The Summer Institute of Pre-Legal Studies (Pre-Legal)   

The Pre-Legal program is a five-week, residential, skill-building program which requires a total commitment of time and energy. Courses are offered in legal writing, legal analysis, written communications, and two substantive areas of the law such as contracts, property, agency, or constitutional law.

Classes are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additional class sessions, time and stress management skills programs, and career orientation workshops are scheduled on evenings and weekends.

All substantive law classes are taught by law school faculty,  practicing attorneys, and judges. Class attendance is mandatory.  Like law school, Pre-Legal is a full-time commitment.


The Pre-Legal program is designed for college students with socio-economic and/or educational disadvantage and an interest in the law. In 2010, Pre-Legal celebrated its 30th Anniversary here at Seton Hall Law and boasts scores of graduates over the years who are enjoying successful careers in and outside the legal profession. Headed by civil rights pioneer Professor Brenda Saunders-Hampden and funded through the Educational Opportunity Fund of the Commission on Higher Education of New Jersey, the Pre-Legal program is a five-week, residential, skill-building program designed to replicate the academic challenges of the first year of law school. Classes are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and courses are offered in legal writing, legal analysis, written communications, and two substantive areas of the law such as contracts, property, agency, or constitutional law. Additional class sessions, time and stress management skills programs, LSAT prep and career orientation workshops are scheduled on evenings and weekends. All substantive law classes are taught by law school faculty,  practicing attorneys, and judges.

Although the primary purpose of Pre-Legal is to increase the number of disadvantaged students who apply and gain admission to an accredited law school, by creating a realistic expectation of the demands of law school and the legal profession, the program also serves as an opportunity for students to make an intelligent determination as to whether law school is the correct career choice for them. Now entering its 34th program year, Pre-Legal has been a tremendous success. Over the years, approximately 650 students have participated in the program (approximately 100 in the last 5 years). Of the program participants who decide to apply to law school, over 80 percent are accepted.

In recent years, the Pre-Legal program has

  1. Added an LSAT component during the summer and fall and has assisted students with additional funds for LSAT instruction from commercial prep-courses such as Kaplan and Princeton Review;
  2. Conducted an outreach endeavor to assist students who are applying to law school by a) reviewing personal statements, b) writing letters of recommendation, c) and keeping such students apprised of the various law fairs and services available to them;
  3. Furthered our outreach to include more community college students;
  4. Invited high school students to many of its activities and participated in Law Day programs in the public schools to foster awareness and recruitment.

To apply to the Pre-Legal program, click here.