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Law School Admissions Requirement


During your junior year of college, you should begin investigating law schools.  The easiest place to start is on the Web.  Law school websites usually contain information about faculty, curriculum, clinical programs, law journals, facilities, and applications and admissions. We include a listing of law schools' websites.  Some law schools allow you to download their application materials from their websites.  Others will send an application package to you on request.  You can buy law school application software packages on CD-ROM, or download them from the Web. 

To compare different law schools, consult law school ranking and information guides.  You can find several in any bookstore, and there are also websites that contain such comparative information.

Don't overlook your college prelaw advisor.  This person usually has information from Law Services like the Information Book and other publications, and can answer questions about local law schools, their admission criteria, and their admission procedures.  You should also speak to friends, business associates, and others who have attended law school to get their input.  Choosing where to go to law school is an important decision that should be based upon more than your GPA and LSAT score.

You apply to law schools during the fall semester of your senior year.  Ideally, by that time you have registered with the LSDAS, arranged for your official transcripts to be sent, and taken (and made a good score on) the LSAT. The only thing left to do, aside from completing the applications, is to arrange for letters of recommendation.

Most law schools require at least two letters of recommendation, and many put a cap on the number of letters they will accept on behalf of each applicant.  You should make arrangements for these letters early during the fall semester of your senior year, and anticipate that it will take four weeks for the letters to be written and sent.  Law schools vary in their recommendation letter formats.  Some provide preprinted forms to be filled out, while others have no required format at all.  Nearly all law schools want the letters of recommendation to be sent by the letter writers, or they take other steps to ensure that the letters are not tampered with by applicants.  Give careful thought to the people you ask to write letters of recommendation.  The rule of thumb is that a lukewarm or bad letter will hurt your chances more than a good letter will help.

Law schools want you to visit their campuses so you can see firsthand what they have to offer.  However, few law schools require a visit or an interview as part of the application process.  The number of applications each law school receives would make this too time consuming and cumbersome.  Generally, only the top law schools interview applicants, and even then, just a few are interviewed as a sort of "tie breaking" procedure.  If you have truly special circumstances that you want a law school to consider when reviewing your application, or if you have a disability and would like to find out about a law school's ability to accommodate you, you can certainly request an interview.  Policies are different from school to school, but most are willing to at least talk with you and learn about your situation.

Try to have your applications done and sent (via certified mail, return receipt requested) by early to mid-November.  That way, you avoid being distracted by late semester school activities.  In addition, getting your applications in early may give you the advantage of lower admission indexes.  Once your application at a law school is complete, the school will notify you, usually by letter or postcard.  If you think you have done everything you need to do, but a few weeks pass and you have not received that notification, contact the admissions office to confirm that your application materials have all been received.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Next: Law School Personal Statement (The Law School Essay)




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