Pre-Law Advisement Program
Niagara University's Pre-Law Advisement program prepares students interested in law to achieve their academic and professional goals at the highest levels. Open to students from all majors and classes, Niagara's Pre-Law Advisement program is designed to help students successfully navigate the path to law school and legal careers. The program's central goal is to ensure that each Niagara Pre-Law student gains the knowledge, skills, and practical experience needed to excel in law school and beyond.
Niagara University has many distinguished alumni in law and related fields, including law firm partners, state and federal judges, and leaders in government, politics, and business. And Niagara’s Pre-Law Advisement Program has a proven track record of helping students gain admission to the nation’s top law schools — including Harvard, Columbia, Virginia, Georgetown, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Boston University, George Washington, Fordham, Illinois, William and Mary, Florida, Ohio State, Penn State, New Hampshire, St. John's, Syracuse, and the University at Buffalo, among many others.
The Accelerated Bachelor's to J.D. (3+3) Program
Niagara University now offers Pre-Law students an accelerated pathway to a law degree from the University at Buffalo or St. John’s University. Students qualifying for the accelerated bachelor’s to J.D. (3+3) program can enter law school after just three years at Niagara. Qualifying students thus have the chance to earn their bachelor’s degree from Niagara and their juris doctor degree from either UB Law or St. John’s in a total of six years instead of the usual seven.
Courses in Law and Jurisprudence
Niagara University offers Pre-Law students a curriculum of remarkable quality and breadth. In addition to an introductory survey course on American law, the Political Science department offers courses in Constitutional Law — modeled on a first-year course at Harvard Law School — Civil Rights, Civil Liberties (First Amendment), Women and the Law, International Law, Environmental Law, Healthcare Law and Policy, and Mental Health Law, among others. And departments across campus offer courses focusing on different areas of law and the legal system, including Trial Advocacy, Criminal Law, Business Law, Sports Law, Media Law, and Philosophy of Law, among many others. These courses not only introduce important facets of law and legal institutions, they also help students develop proficiency in critical thinking, analysis of complex subject matter, and effective oral and written communication — skills that are essential in law and related disciplines.
Many Pre-Law students elect to pursue the Law and Jurisprudence minor (open to all majors), which gives students the flexibility to select from the numerous law-related course offerings in Political Science, Criminology and Criminal Justice, History, Philosophy, Communication and Media Studies, and other disciplines. Complete details can be found on the Law and Jurisprudence minor page.
All Niagara Pre-Law students are encouraged to complete at least one legal internship, which the Pre-Law Advisement Program and Career Services can help to arrange. In recent years students have interned with state and federal judges; in District Attorney's offices and the New York State Attorney General's office; with Public Defender's offices and with criminal defense attorneys; and in law firms across New York.
The centerpiece of Niagara's Pre-Law Advisement program is one-on-one advisement, which begins as soon as first-year students arrive on campus in the fall and continues through choosing a law school as seniors — and beyond. Niagara Pre-Law students have access to an experienced Pre-Law Advisor focused on helping students achieve their goals.
Starting their first semester on campus, Niagara Pre-Law students have countless opportunities to learn about the various fields of law through courses, internships, moot court competitions, law school visits, academic research, and discussions with the Pre-Law Advisor and other legal practitioners. For students who continue on the law school track, the Pre-Law Advisor serves as a resource and guide through every step of the process — from maximizing your score on the LSAT, to writing effective law school admissions essays, and, eventually, weighing competing offers from top law schools. To learn more about Niagara's Pre-Law Advisor, Kevin A. Hinkley, J.D., please visit Prof. Hinkley's faculty page.
Pre-Law Student Association and Honor Society
Most Niagara Pre-Law students actively participate in the Pre-Law Student Association, which sponsors a full slate of academic, professional, and social events throughout the academic year. Each fall the Pre-Law Student Association travels to regional and national law school conferences. And each spring the Pre-Law Student Association travels to Washington, DC, where students attend oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court. Follow the Pre-Law Association on Twitter @niagaraprelaw and Instagram @nuprelaw.
Niagara Pre-Law students who meet rigorous academic, professional, and ethical standards can earn induction into Phi Delta Phi, the International Legal Honor Society. Founded in 1869, Phi Delta Phi is the oldest legal society in the United States and one of the oldest professional organizations in the Western Hemisphere.
Niagara University's chapter of Phi Delta Phi is named in honor of Belva Lockwood, one of the most inspiring lawyers in United States history. Born in Niagara County, Belva Lockwood was a pioneering woman attorney, an independent presidential candidate (running twice, decades before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified), and the first woman Supreme Court advocate. Her shining example illuminates the highest ideals of the legal profession and offers inspiration to Niagara's Pre-Law students and Phi Delta Phi inductees.
If you have questions, or if you'd like additional information about Niagara's Pre-Law Advisement Program, please contact Prof. Hinkley.
Insight and Experience
Each spring Niagara Pre-Law students travel to Washington, DC, to attend oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court.