Philosophy, criminal justice, political science… Most of us are familiar with the standard pre-law majors students choose. But what about psychology? How valuable is it as preparation for law school and a law career? In short, the answer is very! If you have any doubt that psychology is a great pre-law major, then read ahead! Here’s why a psychology major lawyer has an edge over other majors.
Psychology and Law Go Hand-in-Hand
“Law is about the regulation of human behavior; psychology is the study of human behavior.” Understanding how humans think and behave should help you in all facets of law. Consequently, if you’re aiming to write laws that will prevent bad behaviors, psychology helps you predict which rules will be effective. On the other hand, it helps you know which rules might actually backfire.
Next, in the courtroom, how can you account for potential witness errors? And how will you deal with a jury and criminal defense? Or how will you handle false confessions? Ultimately, if the law aims to shape our society, it’s important to understand the thinking behind it.
Psychology is Essential to Justice
Unfortunately, natural human thinking can often lead to incorrect judgments. In turn, incorrect judgments can lead to innocent people being punished for crimes they didn’t commit. By studying the ways our brain can lead us away from the truth, even in the face of objective evidence, psychology majors can work towards justice.
Psychology courses like Memory help students gain insight into eyewitness errors like mis-identification, which could lead to wrongful convictions. Or, at Stanford, courses like The Psychology of Bias: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination, are extremely relevant in law enforcement and prosecution.
Psychology Helps with Social Relations
Attorneys are always building relationships as a part of their daily lives. They relate with people for most of their days. Activities range from networking, to building relationships with judges and fellow lawyers. Lawyers often guide clients and relate to them. So, psychology will help you understand how people make these connections. You’ll also be prepared to maintain them as well as possible. This should certainly put you ahead in your career!
Psychology Prepares you for Negotiations
Lawyers have to handle negotiation all the time! Whether it’s during mediation or in handling contracts, psychology comes in handy! Understanding the psychology behind negotiations helps in contract law, family law, or practically any negotiation situation. There’s always a science behind how people behave and make decisions. Wouldn’t it be an advantage to know how to present an idea to make it more likely that your opponent will accept it? That’s where courses like Negotiation and Conflict Resolution come in.
Convinced To Become a Psychology Major Lawyer?
There are plenty of undergrad major options that are not pre-law if you want to be an attorney, but Psychology is a pretty solid choice. Keep in mind also that your major doesn’t define every class you take in undergrad. You can also take courses in criminal justice, political science, or even business to ensure you have a well-rounded education that prepares you for law school. Have any more reasons why it’s great to be a psychology major lawyer? Share them in the comments!