Step-by-step application process
The law school application process is very straightforward, but it does require some planning. The following is a suggested step-by-step process to help you plan. You need not complete these steps in the exact order shown below, but doing so tends to offer a smooth path through the application process.
Note that this process begins the year before planned entry into law school. For example, someone planning to enter law school in the fall semester of 2015 would ideally begin this process in the late summer or fall of 2014.
- Establish an account at www.lsac.org (this is free).
- Register for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service ("CAS"; see www.lsac.org for current fees).
- Register to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
- Request letters of recommendation from professors, employers, and colleagues (use the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service for this).
- Have every college or university you have ever attended send a transcript to CAS (click here for instructions on doing this).
- Check your LSAC account to ensure all letters of recommendation and transcripts have arrived at CAS and been processed.
- Take the LSAT.
- Receive your LSAT score. LSAC will email your LSAT score to you roughly 3-5 weeks after you take the test.
- Complete the admission application.
Tips and notes
- You can complete the first six steps in the above list up to 18 months in advance of your anticipated law school start date.
- Remember – new law students can start only in the fall. This is the case at most law schools.
- If you prefer to start the admissions process a little early, you can take the LSAT in June in the year before you plan to start law school. If you are currently in college, this would be during the summer between your junior and senior year.
- If you cannot take the LSAT in September/October or December and need to wait until February of the year in which you plan to start law school, that is acceptable. Understand that February scores are not released until early March, so you may not receive a decision on your application in this scenario until early to mid April or later.
- Since we technically do not have an application deadline, you can wait until June of the year in which you plan to start law school to take the LSAT. However, since this is very late in the application cycle, this course of action is not recommended. We recommend planning your application a year in advance.
- Letters of recommendation are not required, but most students choose to include one to three of them in their files. Please note that we review application files when they are considered complete – we do not hold applications in anticipation of letters of recommendation.
- Academic and professional letters of recommendation are appropriate. Personal letters of recommendation are not.
- Note that the people you choose to write letters of recommendation for you may be very busy, so you may need to give them one to three months of lead time.
- If you are entering your senior year in college as you begin the application process, do not wait for your fall semester grades to be posted before sending your transcripts to the Credential Assembly Service. It is best to have your transcripts sent over the summer or at the beginning of the fall semester.
- After your application is received, our admissions committee reviews it and makes a decision. All decisions are communicated via email. If you are admitted, the Admissions Office will provide further information on how to proceed.
- Our application cycle technically does not stop. We do not have a firm application deadline, although we suggest applying by March 1 of the year in which you plan to enter law school to ensure optimal consideration for admission. Generally speaking, the earlier in the application cycle you submit your application, the better your chances at getting an admission offer.
This step-by-step process is intended to give a very general outline of the application process. After reading this, we suggest reading through our detailed application requirements and detailed instructions for completing the admission application to get a more thorough understanding of what is required of you.