Pre-Law Resources

Welcome to Gonzaga Pre-Law! This website provides information and resources for students interested in applying to law school and pursuing careers in law.

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Fr. Brain Pham
Fr. Bryan Pham
Fr. Bryan V. Pham, S.J., J.D., J.C.D., Ph.D
Fr. Bryan Pham serves as one of two pre-law advisors. He is the Chaplain to the Law School and is an Assistant Professor of Law. He teaches Legal Methods and Jurisprudence, and is the Supervising Attorney for the Indian Law/General Public Practice Clinic.

Ordained in 2004, Fr. Pham is a Jesuit priest of the USA-West Province of the Society of Jesus. He did his undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University and received a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law.

An active member of the Washington State Bar Association and the Canon Law Society of America, Fr. Pham also serves on the Board of Trustees of Gonzaga University and as a Judge and a Defender of the Bond with the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He also advises Gonzaga University’s Mock Trial Team.

To make a pre-law advising appointment with Fr. Pham, email pham@gonzaga.edu.
Dr. Joe Gardner
Joe Gardner, Ph.D.
Dr. Gardner also serves as a pre-law advisor (through May 2023). He is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Gonzaga University.

To schedule a meeting with Dr. Gardner, email gardnerj@gonzaga.edu.

 

Katherine Brackmann

Katherine Brackmann
For general information about Gonzaga University pre-law advising, contact Katherine Brackmann, Assistant Director for Graduate & Professional School Engagement.

Email Katherine at brackmann@gonzaga.edu or schedule an appointment through ZagsIgnite.

 

 

Preparation

There is no specific “pre-law” major. Law schools do not require or prefer certain undergraduate majors, and strive to admit students from a variety of backgrounds.

Students are encouraged to work with academic, faculty, and career advisors to select a major that fits your strengths and interests, and can also help prepare for a future law career. Consider coursework that will enhance your reading comprehension, writing, research, and analytic skills; these are key for taking the LSAT and preparing for law school.

Grade Point Average (GPA) is just one factor law schools review as part of the admissions process.

 

Involvement in clubs and organizations, volunteer and service opportunities, study abroad, research, work experience, and other co-curricular activities can help you boost your resume and develop skills and qualities that will prepare you for future graduate study.

 

Seek opportunities to learn more about the legal field. This may include job shadowing, informational interviewing, networking, internships, work experiences, and other professional activities. Consider identifying and building relationships with professors or other mentors in a particular field of study or career interest.

Check out Career & Professional Development Services and Online Resources for more tools and guidance in clarifying and attaining your educational and career goals.  
The Law School Admission Council is a great source of information for students thinking about law school, including tips on How to Prepare for Your Legal Education.

 

Application Process

Below are some typical elements that may be part of your application checklist. Visit the LSAC Applying to Law School site for additional information and a step-by-step guide.  
Gonzaga students can also utilize resources related to the application process provided by Career & Professional Development

Most law school applications open in early fall, with deadlines extending to early spring But be sure to understand different terms that may relate to deadlines, including priority deadlines and rolling admissions. This often means that applications are considered for admission as they are receive and therefore, the earlier your application arrives at the school, the more seats in the class are available. Typically, you want to apply by the priority deadline if possible.

Many schools require you take the LSAT by November or December for admission the following fall. However, taking the test earlier (in June or September / October) is advisable. 

 
When researching and selecting schools, discover information through online research, open houses, and graduate fairs. Refer to the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools for specific school information, including program specialties and applicant data. Consider attending a Law School Forum, hosted by the LSAC. 
 
While the future of standardized exams my be changing, currently most law schools still require the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Some accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Always check admission requirements at prospective schools.
 
The LSAC Credential Assembly Service serves as the “common application” for most law schools in the United States. This service compiles all of your material into a law school report for the law schools you choose. Register at least 6-8 weeks prior to your first law school application deadline. 
 
A personal statement or essay is your opportunity to share your background and your motivation. Law schools want to recruit people who are qualified for reasons beyond grades and scores. The essay or personal statement is your opportunity to tell the committee what sets you apart from others.
 
Letters of recommendation help give the admissions committee additional insight into your personal qualities and potential for continuing intellectual and professional growth. The most effective letters of recommendation are written by professors or work supervisors who know you well enough to describe your academic, personal, or professional achievements honestly and objectively.
 
A resume highlights your academic endeavors, work experience, community service, and any additional information you think is relevant for a law school admissions committee.
 
Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you previously attended are likely to be required. Contact your institution’s Registrar’s office, and be sure to request the transcripts well in advance of deadlines.