The LSAC provides you with electronic applications from all ABA-approved law schools. Some of the applications are available sometime in early August. Some schools may require additional materials that can only be found in their catalogs or on their websites. You should check each law school’s website or catalog to make sure your application materials are complete and on time.
It is essential in preparing a law school application to read all material and instructions carefully and then prepare the form and all supportive documents meticulously. This entails succinctness, thoroughness, and clarity. Besides the application form itself, you will probably need to submit supplements or addenda; this supporting information is important to the admissions officer’s evaluation of you, so send any relevant material.
It is important to remember that this statement will be used in an assessment of your character as well as your writing style and ability. This means that you must be absolutely honest, and you must express yourself clearly. You will want to present the most positive picture of yourself and your strong points, but be sure that the picture is really of you. Law school admissions committees, having read thousands of statements, have become sensitive in distinguishing the honest ones from those that misrepresent the writers. The admissions committees also look closely at the way you express yourself in writing, so make your personal statement a lucid and skillful piece.
Consult the pre-law advisor for advice regarding your personal statements, and any other application problems, at the beginning of your senior year. A panel of law school representatives from various law schools is presented early each fall to assist seniors who are immersed in the law school application process.
Recommendations and Dean’s Certification
Almost all law schools require you to provide at least two references. The recommendations must come from persons who are knowledgeable about your intellectual capability and can evaluate your work, competence, and aptitude. Simple statements about your character, personality, or background are not adequate.
The Dean’s Certification form, if required, is used by schools to determine any personal or academic information not likely to appear elsewhere in your file. Be aware that the dean’s certification form can be used to bring to the attention of a law school some aspect of your academic or personal background that might otherwise be overlooked. A particularly bad or incongruous grade, a personal or academic mishap, or on the other hand, a positive experience of consequence relevant to law school admission can be officially noted or explained. If you have any questions about any of these issues, you should schedule an appointment with one of the deans.
Approach those from whom you want to request recommendations early enough that they can submit them on time, because your application will not be complete until the required recommendation letters have been received at the law schools. Be courteous and helpful to those writing your letters. It is a good idea to inform them about your application schedule and to check on their progress from time to time. Finally, be careful not to overload your file with too many recommendation letters; they will bog down the admissions committee and not necessarily give you any advantage.
Submitting the Application
Time is of the essence in submitting your applications. If you are interested in one law school that is early decision binding, the deadline is very early. In order to be competitive, the deadline to apply to law schools, consider doing so during the week of Thanksgiving.
Remember, your application is not complete until all the required items: application form, fee, faculty and/or dean’s certification, and LSAT/LSAC reports have been received by the law school. It is your obligation to make sure that all of these documents reach the school.