Want to Make a Difference within the Justice System? Get There with a Law Degree

The racial bias in our legal system is costing lives. We need more Black and Brown lawyers and judges so that there are fewer injustices like those surrounding George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Amir Locke, Patrick Lyoya, and far too many others. Incorporating more professionals of color into the country’s legal system, however, comes with obstacles of its own.

But UNCF (United Negro College Fund) has a solution. Providing a top-notch education and graduating black students at a far-above average rate, HBCUs are an especially good choice to prepare you for meaningful, well-paying careers, graduate studies, and a pursuit of fair, accessible and visible justice.

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Dillard University (click image to view)

The most essential characteristics of a lawyer or judge aren’t a complete comprehension of national politics or an encyclopedic knowledge of the law. If you’re an excellent communicator both in speaking and in writing and you have a stellar work ethic, chances are you’re already a promising candidate for a legal career.

Law-related professions make for long, well-paying, mentally stimulating careers and, if you’re motivated by a sense of social justice, they can give you an opportunity to enact meaningful change. If you have a keen interest in ensuring your community is fairly represented within the judicial system and that racial injustice is eliminated, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a job better suited to your interests.

While most schools don’t offer law as an undergraduate degree, many have a pre-law department. Ask an admissions counselor to get you connected. Majoring in political science, history, English, economics, criminal justice or philosophy for an undergraduate degree is not uncommon for future law students. Pre-law programs include a wide range of related course subjects, such as:

  • Political science
  • Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Government
  • English
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Foreign languages

Careers in Law

Pre-law graduates may pursue careers in a wide variety of capacities. Some options include:

  • Paralegal
  • Private investigator
  • Labor relations specialist

Students who go on to graduate from law school and pass the Bar exam can become attorneys in virtually any field that interests them.

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer pre-law degrees? Looking for help with financing this degree?

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Preparing for Success

As the path to a career in law is challenging, it’s never too early to start taking steps in the right direction. Both high school and college may provide opportunities to join a debate team, which is excellent practice if you plan to work in a courtroom someday.

Outside of school, stay in the know. Keep up with the news regularly, and check out the American Bar Association to see the current requirements for membership.

UNCF Schools to Consider

To enter the field of law, students must at minimum earn a bachelor’s degree. Plenty of great UNCF-affiliated HBCUs offer pre-law degree programs:philander smith social justice logo

Professional Organizations

There are also many law organizations that can provide more insight into some of the specializations in this field. A sample list includes:

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start on your path toward a successful career in law than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for law majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements. 

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study law.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in law. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!