Undergraduate degrees are catching on at U.S. law schools as universities seek new ways to give students a head start on legal careers and help them better understand the role of law in society.
The University of Southern California Gould School of Law said Tuesday that it will offer a Bachelor of Science in legal studies — making it at least the third law school in the country to grant degrees to undergraduate students and the first to do so among U.S. News & World Report’s top 20 highest rated schools.
These degrees don’t enable students to sit for the bar exam and practice law, but they can pave to way to law-adjacent careers in compliance and human resources or prepare students for a Juris Doctor program down the road, the schools said. ...
Kyle McEntee, founder of the advocacy group Law School Transparency, said the undergrad degrees can position students for J.D. advantage jobs without paying for three years of law school. “The law is a good way of teaching the reasoning and reading skills that make someone a good professional, period,” McEntee said.
Another top 20 law school, the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, also offers an undergraduate legal studies major, according to its dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, a frequent ABA Journal contributor.