Applying for Law School
When to start the application process?
- While it is never too early to start thinking about law school, you want to seriously beginning preparing for applying for law schools 18 months before you intend to start law school.
- For those intending to start law school the fall immediately following college graduation, you should beginning preparing to apply fall of your junior year of college.
What do you need to apply for law school?
- Create an account with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and follow the instructions to “Create a New Account”. All of your application materials will go through this webpage.
All law school applicants must register for and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), administered by the Law School Admissions Council. Your LSAT score will automatically be submitted to your selected school through your LSAC account.
What is the purpose of your resume?
In addition to highlighting your work experience, your resume for law school should highlight the other skills you have acquired that will enable you to succeed in law school that may not be found on a traditional job resume.
What should be included in your resume?
- Education: including study abroad experience
- Honors: including honors society members, awards, grants
- Work Experience: including hours worked and responsibilities
- Activities: including community service, professional responsibility, hobbies, clubs, leadership activities
- Skills: including language proficiencies
How far back should your resume go?
Your resume should not include any activities from high school unless those activities were continued through college.
How long can the resume be?
Generally, your resume should be no more than one page in length; however, this is not a hard rule and your resume can extend onto the second page as long as it only includes relevant information
Samples from Anna Ivey’s Guide to Law School Admissions (PDF)
Your personal statement will vary from school to school as each may have unique requirements. You want to make sure you address the prompt provided by the university, follows its specific formatting guidelines, and be sure to provide the information asked.
What is the purpose of the personal statement?
The personal statement is your chance to sell yourself to the law school by displaying your writing skills, personality, experiences, and to convince the admissions board that you would be a positive addition to their incoming class. It might be helpful to think of the personal statement you would a short interview in which you have a short amount of time to demonstrate who you and why you are suited to the school.
What are some don’ts?
- Use legal jargon
- Tell the admissions board what you think it wants to hear
- Explain discrepancies/problems with your application
- Sound arrogant, pompous, or egotistical
- Have grammatical or spelling errors
- Become cliche
- Use famous quotes
- Reiterate your resume in narrative form
- Be offensive
- Write about people other than yourself
What are some do’s?
- Leave yourself plenty of time to revise
- Have multiple people read your statement
- Be yourself
- Be honest
- GET HELP!!!
Contact Dr. Kaitlyn Sill (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get advice, help, or have someone else read your draft
Get professional help from Peg Cheng, Pre Law Guru
Letters of Recommendation
How many letters do I need?
In general, you will want 2 – 4 letters of recommendation; however, schools will specific the number of letters they will accept. Be sure to follow the school’s guidelines.
From who should I get letters?
If you are in college or a recent college graduate, schools want letters from your professors, specifically, professors who know you well, like you, can testify to your strengths as a students with regards to critical and analytical thinking, reading, and writing. Schools will accept letters from your employers, but these letters will be weighed less than those from faculty. If you have been out of college for more than 5 years, schools will be more accepting of letters from employers.
Tips for obtaining letters of recommendation
- Be strategic on who you ask for your letters and ensure that whoever you select will write you a positive letter.
- Ask professors IN PERSON early if they can and will write you a letter of recommendation.
- Provide your letter writers with your personal statement, a statement of why you want to attend law school, a resume, what characteristics you wish for them to speak to, and an overview of the classes you took with them and how you demonstrated those characteristics.
- Provide your professor with a deadline and ask if he or she would like a reminder.
- Follow up with your letter writers. Remember it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your letters are submitted and only you will be penalized if they are not.
Applications: application forms will be provided through LSAC
Transcripts: request official transcripts from ALL universities from which you’ve taken classes through LSAC or directly from the institution to be submitted to LSAC.