Applying to Law School

Applying to Law School

How to Apply to Law School: Step-by-Step
  1. Sign up for a free account on LSAC (http://www.lsac.org/). LSAC is the Law School Admission Council, which is a nonprofit organization that coordinates the law school application process. You may register for a free account on LSAC at any time. Your account will allow you to browse the website for information about applying to law school.

 

  1. Decide when you would like to begin law school. Most law schools start in the fall. You may go straight from John Jay to law school or you may take a few or many years off in between college and law school. Schedule an appointment with a pre-law advisor by emailing pli@jjay.cuny.edu to discuss when you might want to start law school.

 

  1. We recommend that you plan to apply to law school by December 1 to start the following year. For example, if you would like to begin law school in fall 2017, you should plan to submit your applications by December 1, 2016. Most law schools accept applications on a rolling basis beginning in September or October. While you can apply to law school up until the law school’s application deadline, which is usually in the spring, it is highly recommended that you apply by December 1 in order to maximize your chances of being accepted and of receiving a scholarship offer.

 

  1. Register for the LSAT. You should register for the LSAT on LSAC (http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/test-dates-deadlines). The LSAT is offered four times a year. We recommend that you take the LSAT in June or in September/October in order to submit your applications by December 1. You should plan to spend 20-30 hours per week studying for the LSAT for the three or four months immediately preceding the exam. The LSAT costs $180. However, fee waivers are available through LSAC here.

 

  1. Take a prep course for the LSAT. We strongly recommend that you take a prep course to prepare for the LSAT. The Pre-Law Institute offers a prep course every summer for students preparing for the fall LSAT. More information is available here. Prep courses range in price from $800 to $3,000. The average cost of a prep course seems to be about $1,000.

 

  1. Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) on LSAC (http://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas). Along with your LSAT score, the CAS will send your transcripts and letters of recommendation to every law school to which you apply. The cost of the CAS is $175. We recommend that you register for the CAS by September of the year that you are applying to law school.

 

  1. Submit transcripts from every college you have attended to the CAS using the Transcript Request forms on LSAC. If you transferred to John Jay from another school, you should plan to submit your John Jay transcript as well as your transcript from your previous school. Because it can take some time for LSAC to process your transcript, we recommend that you submit your transcripts by September of the year that you are applying to law school. You can always send an updated transcript later after you get your fall grades.

 

  1. Request letters of recommendation from three people. We suggest that you ask three professors who know your academic abilities well to write your recommendations.  The letters of recommendation will be submitted on LSAC’s website. We recommend that you ask that your letters of recommendation be submitted to LSAC by the end of October of the year that you are applying to law school.

 

  1. Write a personal statement. The statement should be two pages, double-spaced. Use the personal statement as an opportunity to introduce yourself to the law school admissions committee and explain why you wish to go to law school and how you have prepared for law school. Every law school has a different personal statement prompt, but it is a good idea to write a general personal statement that speaks to who you are and why you want to attend law school that you can adjust for each law school application. You will then upload your personal statement to your law school applications when you apply in the fall. You can have your personal statement reviewed by our personal statement advisor or by one of our pre-law advisors. To make an appointment, email pli@jjay.cuny.edu.

 

  1. Create or update your resume. Make sure that your resume is up-to-date, well written and includes every honor, leadership role, community service activity and job that you have had since you graduated from high school. You will upload your resume to your application when you apply to law school on LSAC. You can have your resume reviewed by a pre-law advisor or an advisor at the Center for Career and Professional Development.

 

  1. Determine whether you need to submit an addendum. Do you have a criminal background? Do you have a large gap in your education? Did you have a significant decrease or increase in your GPA at some point in your academic career? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please make an appointment to speak with a pre-law advisor by emailing pli@jjay.cuny.edu. You may need to submit an addendum to your law school applications.

 

  1. Take the LSAT and get your score back. Do not apply to law school until after you have gotten your score back. When you get your score back, meet with a pre-law advisor if you have questions about where you should apply or whether you should re-take the LSAT (or anything else, of course!). It generally takes 3-4 weeks to get your score back.

 

  1. Decide where you will apply to law school. We recommend that you apply to eight to twelve law schools. You can use search engines such as this one on LSAC to get a sense of where you might be a good candidate. You also can speak with your pre-law advisor about where you might apply.

 

  1. Apply to law school. The electronic applications for each law school are on LSAC. They usually become available in September or October. You can fill out parts of an application, save it and then come back to work on it at a later time. Each application has an application fee that ranges in price from $0 to $75. Many law schools offer fee waivers for their applications. Plan to attend the John Jay Graduate and Professional School Fair and/or an LSAC Forum to meet with law schools to get more information about their programs. Many law schools will provide fee waivers at the fair or forum. Finally, you will need to pay $30 to send your CAS report to each law school to which you apply.

 

  1. Keep us updated! We are here for you! Stop by the Pre-Law Institute in 8.66 NB or email us at pli@jjay.cuny.edu