You Always Wanted to Know About Applying to Law School
Were Afraid to Ask
Professor of Political Science
Here are some links that should
get you started in your quest to find, and apply successfully to, the
law school of your choice. I'll start by tackling what is perhaps the
most common question I receive: "What major should I pursue if I want
to go to law school?" Here's what the American Bar Association (ABA) has to say on
"The American Bar Association does
not recommend any particular group of undergraduate majors, or
courses, that should be taken by those wishing to prepare for
legal education; developing such a list is neither possible nor
desirable. The law is too multifaceted, and the human mind too
adaptable, to permit such a linear approach to preparing for law
school or the practice of law. Nonetheless, there are important
skills and values, and significant bodies of knowledge, that can
be acquired prior to law school and that will provide a sound
foundation for a sophisticated legal education."
Your choice of
major, in the end, should be dictated by your scholarly interests.
Pursue your passion, challenge yourself intellectually, and develop
the skills that will serve you well in your legal career.
If, however, you're having second thoughts (or first
thoughts) about your decision to go to law school, then I'd
to a Young Law Student, courtesy of Slate's Dahlia Lithwick.
Here's a link to Cornell Law School Professor Michael Dorf's "How
to 'Think Like a Lawyer': Advice to New and Prospective Law
For advice on
maximizing your odds of acceptance to the law school of your choice,
I'd recommend this
page, courtesy of Dan Pinello of the John Jay College of
Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Also highly
recommended is FindLaw.com's collection
of pre-law links, as is Top-Law-Schools.com,
which features articles on virtually every aspect of the application
process, including this one on finding
a school in the New York market (though I should note that it's
targeting students who are seeking to work for big law firms, so if
you're not considering that career path, discount the author's advice
For guidance on
how to grapple with law school once you're there, How
to Succeed in Law School and Launch Your Legal Career, by
John Marshall Law School's Dean John E. Corkery, offers valuable
you'd like to know how your GPA-LSAT combination relates to the
probability of admission to the law school of your choice, you'll
definitely want to check out the ABA-LSAC
Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. The
site provides a tremendous range of information about every
ABA-accredited law school, and you would be foolish to apply to law
schools without having looking at it. In previous years,
students had to come to my office to view this information in printed
form, or procure the book at their expense. Now, thanks to the miracle
of technology (and LSAC's desire to save money), you can access this
information from anywhere.
The ABA also collects information, available here, that is crucial to your law school search. You'll be able to access a wide range of data about each ABA-accredited law school, including demographic information about students and faculty, generosity with financial aid, acceptance rates, bar passage rates, and which sectors of the legal world graduates gravitate to. If you're researching law schools, stop whatever you're doing and visit this site. Seriously. This page will still be here when you return.
And here's a
link to the NAPLA/SAPLA
Book of Law School Lists that has so much information that it
merits special attention. Want to know
If so, you'll want to check it out.
Warning: the PDF runs several hundred pages, so be prepared for a
- Which schools
offer joint degree programs?
- Which schools
offer a particular specialization that interests you, or study
abroad opportunities, or clinical programs in your preferred
- Which schools
have evening programs, or summer programs, or January start dates?
- Whether a
particular student organization has a chapter at the schools
- Whether the
schools you're considering have non-need based scholarships? Or
offer loan repayment assistance programs?
- Which schools
will allow you to defer matriculation?
- How schools
treat multiple LSAT scores?
- Or would you
like to see massive tables featuring admissions and support data?
And if you're a prospective or current LIU Post student who is wondering
where Post alumni have been admitted, here
is a list.
sites of interest:
dates and deadlines: In addition to providing a handy
calendar of LSAT test dates and deadlines, this Law School
Admissions Council website also offers directions for those
applicants who seek information on test date changes and refunds.
When deciding on a test date, keep in mind that (1) each school has
its own application deadlines, and (2) many schools have rolling
admissions, which means that applications will be considered on a
first come-first served basis.
State University College of Law Webinar Recordings: Looking for
insights into virtually every aspect of legal education you can
think of, and many that you can't? There's an excellent chance
you'll find a webinar on the subject. Examples include, "Expert
Advice for Undergraduates," "Sensible
Strategies for Financing Law School," "Legal
Careers with a Social Justice Focus," and "Resources
and Advice for Non-Traditional Law Students."
a Law School": Courtesy of Princeton Review, this page also
includes links to articles such as "4
Myths about the LSAT" and "LSAT
- Criminal justice resources
to Become a Lawyer: From LawyerInformation.org,
this site offers a thorough and informative overview of the
journey from one's first thoughts about a career in law to entry
into the profession. The site also includes pages addressing the
bar exam, choosing a field within the legal world, and starting
salaries based on specialization.
to Become a Lawyer: This site is especially helpful in its
detailed descriptions of different legal specializations, as well
as its interactive tools enabling state-by-state comparisons of
job growth opportunities and salaries.
One-L FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): Want some sense of
what to expect during your first year of law school? Charles
Glasser, a graduate of NYU Law School, offers advice designed to
help you survive the numerous challenges that 1Ls typically face.
Resource Guide's Pre-Law Student Services: One-stop shopping
for links related to all aspects of the law school application
process. You can find information related to test preparation,
scholarship and financial aid availability, school rankings, median
GPA and LSAT scores for schools, and so much more. HIGHLY
Resource Guide's Law School Information Index: Includes
law-school rankings, links to pages of schools' web sites (both
American and international), and internet directories.
& CAS (Credential Assembly Service): At this site, you can
register to take the LSAT and to use the CAS, which prepares reports
for each school to which you apply. Virtually all
ABA-accredited law schools will require you to register with CAS.
The Law School Admissions Council recommends that you register for
CAS about six weeks before you plan to apply to particular law
schools. If you are absolutely unable
to pay the required fees for the LSAT or CAS, click
here for information on applying for a fee waiver.
to New York-area law schools and their application deadlines :
There's an amazing amount of material made available on the Web by
law schools themselves. Want to know whether a school has a program
in entertainment law, or loan forgiveness for those seeking to
pursue public-interest law, or minority scholarships? Curious about
the faculty there? Take advantage of the bounty of readily available
law school: This page has links to sources of information
about scholarships and loans.
for the Law School Admission Test: Michigan State University
students offer their guidance on how to approach the LSAT. The site
is also valuable for its list of test-prep services, with
information about cost and class size that allows for
health and well-being
Pre-Law Programs: Links to programs that provide exposure to
law school classes, advice on the application process, and
These folks offer a variety of courses to prepare you for the LSAT,
and their websites contain a wide variety of information and advice.
the personal statement: Oftentimes, students don't quite know
where to start when writing their personal statements. Here are some
sites that offer various strategies and insights you might find