If you’re applying to law school, the summer months aren’t just about barbecues and beach volleyball. They present a great opportunity to make important early progress in your law school application process. Here are five key priorities through the summer months:
Create an Account on LSAC.org
The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) is an essential tool for law school applications. Think of it as the Common App for law school. Your registration for the LSAT, applications, transcripts, and letters of recommendation are all submitted through LSAC.
At lsac.org, you will see the prompt “Log in as…” on the top right hand side, with a drop down menu underneath. Select “JD Applicants” (or another option, as applicable), and on the next page below the login space, you should select “create an account.”
LSAC will provide guidance on how to submit each component of your application. Request copies of your most current transcripts and get those uploaded now so there is one less “busy work” thing for you to do as you are writing essays.
Develop an LSAT study strategy – and prioritize it
Prioritize getting your LSAT score as high as you can possibly get it. If you haven’t yet taken the LSAT, or if you are retaking it this Fall, now is the chance to really dig deep in your LSAT preparation.
Most LSAT courses are now registering students, or will be registering soon. Private tutors are also available for the LSAT, via Noodle Pros. A strong LSAT score is critical to success in your law school applications. We cannot stress enough how important this test is for your future. Whether you intend to apply to the top 14 schools or a strong local school, maximizing your LSAT score is your best bet for ensuring acceptance and possibly also scholarship money.
It is important to note that starting with the July 2019 LSAT administration, the exam will be transitioning to a digital format. Rather than the old paper-and-pencil format, test-takers will be taking the LSAT on a tablet device. Check out our prior article, here, for details about the transition to the new digital LSAT.
Make a formal ask for recommendations
Make a list of the top 4 or 5 people who you might ask to write your letters of recommendation. You should prioritize college or graduate school professors who will write stellar letters of recommendations. Law schools want to see your capacity for academic rigor, so prioritize professors who can give detailed descriptions of your hard work and analytical abilities.
Consider also asking former (or current, if you feel it is appropriate) bosses to write about your capacity for discipline and hard work. You should have a minimum of 2, and potentially up to 4, strong letters of recommendation for your applications.
Write a brief email to each recommender asking them to write a letter for your law school applications. Give them a suggested deadline for when the letter should be ready — say August 15. Be sure to follow up if you haven’t heard back from them by your given deadline. Check out our other article about getting stellar letters of recommendation here.
Begin outlining your personal statement
Essays are one of the most important pieces of the law school application process and they take time to craft. Therefore, it is good to get a head start, especially if you do not like writing! Begin by making a list of the key academic, professional, or personal experiences that have led you to think about a career in law. Develop an outline with an introduction three body paragraphs and a conclusion, and fill in each body paragraph with these examples of your academic, professional and personal experiences. The transitions between the discussions of your experiences and what they say about you are very important but difficult to master.
Like your recommendations, your Personal Statement is a chance to demonstrate your capacity for academic rigor, discipline, and hard work, but they are also your opportunity to showcase who you are beyond your numbers and resume. Admissions committees want to understand where you have been and how those experiences have shaped who you are and why you want to become a lawyer. Check out some of our prior articles, hereand here, regarding the personal statement for more tips on drafting.
Continue researching schools
You may have your top 10 law schools in mind already, but it is important to stay flexible and to continue researching as many law schools as you can. If your LSAT score is different from what you were expecting, you may need to adjust your list significantly. Once you have your score and a good sense of your target schools, do a deep dive on each of them to get a feel for the landscape and determine whether it meets your needs. Create an excel spreadsheet that includes the name, city, tuition, class size, post-graduate employment data, and other key features of each law school that interests you.
Each school’s website should be able to tell you where the alumni from their school are landing after graduation: big law firms, corporations, government, judicial clerkships, legal aid, policy organizations.
Scholarship offerings, journals, and clinical opportunities offered by each school may also factor into your research. Use all of this information to help you determine which schools are the best fit for you.