STEM Degrees in Law School

Caleb GreenYou might be surprised when I tell you that law schools represent a diverse set of professional and academic backgrounds. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a humanities, liberal arts or social science background to attend and succeed in law school. In fact, a background or degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) can serve to your advantage from the admissions stage throughout your matriculation through your juris doctorate program. As a STEM degree graduate, I believe this is very true in the schools around our nation, but especially at the William S. Boyd School of Law.

Law school courses are all about critical thinking. It goes beyond simply memorizing facts and cases, and pushes students to exercise an increased level of mental rigor and performance needed to be quality attorneys. For many students, this is foreign practice and it often takes time for some to become acclimated to the academic demands of law school. However, for those with hard science and technical backgrounds, it can be an easier transition into this new threshold of academia. STEM academics are immersed in curriculums that require the critical thinking skills necessary to be a quality law student.

STEM degrees also prepare students for the constant introduction to new concepts. Each week in law school, you are inundated with new mechanism of substantive or procedural law. You may think that your mathematics or engineering classes cannot translate, but the contrary is true. The rigors of a STEM curriculum introduce demanding concepts that reflect the nature of abstractness experienced in the law classroom. Your mathematics backgrounds might prove to be useful when determining damages in your torts class. Perhaps, your ability to grasp how a computer program works may aid your understanding of the transcendent details of counterclaims and crossclaims in your civil procedure class.

Another advantage is the job market. There is also a growing demand for lawyers with STEM backgrounds. Intellectual property law is an expanding field of law, however, to pursue a career in areas such as patent law, a hard science degree is necessary. Companies and law firms are looking for bright attorneys that can address their business and clientele’s technical needs. As Nevada continues to diversify, this demand will continue to develop and expand. As our state’s economy continues to evolve, perhaps it’s time you consider if your STEM degree or background can bear more fruits than you think.

- Caleb Green (Class of 2019)