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Legal Studies, Bachelor of Science

Legal Studies

Overview

Legal studies is for students who are interested in law, for students who are interested in working in law after college and for students who are interested in attending law school.

The legal studies program teaches foundational skills in the practice of law: close reading of legal texts; legal research; legal writing; and legal analysis.  And, legal studies students take elective courses in many different substantive areas of law, from criminal law to corporate law and many areas in between. 

Graduates of the legal studies program have gone on to law school, have gone on to graduate school and have gone on to work in many different areas of the law—from local law offices, to legal aid offices, to prosecutor’s offices, to the court system, to corporate law departments, to some of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the world. 

The Legal Studies Program is an American Bar Association-approved Paralegal Education Program.  And, graduates of the legal studies program are given a paralegal certificate that can be used to obtain work after college.  Legal assistants and paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

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Admission

For more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John’s University, please visit Undergraduate Admission online. Or contact us directly at the campus of your choice:

Admission Office - Queens Campus
718-990-2000
[email protected]

Admission Office -  Staten Island campus
718-390-4500
[email protected]

More Information

Three factors distinguish the St. John’s legal studies program from comparable programs: (1) a commitment to the teaching of close reading, research, writing and analysis; (2) a high full-time faculty to student ratio; and (3) flexibility. 

Many legal studies students aspire to go to law school. And, any student coming out of high school who aspires to go to law school needs to significantly improve their reading, writing and analytical skills in college.  This is equally true for students who aspire to work in the law after college without attending law school. 

The American Bar Association (the ABA) put out a statement listing the skills that college students who aspire to go to law school should focus on acquiring in college.  That list includes “critical reading,” “writing and editing” and “research.”  Discussing critical reading, the ABA stated that “much of what you will do as a law student and lawyer involves careful reading and comprehension of judicial opinions, statutes, documents, and other written materials” and that “law school should not be the first time that you are rigorously engaged in the enterprise of carefully reading and understanding, and critically analyzing, complex written material of substantial length.”  And, discussing writing and editing, the ABA said that aspiring law students “should seek as many experiences as possible that will require rigorous and analytical writing, including preparing original pieces of substantial length and revising written work in response to constructive criticism.”    

We can help you acquire effective reading, research, writing and analytical skills.  The legal studies program has a required three course sequence devoted to helping students acquire these skills: Introduction to Legal Studies; Legal Research and Writing I; and Legal Research and Writing II.  The legal studies program also offers several upper-level electives that are specifically designed to further enhance these skills. And, activities designed to enhance reading, writing, research and analytical skills are woven throughout all of our courses. 

And, because of our high full-time faculty to student ratio, our three foundational courses—Introduction to Legal Studies; Legal Research and Writing I; and Legal Research and Writing II—and each of the upper-level electives designed to enhance these skills are taught by full-time faculty. 

The legal studies bachelor’s degree program is also flexible enough to allow students to pursue many interests while at St. John’s.  The legal studies program is flexible enough to allow students to study abroad.  And, the legal studies program is flexible enough to allow students to pursue multiple minors, and many students do.  Many students will pursue a professional minor like business or criminal justice and will pursue a liberal arts minor—either in a classic liberal arts pre-law area like government or history or English or philosophy or in a modern foreign language.

For the major area of their degree, all legal studies students take five required legal studies courses:

  • LES 1100, Introduction to Legal Studies, which is an introduction to the close reading of legal texts, to legal analysis and to basic litigation procedure. 
  • LES 1101, Legal Research and Writing I, which aims to teach students to report on legal sources in writing in a way that is customary in the legal profession and to teach students to report legal analyses in writing in a way that is customary in the legal profession.
  • LES 1102, Legal Research and Writing II, which teaches students to perform simple legal research.
  • LES 1004, Litigation Practice (Civil), which teaches the rules of procedure in civil actions. 
  • LES 1015, Legal Ethics, which teaches the law governing the practice of law. 

In addition to these five courses, legal studies students take several elective courses in law.  The elective courses that students choose from include: Tort Law (Personal Injury Law), Family Law, Real Estate Law, Bankruptcy Law, Insurance Law, Probate Law, Elder Law, Corporate Law, Contracts, Intellectual Property Law, Employment Law, Immigration Law, Constitutional Law, Penal Law (Criminal Law), Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Advanced Legal Research and Writing, and Trial Advocacy. 

Students who successfully complete our two real estate law courses can sit for the New York State Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Exam.

St. John’s legal studies students have many opportunities to engage with the broader university and legal communities outside of the classroom. 

  • The Legal Society, the student organization that is affiliated with the legal studies program, hosts events on issues of interest to legal studies and pre-law students.  And, St. John’s has a chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity. 
     
  • Many legal studies students choose to study abroad for a semester or as an embedded piece of a local course.  For example, for the last several years, one of our litigation practice professors has taken his class to Paris to study French law for a week. 
     
  • Students have the opportunity to publish research in The Legal Apprentice, our double blind reviewed undergraduate law journal. 
     
  • And many legal studies students take advantage of the fact that St. John’s is located in New York City, the largest legal market in the country, by completing legal internships.

Legal studies students have the opportunity to apply to participate in several graduate school pathway programs:

  • BS/JD.  The BS/JD Program (also, called the 3+3 program) allows qualified students to enter St. John’s Law School a year early (in what would have been their senior year of college) and double-count the first year of law school as both the first year of law school and the last year of college, allowing students to complete college and law school in six years instead of the typical seven.  The program is highly selective.  Students apply to the program in their junior year. 
     
  • Dual Graduate Degree/ Fast-Track Programs.  The legal studies program has a combined master’s degree program or a fast track pathway graduate program with each of the following degrees.  These programs allow qualified students to begin working on these master’s degrees in their senior year of college, to count the graduate courses taken in that year toward the elective area of their bachelor’s degree and to finish both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years.
    • MA in Government and Politics
    • MA in Sociology
    • MPS in Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Leadership
    • MS in International Communication

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