internships are competitive. Firms usually seek upper classmen with excellent grades who have demonstrated interest in attending law school. A resume drop is held early in the spring for these positions; watch the Listserv as well as the events page of this website for information.
2. Julie Ross and Mark Ladner Fellowship for Public Interest Law
The Julie Ross and Mark Ladner Summer Fellowship in Public Interest Law provides a current Hunter student or recent alum the possibility to explore public service through a law-related summer internship at a public interest or government organization. The amount of fellowship awarded varies depending upon the length of the internship and financial need. Prior awards have been used for activities such as an internship with a New York State Supreme Court Judge, and the production of a handbook for youths aging out of foster care. If you are interested in applying for the coming summer, please plan to speak with the Pre-Law Advisor by February.
3. Other Internship Opportunities
Additional internship opportunities at law-related government and non-profit organizations are also available to students during the academic school year and summer session through Career Development Services. Occasionally these are paid or include a stipend. Recent placements at such offices have included:
AALDEF (Asian American Legal Defense Fund)
- Chambers of Judge Price (Bronx Criminal Court)
- Catholic Charities (Immigration Law)
- New York Corporation Counsel (New York City’s lawyers)
- The Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York
- New York Civil Liberties Union
Internships can sometimes be done for credit as part of a course or as independent study. For information on internships and application procedures, contact Hunter’s internship coordinator, Paula Wicklow at email@example.com, and watch the Pre-Law Listserv for additional internship positions that may become available and be of interest.
F. Law School Planning Forums
The Pre-Law Program sponsors a number of forums and workshops each year to provide students with information on law school admissions and law school life. Typical programming includes:
- Undergraduate Planning for Law School
- Application and Personal Statement Workshop for Applying to Law School
- Group Trip to the Law School Admission Council Forum (at which more than 100 schools are generally represented) at the New York Hilton
- Law School Admissions Panel
- Building Credit and Financing Law School
- Tips for Law School Success from Current Law Students
- Mock Law School Class
Keep an eye on the Pre-Law Listserv and the Hunter Gatherer for announcements about these informative events.
G. Distinguished Speaker Series
Hunter periodically sponsors lectures by notable members of the New York legal community to provide students with valuable insight into current legal issues of the day and complex historical moments. Recent presentations have featured a debate between noted alumni, Sheila Birnbaum, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Christopher Seeger, founding partner at Seeger Weiss, regarding the desirability of federal tort reform, as well as a discussion by Philip Lacovara about his role with the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s Office. These are among our most exciting events, and we eagerly anticipate more such lectures in semesters to come.
H. Hunter Pre-Law Society
The Hunter Pre-Law Society is a student club that serves as a conduit for a collective Pre-Law student voice at Hunter. The club is dedicated to promoting the academic success of Hunter’s pre-law students, and it takes an active role in planning and initiating Pre-Law programming on campus. The group facilitates trips, events, and study assistance and serves as a forum for expression of different opinions on current legal and public affairs. Students have found taking on a leadership role in the club to be both fun and useful. You can contact the Hunter Pre-Law Society at firstname.lastname@example.org. The club also maintains a Facebook page.
I. Other Student Groups of Interest
1. Hunter Mock Trial Club
In this student run club, students compete against other schools in local scrimmages though a simulated trial setting. Participants build communication skills, evaluate case law, and learn about the rules of evidence and trial procedure. This fun team-based activity also builds collegiality among pre- law students, who compete in groups of 6-10 students. The e-mail address for the group is email@example.com.
2. Hunter American Parliamentary Debate Team
This recently established student club gives students the opportunity to debate various topics, impromptu, with a partner, against various universities, usually on the East Coast. Debate competitions enhance students’ public speaking abilities, argumentation skills, and ability to think quickly. The e-mail address for the group is firstname.lastname@example.org.