When to go to Law School
There is no one right time to go law school; that varies from person to person. Law schools are interested in people who take time off to gain related experience as well as students who choose to continue immediately after their undergraduate work. Taking time to gain relevant experience may enhance your application and make you more marketable to law schools and to employers after law school. Lawyers with specialized skills and expertise are competitive candidates for positions in both the public and private sectors.
Selecting a Law School
We recommend a process of self-assessment whereby the candidate gathers information about those factors that are critical to their needs, priorities, and goals. Considerations may include: reputation of school, location, class offerings and atmosphere, cultural and racial/ethnic diversity, chances of admission, cost, and employment prospects following graduation.
The following links may be useful in your decision-making process:
Law School Application Steps & Timeframe
We suggest submitting applications by late November the year before you plan to attend law school. Law schools usually have an application deadline in the spring, but use a rolling admissions process and begin evaluating applications for admittance and scholarships in the fall.
There are four primary components of your application: LSAT score, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and transcripts.
Your first steps should be to set up accounts with LSAC, which you will use to register for the LSAT, and an account with LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS), which you will use to apply to law schools.
- Register for the LSAT in the summer or fall of the application year.
- The LSAT score is the most critical piece of your application so give it the time and energy necessary. Give yourself a minimum of 2-3 months to prepare for the test. It can help to think of the preparation as the equivalent of a college course.
- Applicants have found success with both self-study and test prep courses. Evaluate yourself as a learner and decide what you need to be successful.
- Select a test date early enough give you a fall back date option if necessary. If you are unable to take the LSAT on the date selected or don’t get a score consistent with your expected performance, you will want the option to retest in the same application cycle.
Letters of Recommendation
- After you enter your recommenders’ names and information into your LSAC CAS account, it will generate specific recommendation letter requests for those individuals.
- Request letters of recommendation in the spring or early fall of the application year.
- See our FAQs on Requesting a Letter of Recommendation.
- Writing a compelling personal statement is essential. It gives the admissions representatives a sense of your motivations and strengths as well as the experiences and perspectives you would bring to a law school cohort.
- Begin by reflecting on why you want to attend law school, the experiences that have shaped your path to the law, and the strengths that you believe you would bring to law school and a career in law.
- Give yourself enough time to work through at least three drafts of your statement. The UVM Writing Center (for current students) and pre-law advisors are able to give you feedback.
- After you enter your institutions into your LSAC CAS account, it will generate a specific transcript request form for that institution. This form must accompany the transcript to LSAC – make sure that any institutions sending a transcript send the form as well. (Some institutions do electronic transcript submissions.)
- Request your official transcripts from the UVM Registrar after you finish the last full semester before you submit your application. For example, if you are a junior planning to go straight through to law school, then you will be applying the in fall of your senior year and you can request your transcripts as soon as you complete the spring semester of your junior year.
- Be sure to also obtain transcripts from other institutions you have attended: community college courses, summer courses, transfer institutions, study abroad, and college courses taken while still in high school.
Financing a Legal Education
A strong application with great grades and a high LSAT score is most applicants’ best opportunity to garner financial support. Law schools are interested in supporting candidates who have grades and test scores above their medians. See the ABA Required Disclosures to identify schools where you will be a strong candidate.
Here are more financial aid resources: