Choose schools that are of serious interest to you, but give your list enough variety so as to maximize your chances for admission. It is wise to include at least one to two solid "back-up" schools at which your chances are very good. Pay attention to numbers of applicants, GPA and LSAT data, number of nonresidents accepted (if a state school), and past track record of U of U applicants at various schools.
Attend the UU annual Law School Fair in October and visit with some of the over 120 law school representatives attending; attend a National Law School Forum; visit individual schools if possible. Assess your credentials realistically and give your school selection careful thought.
- LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx.
- Boston College Online Law School Locator http://www.bc.edu/offices/careers/gradschool/law/lawlocator.html
- Law School Transparency Project http://lawschooltransparency.com
- AdmissionsDean.com http://www.admissionsdean.com/
- The Ranking Game http://monoborg.law.indiana.edu/LawRank/choose.shtml
- The NAPLA/SAPLA Book of Law School Lists http://www.bu.edu/caspreprofessional/files/2013/08/2013-NAPLA_SAPLA-Book-of-Law-School-Lists.pdf NOTE: The PDF of this book tends to disappear from the BU website from time to time, and the url sometimes changes. If this link does not work, try doing an internet search using the book’s name to see if it is currently available online.
Information to Consider When Choosing a Law School
- Size of school and size of individual classes.
- Location and environment--do you prefer a large metropolitan area or a smaller city atmosphere? What about surrounding area, quality of life, etc.?
- Library and other facilities--quality of library collections, computerized legal research services, adequate staff, study/meeting space, open hours
- General “personality” of school--what are your impressions from their literature, representatives you meet? Are you looking for an intense, more competitive environment or more of a community feeling?
- Special interest areas: combined degree programs; specialized courses, clinical programs, publications or student organizations in your area of interest; part-time or evening programs; early graduation.
- Student/faculty ratio. A full-time student to full-time faculty ratio of 30:1 or higher is not recommended.
- Student body--How do you fit in with GPA and LSAT averages of students previously admitted? How balanced and diverse is the student body? How is the student morale? Do students have input in operation of school?
- Faculty diversity—Are they largely all from the same background or relatively diverse with respect to race, creed, gender? Are they well-balanced in educational experiences or only from the same school or schools? What is the extent of their research and professional activities?
- Faculty-student relationships--Are faculty accessible and committed to teaching? Is there an “open door” policy?
- Opportunities for clinical programs, writing, law review, moot court, etc.
- What student support programs are available? If applicable, what minority or disabled student services are available?
- What placement services are offered for summer clerkships? What career services are offered to help you investigate your options and find employment at graduation? What are the bar passage rates? What is the placement record for graduates? Are graduates finding employment in the geographic areas you are interested in? What are the average or median salaries of graduates?
- Tuition costs. You cannot ignore the cost, but neither can you use it as your only criterion. Consider the cost and potential indebtedness along with the other factors, and make sure you are choosing the right schools for the right reasons.