Skip to content

Law School Admissions


I am not an admissions expert. The following is based only on my very personal and very biased experience.

The LSAT is for law school

The LSAT isn't the only test you can take. Many law schools now accept the GRE.

If you want to be a lawyer, law school is essential.

Law school can be financially and emotionally expensive. It's not for everyone.

There are several good reasons to go to law school, but you should have a reason.


Taking a year off to backpack around the world would likely put you in less debt than a single year of law school.

Law school rankings matter

Rankings matter more for law school than for other types of graduate programs.

Generally, students at higher ranked schools will have better job opportunities. This is especially true for public interest jobs, which tend to be the most competitive and scarce opportunities.

There's plenty of good reasons to choose a school besides ranking. Some important secondary factors include:

  • money (including scholarships and loan repayment programs),
  • location,
  • the school's culture,
  • the type of law you want to practice (and the school's expertise in that area of law).

But these should probably be secondary considerations that help you decide between closely ranked schools.

Fancier schools are often cheaper

The top schools have more resources, so they can offer more generous scholarships and loan repayment programs.

Yale, for example, doesn't offer merit scholarships, but they do have a loan repayment program that's based only on your income. You could, hypothetically, be a part-time LSAT tutor / yoga instructor after going to YLS and still qualify for loan repayment assistance. Other schools condition assistance on being a lawyer, or even a public interest lawyer.

Yale and Stanford are consistently the top ranked schools.

  • The average admit at Yale (#1, forever) scored a 175.
  • The average admit at Standard (also #1, a recent and dramatic change) scored a 173.

Top 14 schools are considered the elite.

  • The average admit at NYU (#9) scored a 172.
  • The average admit at UCLA (#13) scored a 170.

Top 40 schools are reliably excellent.

  • The average admit at BYU (#28) scored a 168.
  • The average admit at Wisconsin (#36) scored a 165.

Schools ranked lower can be great, but investigate them. Too many law schools will be happy to take your money even if they can't help you get the job you want.


Do not go to an unaccredited law school. An unaccredited school is almost certainly a scam.


The official rankings come from U.S. News and World Report .

More data on individual schools, including admits' median LSAT score and the percentage of graduates with jobs, is available from the American Bar Association .

LSAT + GPA are the most important admissions factors, but they aren't the only factors

An average (for the school) or higher LSAT + GPA will make it more likely that your application will be considered. It does not guarantee admission.

If you have a lower than average (for the school) LSAT + GPA, then you need to give the school another reason to consider your application.

Your story matters too

Use your resume and personal statement to tell a compelling story about where you've been and where you're going.

Consider answering these questions:

  • Why law school?
  • Why do you want to go to this law school in particular?
  • What will you bring to the classroom?
  • What will use your law degree to do?

Don't underestimate your recommenders

Ask your recommenders if they can honestly write an enthusiastic letter of support. It's fine if they can't, but you need to know.

Recommenders with connections at the school you want to attend can have a bigger impact. If you know someone who knows someone, ask if they'd be willing to make a call on your behalf.