Before you begin exploring law school it’s important determine if it's the right option for you by thinking about why you want to pursue a law degree. There is no ‘penalty’ for waiting a year or two before heading to law school and in some cases waiting may work to your advantage. The following information will be helpful as you take the time to consider the pros and cons associated with pursuing law school:
When researching law schools it’s important to identify what elements are important to you. Is it the ranking of a program, a specialty area, geography, bar passage or employment rates, alumni connections, dual degree programs, or something unique? Law schools offer students the following opportunities to gain practical experience:
- Clinics (practicing law under supervision)
- Journals (open to student participation)
- Student organizations (networking and leadership with fellow students and local professionals)
- Law Services Admissions Council – Answers to your basic questions and links to other resources under the Future JD Students section.
Search by Number
- LSAC Official Guide to ABA - The searchable function of this guide provides an estimate on your ‘chances of acceptance’ for many law schools. This calculation is based solely on GPA and LSAT scores. While acceptance is NOT solely based on numbers, your GPA and LSAT score do play an important role.
- NAPLA Law School Locator – Find schools based on your GPA and LSAT score.
- US News and World Report Law School Rankings – Overall rankings including specialty areas.
- NAPLA/SAPLA Book of Lists - Information about joint degree programs, specialty programs, admission information, bar passage rates, scholarships, study abroad, student journals, and more.
- ABA Required Disclosures – Individual school reports including tuition and fees, grants and scholarships, GPA and LSAT scores of students who applied and received offers, student demographics, bar passage rates and more.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is a great resource to refer to when applying to law school. You can use their website to guide you through the entire application process and find resources on choosing a law school, taking the LSATs, financing law school, applying to law school, and more.
All students interested in law school are required to register for, and take, the LSAT. The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions and a 35-minute unscored writing sample. The LSAT is offered four times a year.
The following resources can help you prepare for the LSATs:
Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
You will need to register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), which will transmit your recommendations, transcripts, and LSAT score to the law schools. You cannot apply without registering.
Letter of Recommendations
Check the law school’s application for information on their requirements for your letters of recommendations. Many will request recommendations from faculty. If you are taking time-off or a gap year you can set up an online account through Interfolio to store your letters of recommendation.
Be sure to check your transcript for accuracy before submitting it. Information about requesting transcripts can be found on the Registrar’s transcript page.
Personal Statements, Statements of Purpose, or Essays
In general, a personal statement is a more comprehensive essay about you, your story, and your qualifications relating to a specific program or field of interest. A statement of purpose is usually more focused on the specific program.
Some general tips when crafting a personal statement:
- Be sure to answer questions in a clear and concise manner.
- Highlight your main qualifications related to the program
- Tell them what makes you unique; share your story, your experience or special qualifications
- Don't use up your statement space explaining what the law is - this is not an academic paper, it is a personal statement
- Let them know whey their program is appeals to you and what criteria you used in selecting the programs you applied to
- Think about each part of your application as a spotlight where you clarify why you are applying and why you are qualified for the program
- Have a writing tutor, faculty member, career advisor, or someone your trust review your statement
- Be sure to proof your document carefully to ensure that it is well-written and free of errors
There may be aspects of your application that you may need to elaborate on. If this isn't included in your other statements, you may opt to include an addendum. Addendums should be as brief and to the point as possible.
Our resumé page features a writing guide and industry-specific examples. We also suggest stopping by during our drop-in hours to have one of our career advisors critique your resumé.
Not all law schools offer interviews as part of their application process. If you have an option for an interview, you can use that to your advantage to present your qualifications! We also suggest doing a mock interview, either with a friend, family member, WSAP speaking tutor or one of our career advisors.
AdmissionsDean.com’s law school timeline outlines the deadlines you should be aware of.
The following resources have information on how you can obtain funding for graduate school: