Register for the Credential Assembly Services (CAS)
- The LSAC’s CAS online service is what you use to apply to law schools. Your transcripts, LSAT scores and letters of recommendation are sent there. Your online file is good for five years.
- We recommend creating your CAS account 2 months before you’re ready to apply
- Tip: If you have any questions throughout this process, It’s okay to contact law school admissions offices as well LSAC.
Applying Early Decision (ED)
- If your number one choice law school offers early decision, consider applying! Early decision is a process where you submit your application early and it is reviewed quickly in exchange for your binding promise that you will withdraw all other applications to other law schools if you are accepted. Most are due end of October-mid November which will require you start your application early. Here is a list of every ABA- Accredited Law School that has ED and their deadlines. You should only apply ED to schools where you know you will absolutely be willing to enroll when an offer is received. If they have any doubts about committing to a program, you should not apply ED.
- Pros- You will hear back by the end of December if you are admitted, giving you the opportunity to hear back sooner and make plans for the following year. It is also your way of indicating to the law school that you are committed and that they are your number one choice. It does not guarantee acceptance, but does increase the likelihood as you have indicated your commitment to their school.
- Cons- If you apply early decision and are admitted, it is binding. This means that you will be attending this law school and must withdraw all other applications and decline other acceptances that you are received prior. This is why, it is important you are 100% sure you are committed to this school and they are your number one choice. Though you are able to show your enthusiasm to the law school by applying ED, law schools will review at your application in the same way as regular admissions. For some law schools, applying early decision may put you at a disadvantage when trying to receive or negotiate financial awards.
- Early Action– Some law schools may offer early action which are non-binding. Early action options allow you to get in ahead of the general pool and apply while there is slightly less competition. You also get a quick decision on the application, usually by a known date. Early action does not require that you attend the school or withdraw any other applications
- Here are 5 ways to strategize whether you should apply ED or not
Applying Regular/Rolling Admissions
- Submit your applications between November (Thanksgiving break) and no later than the beginning to mid January. Because law schools are on rolling-admissions (meaning- law schools are filling spots as they receive applications), you will put yourself at a better position if you apply sooner rather than later.
- Here is an article from U.S. News explaining what Rolling Admissions means.
Finalize your list of law schools after you’ve received your LSAT score(s)
- Consider applying to 7-10 schools: 2 reach, 3-6 realistic and 1-2 safety schools. Comparing your numbers with the school’s median GPA and LSAT will help you develop your list. REACH schools are ones where you are at, or a little above, the 25th percentile. TARGET/REALISTIC schools are ones where your GPA and LSAT are at the school’s median for last year’s entering class. SAFETY schools are those where you are at, or close to, the school’s 75th percentile. Keep in mind that admissions is not black and white, meaning, GPA & LSAT are just two components of the entire application and don’t solely determine admission. Because law schools are holistic, keep in mind the other components that go into a competitive applicant and your chances of admissions.
- It’s not just all about ranking. Location, environment, class size, tuition, demographics, commitment to diversity, student-professor ratio, bar passage rates, and career placement resources are all important aspects to choosing a school that’s right for you. Take time to read through the law school’s web sites, attend info sessions at the schools, and contact their admissions offices if you have questions.
- If you are applying for 5+ law schools, plan carefully how much time you will need to complete each application and plan. We recommend spreading out when you turn in your applications as to not overwhelm yourself.
- Request an official copy of your transcript from every collegiate-level institution you have attended (this includes community college).
Ask for Letters of Recommendations
- 2-3 months before you start your application, contact your letter writers. This will allow them enough time to meet with you if needed and write your letter.
- We recommend students look over Texas A&M’s guidebook for LORs before meeting with your letter with your writer.
- Your recommenders will send your LoRs directly to CAS.
- Always follow up with a thank you card or email to your writers.
Finalize your Resume
- Follow directions carefully in the formatting and content of your resume by each law school.
- Make sure your resume is error free, formatted well, and easy to read.
- Submit your resume by attaching it to your LSAC application.
- Use these suggestions to edit and polish your resume.
Write a Memorable Personal Statement
The personal statement is a VERY important part of the application. Since the majority of law schools don’t have interviews, committees rely on this statement as an interview-in-an-essay and is how they get to know you. Get personal. What is your story? What your interests and goals? Why law school? Why do you want to become an attorney?
- We highly recommend reading UW’s personal statement document for writing tips and statement samples from real UW pre-law students and reviewing some Do’s and Don’ts for writing a solid personal statement
- Law schools want to see commitment and follow-through (really emphasize why you want to go to law school)
- Requirements for the statement will vary by school. Make sure to avoid using blanket statements and change it accordingly to each application
- Submit your personal statement by attaching it to your electronic LSAC application
- Don’t rush this process. Many students need to write 3-6 drafts to craft a strong, concise and memorable personal statement.
- Meet with the Pre-Law Career Coach at the C&IC to look over your personal statement via Handshake and/or meet with someone from one of the UW Writing Centers before submitting. PROOF READ!
Diversity/Supplemental Statements (optional)
- If there is a diversity prompt, we encourage students to write one as this school has indicated that this is important to them.
- Diversity can mean a lot of different things and we encourage students to think and define broadly what diversity looks and means to them.
- Ask yourself “What diverse perspectives/identities/experiences can I bring into the law school and classroom?”
- Remember, these prompts are optional and we encourage students to not force themselves to answer these prompts (can come off as unauthentic if forced).
Addendum (if necessary)
- The addenda should be attached to applications when there is a discrepancy that requires an explanation (e.g. your GPA does not reflect your true academic abilities, your GPA trend, barriers you faced during your education). If you have encountered some barriers while at the UW and/or in your life, start thinking about how you will write your addendum. You can also write an addendum for your LSAT score if that is applicable.
- Make sure that the tone of your addendum is one of growth and lessons learned rather than excuses.
- The addendum is meant to be concise and to the point (not another personal statement).
- The addendum is different from the character and fitness section of the application.
Apply for Financial Aid
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The law schools to which you apply will determine your eligibility for federal financial aid. The amount offered by each law school will vary, and each student’s financial need will be assessed individually because costs vary from school to school
- Because each law school’s scholarship and financial aid processes are different, contact and visit the website of the financial aid office of law schools to find out more information. Some schools may require you to submit information in addition to the FAFSA.
- Consider and apply to scholarship programs.
- Visit Financing your Law Degree resources and links.
- Visit LSAC’s Pay for Law School: A Preliminary Guide