Applying to Law School?
Before you jump in to the application process, meet with the Pre-Law Adviser and talk with alumni, faculty, friends, and family in the legal profession. You can also check out this recorded panel of Reedies who have become lawyers. We are aware that many students will take time off to work before applying to law school. Please know that any Reed alum can reach out to the pre-law adviser at any time for help with the application process. Similar to current students, all you need to do is log into your Handshake account to make an appointment.
Law school can be expensive and stressful (and three years of your life!) so work on articulating your motivation to study law and ask contacts about their experiences in law school and legal careers. A law degree helps you solve real-world problems for clients using logical analytical reasoning.
First Year and Sophomore Year
- Select a major in a field that interests you and allows you to excel academically. There are no major requirements for law school. Choose a field in which you will thrive!
- Begin to form relationships with professors so that they will know your work well enough to serve as recommenders in the future.
- Expand your education by seeking summer jobs or internships in law or policy.
- Decide whether you want to attend law school right after graduating from Reed or whether you want to take time off before applying. Law schools generally do favor those applicants with 1-2 years of full-time work experience.
- Check out DiscoverLaw.org to learn more about diversity in law school.
- If you are confident that law is the right path for you, plan ahead for a time to take the LSAT. Even if you are taking time off before applying, it makes sense to take the LSAT while you are in student mode.
- Check out AccessLex.org to learn about financing law school. Be sure to check out their scholarship bank.
- Sign up for Reed's Pre-Law Google group.
- Meet with a CLBR pre-law advisor via Handshake or any of the Reed faculty with an interest in the law to assess your academic, extracurricular and work experiences and to discuss the application process.
- Over winter break, begin preparing for the LSAT; if you are ready, register for the June administration.
- Secure a summer job or internship, if possible, in a law-related field.
- If you are applying as a senior, research law schools and compile a list of tentative target schools based on GPA/LSAT medians, location, and clinical and journal opportunities in areas of interest.
Spring or Summer before Senior Year
For alumni, this will be one year prior to law school entry.
- Make an application timeline, including when you plan to take the LSAT.
- Register for LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). This is your online file where all of your application materials will reside.
- Have transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended sent to the CAS.
- Ask potential recommendation writers if they would be willing to write letters on your behalf. Provide them with the CAS recommendation forms or the school's forms along with sufficient information to write detailed letters. Ideally, you will have three recommenders: two academic and one from an internship or a full-time job. Academic recommenders will discuss your classroom performance and assigned work; work recommenders will provide an ideal performance review (good team-player, works well under deadlines, timely, detail-oriented, etc.)
- Take the September/October LSAT if you did not take the test in June or earlier. The October LSAT is generally the last one you can take for the current cycle.
- Begin drafting and revising your personal statement. Focus on what motivates you; keep it experiential. Optional diversity statement, and any supplemental essays that a law school may require (or recommend).
- Meet with the pre-law advisor, who will help you assess the strength of your application in relation to schools you are considering. Request a critique of your resume (for law school, it can go on to two pages), personal statement draft, diversity statement, and any other essays.
- Submit applications by the end of October since law schools tend to review applications in the order in which they were received.
- Complete the FAFSA and other need analysis forms such as Need Access as well as any institutional financial aid applications as soon after January 1 as possible.
- Meet with the pre-law advisor in the winter/spring to assess your options as schools respond to you.
- Take appropriate action on acceptances, wait-list status, and financial aid packages. For wait-lists, you will write a Letter of Continued Interest. Please meet with the Pre-Law Advisor for assistance with this.
- Before leaving campus, have a final transcript sent to any schools still considering your application.
Check out our list of pre-law resources to help you as you navigate the law school application process.