Pre-Law Courses

There is not a pre-law program of study at W&L. However, a number of Philosophy courses are helpful to students who intend to take the LSAT and go to law school after graduating. (See below, also, about taking courses at W&L School of Law).

Phil 170: Introduction to Logic

The study of argumentation and modern formal logic. This course explores the basic principles of deductive and inductive reasoning. Students learn to symbolize and evaluate natural language arguments. Topics covered include the study of formal and informal fallacies, propositional and predicate logic, scientific induction, and probabilities.

Phil 242: Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity, the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity, legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies, as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

Phil 244: Feminist Social and Political Philosophy

This course critically examines the gender norms that pervade our identities, govern our everyday behavior, and organize our social life. Questions may include: what is gender? In what ways does it affect the quality of women's and men's lives? Is gender difference natural? Is it valuable? Can it contribute to, or interfere with, human flourishing? Can a gendered society be just? What can any of us do to promote good relations among women and men?

Phil 252: Philosophy of Law

An examination of topics in the philosophy of law, such as the concepts of a law and of a legal system, the nature of the relationship between law, morality, and religion, civil disobedience, legal punishment, and legal liability. The course will also examine philosophical and legal debates concerning rights and the U.S. Constitution, including freedom of speech and pornography, the right to privacy and abortion, and cruel and unusual punishment and the death penalty. Readings include United States Supreme Court opinions.

Phil 254: Philosophy of the Family

This course considers philosophical issues raised by family as a social institution and as a legal institution. Topics addressed include the social and personal purposes served by the institution of family, the nature of relationships between family and members, the various forms that family can take, the scope of family privacy or autonomy, and how family obligations, mutual support, and interdependency affect individual members of families.

Phil 348: Legal Ethics

An examination of the issues associated with lawyers' roles in society and their impact upon obligations to the client, the court, and the legal profession. The course also addresses questions of the role and function of law and the adversary system.

Phil 360: Roe v. Wade and the Abortion Question

This course considers the questions of whether abortion is ever morally permissible and whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights that make laws prohibiting and restricting abortion unconstitutional. Authors include Boonin, Singer, Tooley, Thomson, Marquis, and Dworkin, and Supreme Court cases include Griswald v. Connecticut (1965), Roe v. Wade (1973), Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), and Gonzalez v. Carhart (2007). Course includes a field trip to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Undergraduates Taking a Course at W&L School of Law

Seniors and rising seniors at may approach the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the W&L School of Law for permission to take one course in both the fall and winter terms (law fall and spring semesters) at W&L School of Law. Only certain courses will be available, and approval must be granted by the instructor, the undergraduate faculty adviser, and the law and undergraduate deans. Attendance in the class is required on the same schedule as law students, so seniors must be aware of calendar differences (e.g., course start and end dates, different holiday and examination schedules) and workload. If approved, the course will count toward a term's required full-time course load, will be graded only on a Pass/Fail basis, and will not count as credits toward either a law or undergraduate degree. See the form available on the University Registrar's website at registrar.wlu.edu/forms.

For more advice on pre-law studies at W&L, see here.

Pre-Law Website

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