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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Why Philosophy

Preparation for Law School


Preparation for Law School

Many philosophers and students of philosophy go to law school, and there are now many successful philosopher-lawyers. On the basis of information from law school faculty, from philosophers who have kept track of students who have gone into law, and from independent studies, it is clear that philosophical training tends to be of great value both in law school and in legal practice. A philosopher at a distinguished university noted that even the average philosophy graduate student who transferred to law school usually did outstanding work as a law student. There have been comparable results at many institutions around the country.

The law is not only a career that interests many philosophers and philosophy students. It is also a field for which philosophical training is generally excellent preparation. Furthermore, while the standard path into a legal career is through law school, philosophers have entered the profession of law in other ways, for example in legal research, without needing to obtain a law degree. Philosophers are also employed in prison administration, in police service, and in paralegal work as rights advocates. Some insurance and trust companies, moreover, have expressed interest in philosophical research capacities in relation to their legal work. Given the large number of recent law school graduates, it may be especially appropriate for philosophers interested in legal work in general to consider some of these other areas of the legal domain.

The many skills that students learn to develop while studying philosophy are crucial skills in the study of law. These skills include, but are not limited to, the ability to develop and analyze arguments, to uncover assumptions and presuppositions, to identify fallacies in reasoning, to organize one's reasoning, and to structure complex ideas. Both formal and informal logic are of important use in the study and practice of law.