Before you start looking into law schools, it’s important determine if law school is the right option for you. Think about why you want a law degree, and whether it’s the best option, and best degree, for what you want to do.
There is also no ‘penalty’ for waiting a year or two before heading to law school. In fact, it may work to your advantage. So take your time to decide, and think carefully about the pros and cons.
Below is information on:
Identify and Research Law Schools
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 different?
Law schools offer students the following opportunities to gain practical experience:
- Clinics- practice law under supervision.
- Journals open to student participation.
- Student organizations-networking and leadership with fellow students and local professionals.
• Law Services Admissions Council – This site answers basic questions and links to other resources under the Future JD Students section.
Search by Number
- LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools – Use the searchable function of this guide to get an estimate on your ‘chances of acceptance,’ for many of the law schools. (This calculation is based solely on GPA and LSAT. Acceptance is NOT solely based on numbers, but 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 and some rankings by specialty area.
NAPLA/SAPLA Book of Lists - Contains information about joint degree programs, specialty programs, admission information, bar passage rates, scholarships, study abroad, student journals, and more.
ABA Required Disclosures – Generates individual school reports that list the school’s tuition and fees, grants and scholarships, GPA and LSAT scores of students who applied, got offers and matriculated students, student demographics, bar passage rates and more.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) site is a great resource for applying to law school. You can use this 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. You can find more information on the LSAT website.
The following sites are great resources for preparing 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/recommendations 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 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
Law schools and other graduate programs may refer to the type of statement they require using any of the above terms. In general, a personal statement may be a more comprehensive or broad essay on you, your story, and your qualifications for that program or field. A statement of purpose is usually more focused on the specific program.
Some general tips:
- Be sure to answer the question or prompt clearly.
- Highlight your main qualifications for 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 what about their program is appealing to you and what criteria you used in selecting programs to apply to.
- Your statement should stand alone, but also complement the rest of your application. Think about each part of your application as a spotlight, each clarifying why you are applying and why you are qualified for their program.
- Have a writing tutor, faculty member, career advisor, or someone your trust review your statement. However, when incorporating edits remember that the voice should remain yours.
- And finally, be sure to proof your document carefully. It’s important to provide a well-written and error-free document.
There may be aspects of your application that you feel deserve, or need, an explanation. 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.
See our resume page for information on how to write a resume. We also suggest stopping by during our drop-in hours to have one of our career advisors critique your resume.
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! See our Graduate School Interview section for some tips.Review the graduate school interview guide (PDF) either on your own or with a career advisor to make sure you’re prepared.
We also suggest doing a mock interview, either with a friend, family member, WSAP speaking tutor or one of our career advisors.
See AdmissionsDean.com’s law school timeline.
See the following sites for information on how to get funding for graduate school: