(From “Preparing for Law School” by ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar http://www.americanbar.org )
There are important skills, values, knowledge, and experience that you should acquire
prior to law school and that will provide a sound foundation for a legal education.
Analytical and Problem Solving Skills
Seek courses and other experiences that engage you in critical thinking about important issues, challenge your beliefs, and improve your tolerance for uncertainty and criticism. Your legal education will demand that you structure and evaluate arguments for and against propositions that are susceptible to reasoned debate. Law school will refine those skills, but you must enter with reasonably well developed analytic and problem solving abilities. Courses in philosophy, logic, ethics, math, the sciences, and computer science can help you develop them.
Critical Reading Skills
as a law student and lawyer, much of what you will do involves careful reading and comprehension of judicial opinions, statues, documents, and other written materials. Law school must not be the first time that you are rigorously engaged in careful reading, understanding, and critically analysis of complex written material of substantial length. You can develop your critical reading ability in a wide range of experiences, including the close reading of complex material in literature, political or economic theory, philosophy, or history
Writing and Editing Skills
Language is the most important tool of a lawyer, and lawyers must learn to express themselves clearly and concisely in writing. Legal education will provide you with good training in the specific techniques that are common in the law. Fundamental writing skills, however, must be acquired and refined before you enter law school. You 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.
Oral Communication and Listening Skills
The ability to speak clearly and persuasively is another skill that is essential to your success in law school and the practice of law. You must also have excellent listening skills if you are to understand your clients and others with whom you will interact daily. As with writing skills, legal education provides the opportunity to practicing the forms and techniques of oral expression that are most common in the practice of law, but, in preparation, you should seek to develop your basic speaking and listening skills, through activities such as engaging in debate, making formal presentations in class, or speaking before groups in school, the community, or the workplace.
Organization and Management Skills
To study and practice law, you will to need to be able to organize large amounts of information, identify objectives, and create a structure for applying that information in an efficient way in order to achieve desired results. You can develop this skill through undertaking school projects that require substantial research and writing, or through the preparation of major reports for an employer, a school, or a civic organization.