Interested in Pre-Law?

Start your pre-law education here at Saint Mary’s. With our Sophia Program of Liberal Learning, our commitment to social responsibility and justice, and our supportive community that promotes leadership and personal growth, Saint Mary’s is an ideal institution to earn your undergraduate degree in preparation for law school.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), your success in law school depends less on your undergraduate degree and more on the skills you learn in your years as an undergrad. The ABA lists the following core values and skills as critical to your success as a law school student:

  • Analytic and problem solving skills
  • Critical reading abilities
  • Writing skills
  • Oral communication/listening abilities
  • Research skills
  • Task organization/management skills
  • Public service and promotion of justice

Saint Mary’s places emphasis on writing skills with the W, or Writing Proficiency Program, ensuring that graduates are skilled writers not just in their major. The Sophia Program promotes leadership; critical thinking, analytic, and problem solving skills; and awareness of social justice.

“Success in law school — and later in one’s career as an attorney — requires more than skill and critical thinking. It requires the ability to communicate effectively. This means writing in a clear, straightforward manner that clients, other attorneys and judges understand; listening to clients to understand their legal needs; and speaking so clients understand you. Saint Mary’s emphasis on communication — regardless of your major — especially through its writing proficiency program provides the foundation necessary for a career dependent on good communication skills.  And because of my ability to organize my thoughts clearly and develop my ideas effectively in my writing, I was more easily able to adapt to writing like a lawyer, putting me well ahead of my peers when I started law school.” ~Janet Horvath ’00, partner at Jones Oberchain 

To learn more about how Saint Mary's pre-law, read our Pre-Law Guide for Saint Mary's Students.

According to the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement, Saint Mary’s seniors rated the College higher than the national average in several of the skill categories the ABA listed as beneficial to successful law students.

Contribution of Educational Experience:

Percent of seniors saying educational experience contributed “quite a bit” or “very much” to their knowledge, skills, and development in:


Saint Mary’s College Seniors

Seniors Nationally

Writing clearly and effectively



Thinking critically and analytically



Being an informed and active citizen



Source: 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement *All differences are significantly different at the p.<.05 level.

Many Saint Mary’s alumnae have gone to graduate from law school. Our own president, Carol Ann Mooney ’72, graduated from Saint Mary’s with an English degree, and graduated first in her class from law school. Some examples of other alumnae who attended law school after Saint Mary’s include:

  • Legal counsel, Rolls Royce
  • Assistant Attorney General, Iowa State Government
  • Corporate Counsel, Claire’s Boutiques
  • Law Clerk, US Government
  • Attorney/International tax consultant, Deloitte Foundation
  • Assistant Professor of Legal Practice, Louisiana State University
  • Partner, Jones Obenchain, LLP
  • Associate Counsel, Department of Veteran’s Affairs
  • Staff Attorney, Community Legal Services/Farmworker Unit/Programa Campesino
  • Principal & Attorney, MercerTrigiani
  • Chief Food and Drug Councel, Kraft Foods
  • Attorney-LSO Unit, Army Reserves JAG Corp
  • Associate Circuit Judge of Criminal and Traffic, St. Louis County Circuit Court
  • Attorney, Walgreens
  • Judge, Cook County Circuit Court
  • Judge, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Assistant Counsel/Attorney, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
  • Trust Administration Attorney, JP Morgan Chase