The actual application process should be the culmination of careful planning and preparation. There are several things students can do to enhance their chances of law school admission long before they formally apply: meet with a pre-law advisor their freshman year (or as early as possible), take challenging courses, become involved in campus activities, obtain an internship, develop an employment history, and create a résumé.
The law school application process normally begins late in a student’s junior year of college. The following information is a brief summary of the application process. For more detailed information consult the Law School Admission Council's website.
The Law School Admission Test
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required for admission to all American Bar Association approved law schools. The test is administered several times per year. Please see the LSAC website for details about dates and updates regarding the impact of Covid 19 on testing. This multiple choice test and your undergraduate grade point average have proven to be strong indicators of law school success. Students should spend a great deal of time studying and preparing for the exam. Students should plan to take the summer or early fall tests to ensure that his or her file is complete before Christmas. There are several benefits to taking the summer exam: students typically have more time to devote to studying for it, you will know your score earlier and thus will have a better idea which schools you realistically have a chance of attending, you will also have more time to prepare for a second LSAT (if needed), and it permits early application.
The Credential Assembly Service
Students should register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) the summer before their senior year. (You do not have to register for the LSAT and the CAS at the same time.) This service prepares a law school report for each law school to which you apply. Almost all American Bar Association approved law schools require that applicants use this service. According to the Law School Admissions Council, there are five basic steps to complete your CAS file:
- Register for the CAS and pay all required fees.
- Take the LSAT or use a prior LSAT score that is still valid.
- Request that one official transcript be sent to the LSAC from the registrar’s
office of each undergraduate school you attended.
- Ask recommenders to write letters and to send them to the LSAC or to the law
schools (if the school asks for a school specific letter).
- Apply to law schools and order law school reports.
You should plan to send your academic transcripts as soon as possible (even by Labor Day of your senior year) because the CAS will standardize your g.p.a. If you wait until after your fall semester grades to send your transcript, there can be up to a two week delay in processing your grades. You can still have those grades sent as part of your file for an admissions committee to consider.