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Why Is Economics a Good Degree to Have for Law School?

by Kevin Wandrei, studioD

Besides having a high LSAT score and a strong GPA, law schools generally have few prerequisites in admissions, meaning students can major in whatever they choose. Economics, however, is a degree that provides particularly good training for success in law school. The skills that an economist uses are similar to those of law school students, making economics a smart major for a law school hopeful.

Rational Thinking

Law school and economics have one important thing in common: rational thinking. Economics emphasizes its assumption of rational decision making, while law is founded on the basis of objective and rational arbitration. Majoring in economics in undergrad is strong preparation in concepts like decision analysis, cost-benefit calculations and rational choice theory. Studying them will make law school courses like civil procedure and legal writing a lot more intuitive, since they are theoretically similar to economics.

Behavioral Psychology

To an outsider, economics seems like it's all about money, but in reality it's about psychology. For example, the burgeoning field of behavioral economics examines how people actually make -- or don't make -- rational decisions. Behavioral economics focuses on how people make decisions differently when the same items are presented in different ways. Understanding these concepts is enormously helpful when making an argument in law school, because it helps to know that how you present something matters as much as what it is you present.

Careful Reasoning Skills

An economics major also acquires the careful reasoning skills that are good preparation for law school. Economics demands that students consider the implications of tiny and minute changes in a marketplace. A change in the environment, for example, could radically throw off supply and demand for certain agricultural products. Being able to discern the big impacts of very small changes encourages attention to detail. In law school and beyond in legal careers, close attention to the tiny details of an argument is an extremely valuable skill.

Money Matters

Understanding money matters is also important in law school. Many law school students arrive unprepared to study legal concepts surrounding equities, securities, real estate and insurance markets. Economics majors, however, have a leg up over their peers because they understand the theoretical and practical foundations of these economic issues. Topics in corporate and financial law all make sense to economics majors in ways they don't for students with other undergraduate majors. Furthermore, a background in economics helps law school graduates secure desirable and high-paying jobs.

About the Author

Kevin Wandrei has written extensively on higher education. His work has been published with Kaplan, Textbooks.com, and Shmoop, Inc., among others. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Cornell University.

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