711 E. 51st Street
- Mailing Address
- University of Missouri-Kansas City
- 5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
- Program Coordinator:
- Carla Oppenheimer, J.D.
UMKC Pre-Law Program
The UMKC Pre-law Program is designed to help you make wise decisions about becoming a lawyer. It provides advice and information concerning the best possible path for each individual student, from the first semester of undergraduate courses to admission into law school.
The first thing to note about joining the Program is that it is not a major. There is no one major that prepares you for law school. In fact, there are over 30 majors at UMKC that a student may choose from and be on track for entrance into law school.
To garner the skills necessary for success, the pre-law student should select a curriculum that hones and develops superior writing skills, along with excellent oral communication, logical reasoning, and critical reading skills.
It is not enough, however, to be prepared for the academic rigors of law school. You’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you really want to become a lawyer?
- What law schools should you apply to?
- What does it mean to be a lawyer?
- What area of the law do you want to practice in?
- What are the alternative careers available to someone with a law degree?
When you have made the decision to pursue acceptance into law school, you’ll need details on how to go about successfully presenting yourself to the admissions committee in your application. The Program provides answers to the following questions:
- What do you need to do to apply to law school?
- What do you need to do to succeed in law school?
- How can you afford law school?
UMKC's School of Law and The College of Arts and Sciences offer the motivated student a faster track to a legal education. While an undergraduate degree is usually a requirement for admission into law school, UMKC offers students the opportunity to start law school after completing as little as 90 undergraduate credit hours. Students then complete their undergraduate degree with law school credits. By overlapping credits, students can shorten the length of time necessary for completing their education by as much as one year.
A student's first 30 hours at UMKC's School of Law may fulfill as many as 30 credit hours of non-Arts and Sciences electives towards an undergraduate degree. Therefore, if a student completes all of the general education, major, and upper-level requirements, leaving only elective credits to receive an undergraduate degree, the student may apply to the law school at UMKC.
If accepted, the student can start law school without having actually received an undergraduate bachelor's degree. The student will receive the undergraduate degree after earning the requisite amount of law school credits necessary to fulfill the remaining amount of undergraduate elective credits (up to 30 hours).
Any student who is pursuing a degree in The College of Arts and Sciences may participate. The 90+ program does not guarantee admission into UMKC's School of Law. Participants must apply and otherwise qualify for law school admission by having a competitive undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.
Road to Admission
Any interested student should meet early and often with the pre-law advisor. Given the number of requirements that must be satisfied in such a short period of time, potential 90+ students must monitor their progress with great care.
There are a number of necessary tasks to be completed by the student in order to qualify for the 90+ Program:
- The final 30 hours prior to enrolling in UMKC’s School of Law must be from courses in UMKC's College of Arts and Sciences.
- Requirements to be completed prior to enrollment at UMKC’s School of Law:
- All general education requirements
- All major requirements (and those for a minor if student chooses to complete a minor)
- 36 hours of junior/senior (300/400-level) coursework
- Application for Graduation: After earning approximately 60-75 credit hours, the interested student should apply for graduation in the Arts and Sciences Advising Office (Scofield Room 9). Students should note on the application for graduation that they are 90+ Program candidates. As part of the graduation process, the student must schedule an audit with her/his major/minor advisors after applying for graduation. A general education audit will also be done, requiring the student to meet again with an advisor in the A&S Advising Office. The audit should be completed by the end of the fall semester prior to starting law school.
Students that are able to finish any necessary requirements prior to enrollment at the School of Law are encouraged to create a plan with the pre-law advisor directly after all audits are complete.
- Letter of Interest: After applying for graduation and completing the audit, the student must contact the pre-law advisor to arrange to have a letter sent to UMKC’s School of Law stating that there is a plan in place that will allow the student to complete all requirements prior to enrolling in the law school the following fall. The advisor will send the letter to the law school at the end of the semester after all the required course work is completed. This process should be done during the student’s last year of undergraduate study.
UMKC College Mock Trial Program
The UMKC College Mock Trial program is a member of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). At the beginning of every school year, AMTA provides a case which is available to all members on its website. Using the case materials and the various rules of evidence and procedure (based on the rules that govern practice in United States federal courts), the student teams of 6-8 present the case in front of judges in competitions against teams from around the Midwest, as well as the entire nation. Students can participate either as attorneys, witnesses, or both.
Mock Trial is an excellent activity for those students who are considering attending law school for several reasons. First, it provides the student with a taste of one aspect of being a lawyer: trial litigation. While the mock trials are not perfect replicas of a real-world trial, they are structured in the same format and they do call upon the same skills that a real trial lawyer needs to succeed. The experience can prove valuable in that it can help students decide if they really want to attend law school and go on to practice law. Moreover, mock trial helps the student develop those skills that make trial lawyers successful, such as:
- Superior oral communication skills
- The ability to quickly develop and articulate a logical, persuasive argument
- An understanding of the rules of evidence
Of course, the UMKC College Mock Trial program is not just for pre-law students. The oral communication and logical reasoning skills that are honed in mock trial will benefit all students, regardless of their intended vocation. Doctors, politicians, business persons, pharmacists, teachers, accountants, and just about every other potential profession rely to some degree on these skills.
Requirements for Joining the Team
Participation is only open to current UMKC undergraduate students who do not have a prior graduate or professional degree or prior UMKC students who have graduated within 120 days of the tournament. This is an official AMTA requirement.
Students interested in becoming members of the program should contact the coach, Jessica Bernard at email@example.com.