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Named in honor of the late Senior U.S. District Judge Filemon B. Vela, the UTB Pre-Law Academy is a law school preparatory program for UTB students and graduates interested in pursuing a career in law offered as a college credit course during Summer Session II.

Academic Preparation at UTB for Law School

All accredited law schools in the state (i.e., Baylor University Law School, Southern Methodist University Deadman School of Law, South Texas College of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law, The University of Houston Law Center, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and The University of Texas at Austin School of Law) require the following from applicants prior to admission: (1) a bachelor’s degree, (2) superior grades, and (3) a satisfactory score on the Law School Admission Test. The Newsletter of the Pre-Law Advisors National Council has stated that, while no one major is preferred by law schools, “there is a common consensus that a broad-based academic experience, well grounded in the liberal arts, provides the best preparation for law school.” Pre-Law students should approach their curriculum as developing a set of useful skills, transferable to the law school setting. One should keep in mind that the spoken and written words are the principal tools of the legal profession. Those who intend to study law must develop an excellent knowledge and grasp of the English language, as well as a clear and concise style of expression. Students should seek out courses that require substantial research and writing assignments, and provide critiques of those skills.

UTB strongly recommends that courses be taken from the following academic departments during their junior and senior years as their major curriculum permits: Criminal Justice; Business (specifically, Business Law); History; Philosophy (the Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, and Logic courses); Government  courses such as Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law: Federalism, and Judicial Process; Speech (especially Fundamentals of Speech); and Behavioral Sciences courses. Pre-Law students are urged to join the Pre-Law Club at UTB and to consult with the various faculty members on the UTB campus who are lawyers (Mark Blakemore, J.D., Lecturer in Business Administration; Serena Putegnat, J.D., University Relations Officer). The Filemon B. Vela Pre-Law Academy is a preparatory program for current UTB undergraduate or graduate students who are interested in pursuing a career as an attorney. The program is also open to alumni of UTB and to the general public on a limited basis with priority given to current UTB students. This course is offered during the first summer session (ALAW 4368 Pre-Law Academy). A student may obtain more information regarding the academy by contacting Linda Ufland at 956-882-8266, Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.

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