Navigating the Application Process
The Director of Legal Professions Advising is available for advising appointments to review each detailed step of the application process along with discussing the standard application timeline.
In order to take the LSAT and apply to law school you will need to register with both the Law School Admission Council site and the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS). There is a separate fee for registering to take the LSAT and to sign-up for the CAS.
The LSAT is a standardized test administered by the Law School Admission Council and is used by all law schools in making admissions decisions. It is a key factor in the admissions decision process. The test is composed of Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning question types. The test also includes a writing sample that is not scored but is sent on to the law schools that you apply to.
The LSAT is offered 4 times a year (June, October, December, February). It is recommended that you take the June LSAT during the year you are applying. So, for example, if you are planning on attending law school right after completing your undergraduate degree, you should sit for the exam in June at the end of your junior year.
Each law school will look at your LSAT scores differently (some consider an average, some consider your high score, and some consider your most recent score) and this is something you need to consider when preparing for the exam as well as deciding to retake it.
More information on the LSAT can be obtained from LSAC’s site here.
You will need to provide an official copy of your transcripts sent from the Registrar directly to the CAS. For more information about which institutions you need a transcript from, please visit the LSAC website here.
In order to request your F&M Transcript you will need the LSAC Transcript Request Form as well as the transcript request form from the Registrar, which can be obtained here. Bring or send both forms to the Registrar for processing.
*It is recommended that you obtain a copy of your transcripts before requesting them to be sent to the CAS so that you can review them for accuracy, however the official transcript must come from the Registrar.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Most law schools require at least 2 letters of recommendation and some allow you to send up to four (it is suggested that you obtain at least 3). It is strongly recommended that you have two faculty recommendation letters. You can seek other recommendation letters from TAs, supervisors or professional mentors as well.
The Letter of Recommendation Form must accompany each letter of recommendation you submit. You will need to either have an email sent to your recommenders from the CAS with the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Form, or print off the completed Letter of Recommendation Form and give it to your recommenders so they can mail it with their letter. Letters and the Recommendation Form should be returned directly to LSAC.
More information on letters of recommendation can be obtained from LSAC’s site here.
Many law schools require or allow for a resume. You should take your law school resume seriously, as if you were applying to a job. Your resume should include your education, internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, leadership roles, honors, etc. Your resume should not include anything about high school and it is recommended to stay away from including skills or interests unless they are difficult skills to obtain or unique interests. For example, foreign language experience is a great skill to include but understanding Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint should not be included as it is expected you have that familiarity.
Resumes should look professional and have at least half inch margins with 10 to 12 point font. I recommend Times New Roman font. There is much debate as to whether the law school resume should be limited to one page or if it can exceed that. Some schools will have requirements so in those instances follow the instructions of the law school. If there is no instruction, I believe it is acceptable to have a two-page resume if it is warranted. Many people enter the workforce prior to going to law school and they need the space to share their professional history.
The personal statement is a major component of your application and in many instances can be the deciding factor as to your admittance. Interviews are not typically part of the law school application process so that means your personal statement is your interview. It is an opportunity to share information about yourself that the Admissions Committee could not ascertain from your other application materials. A personal statement should be just that, “personal.”
Personal statements are usually two pages, double-spaced but some schools may have different requirements. Make sure to abide by the specific guidelines for each school to which you are applying.
Many law schools have Optional Essays (e.g., Diversity Statements) that they allow applicants to respond to. You should not treat an optional essay as “optional.” If you are allowed to write it, you should do so.
In addition, there may be circumstances in which you need to explain certain information in your application (e.g., low grades, low LSAT scores, prior misconduct, prior criminal history, etc.). You should write an Addendum to address these issues.
Some law schools require a Dean’s Certification stating whether or not you had any academic or conduct violations while you were a student. If you are an F&M student or alumni please contact me if you are applying to a school that requires a Dean’s Certification.
The recommended study time for the LSAT is 4 to 5 months in advance. It is recommended that you register for the LSAT 2 to 3 months in advance. Remember to file for a fee waiver or for any accommodation (if needed) as soon as possible after registering.
- Take the June LSAT
- Begin research on possible law schools to apply to/ attend
- Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
- Have transcripts sent to the CAS
- Complete Resume
- Reach out to faculty and others for Recommendation Letters
- Take October LSAT if you did not take June or are retaking the test
- Ensure Recommendation Letters have been sent to the CAS
- Applications open for most law schools (typically early October)
- Draft Personal Statement
- Write Diversity Statement and any necessary Addendum
- Firm up list of law schools to apply to
- Deadline for Early Admissions Decisions for many law schools is November
- Complete regular admission applications by Thanksgiving
- Many Merit Based Scholarship deadlines are in November
- Take December LSAT (If you did not take June or October, or are retaking the test)
- Send fall quarter transcripts to CAS and requesting schools
- February 1 – Typically absolute last application deadline for most law schools
- Complete FAFSA and any other necessary financial aid applications
- (Note – a February LSAT is offered)
February to April
- Start to receive responses to your applications
- Respond to any Wait List issues