Former Criminology and Criminal Justice students Tara Scholz Stingley, Kelsey Deabler and Richard Tast at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Stingley, a 2005 UNL College of Law graduate and current partner at Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, LLP speaks to Deabler and Tast who are currently attending the UNL Law School.
Pre Law Planning
How do I decide my major?
You can complete any degree in preparation for law school but you will want to consider including courses that will help you develop the skills and knowledge that are important for law school. You will need excellent reading, writing, communication and critical thinking skills.
You will also want to choose the major that you are most interested in. A strong undergraduate GPA is an important criteria for admission to law school and it is likely that you will do best in a field of study that you enjoy.
Consider what secondary career option you might choose if you changed your mind on attending law school. The Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice (BCCJ) may be your best option if you are also interested in other areas in courts and law, probation, corrections, parole, juvenile services, law enforcement, private security or victim services.
Why choose Criminology and Criminal Justice?
- The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is ranked among top programs in the country providing students the opportunity to study with nationally recognized faculty.
- The BCCJ degree allows a lot of choices in core requirement, major, minor and elective areas to help students choose courses most beneficial for law school. The program emphasizes the development of critical thinking, problem solving, writing, and oral communication skills. Criminology and Criminal Justice courses provide students with a broad knowledge of law and legal terminology and understanding of the criminal justice system as a whole.
- Students will have the opportunity to take criminal law and criminal procedure courses to determine if they have the aptitude and enjoy the study of law and legal research.
- The criminology and criminal justice internship program is an excellent opportunity for students to get into law related agencies to determine if law school is their primary choice as a profession. The internship is a tremendous opportunity to obtain experience as well as references that will be important for admission to law school.
- Students may take advantage of numerous student opportunities such as the Criminal Justice Student Association, Alpha Phi Sigma (the national criminal justice honorary society), London Study Abroad program, the Juvenile Justice Mentoring program, and UCARE Research Fellowships.
Law Related Internships
The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has established internship opportunities with nearly fifty justice agencies. Whether your interest is in law, courts, law enforcement, probation, parole, corrections, juvenile services or other related areas, you will receive valuable experience and contacts in the field to enhance your career development. Pre-law students may choose from a variety of legal/courts related agencies such as:
- Gage County Attorney (Beatrice)
- Hall County Public Defender's Office
- Lancaster County Public Defender
- Legal Aid of Nebraska
- Legislative Judiciary Committee
- Nebraska Attorney General
- Nebraska Legal Services
- Nebraska State Court Administrator
- Office of Public Guardian/Nebraska Supreme Court
- Seward County Attorney's Office
What do CRCJ interns have to say?
“When I started my internship…one goal was to gain some knowledge about what a lawyer really does at the office all day long. I saw everything from trial, paperwork and research. The good thing about this was I realized that I loved doing that kind of work. This made me feel a lot more confident about going to law school.”
“I felt as though I did attain my goals of understanding the role of a defense attorney and what the job entails while also developing my communication skills. I felt like I accomplished my goals and that my experience as an intern was beneficial to my future and knowledge of practicing law. While I was doing my internship I found myself enjoying the work I was doing. I was able to do a lot of the things that law clerks do. This experience was extremely valuable and I am excited about the future.”
Kylee Muir, CRCJ Intern, Boucher Law Firm
“This internship was a very positive experience for me. The experiences that I had and the skills I have learned are invaluable. I really enjoyed working alongside the investigator and trying to absorb all the knowledge he has. This internship has been one of the most beneficial classes I have taken here at UNL.”
Ray Hastings, CRCJ Intern, Lancaster County Public Defender
“I had a fantastic internship experience and learned a lot of valuable information while helping Nebraska's consumers stay up to date on common scams and frauds and helping mediate their issues with various businesses across the United States. What I learned has been beneficial not only for my future career goals but also in preparing me for law school. I also appreciated the opportunity to continue working once my internship was over so I could continue to grow and learn more to help consumers.”
Jenifer Beason, CRCJ Intern, Nebraska Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division
Pre-Law Advising at UNL
Regardless of the major selected, students interested in attending law school can take advantage of professional pre-law advising to learn as much as possible about preparing for law school, applying for law school and attending law school.