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