The Law School Application Process
NOTE: This section is adapted from the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools (2011 edition).
There are several steps to consider when applying to law schools. You must start the process early, and always track deadlines. Some find it helpful to either create a timeline using Excel, or by hand.
- First, you must register with the Law School Admission Council, or LSAC at www.lsac.org. You must also register with the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS). For a fee, you will provide them with all required information, such as transcripts, applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, etc., and CAS will submit that material, along with your LSAT results, to the law schools of your choice. In addition to the fee charged by CAS, you will also have to pay a fee per school for CAS to send the report. Most law schools do require that you use the CAS service.
- If you do not have access to a computer, a paper form is available. You will need to call LSAC to obtain that, at 215.968.1001. However, you are encouraged to register online if at all possible.
- Take the LSAT, or Law School Admissions Test. You also register for the LSAT at www.lsac.org. You will pay a fee (for 2010-2011, that fee is $136). You can choose to obtain your results by computer or by mail (note that you receive the results more quickly by computer). The LSAT is administered four (4) times per year, and you should consider taking the test early (meaning either June or October). Although the LSAT is given in February, some law schools do not accept February scores. Be aware of the registration deadlines for the LSAT, as they are typically 5-6 weeks BEFORE the actual test. The test is always on Saturdays. However, there are alternative test times for those who observe a Sabbath on Saturdays.
- If you are unable to pay the fee for the LSAT, please check with the LSAC to determine if you qualify for a fee waiver.
- Once you have completed these steps, it’s time to think about the admission process. You must remember to have your application COMPLETE, or typically it will not be reviewed by the law school admissions committee.
- Consider applying to a number of schools, and apply EARLY. According to the ABA-LSAC Official Guide, in 2009 50% of law school applicants applied to up to 5 law schools.
- There are usually three tiers of admission reviews: those candidates accepted immediately, those candidates rejected immediately, and a large block of candidates that will undergo additional review and discussion. If you are in this middle group, you may be placed on a waiting list. If this happens to you, check with the law school to see if they will tell you your ranking on the waiting list. This may help you make decisions about accepting a place at an alternate law school.
- Your transcripts, including your GPA, will be scrutinized. Admissions committees may also look to your ability to be a leader by reviewing your participation in extracurricular activities. Be sure to list any internships or relevant work experience as well.
- The school(s) to which you apply may request that you submit letters of recommendation. Be thoughtful when considering who may best provide a recommendation for you. It should be an individual who knows you, and who can best compare your performance with other students, or possibly in a work setting. Ask the person if they would be willing, and able, to give you such a recommendation. You will then provide that individual’s name and contact information to LSAC and CAS, who will then send that person an e-mail with instructions on how to electronically submit the letter of recommendation.
- You will also be asked to write a personal statement as part of the application process. This needs to be very well written. Consider showing it to others, perhaps one of your teachers or Pre-Law Mentor(s), to offer suggestions or comments. A description of what you may, and may not, want to include in your personal statement can be found at
- Once you are accepted, you will most likely have to pay a deposit. Check with each school to determine the amount, and the due date, of that deposit.