7 Common Mistakes in Law School Applications

Law School Expert Blog

Before submitting your law school applications, please check that you haven’t made any of these embarrassingly common mistakes in law school applications:

  1. Complete failure to follow directions. Often in the form of sending a personal statement that is too long for a particular school.
  2. Being lazy. Sending an optional essay that was written for a another school that isn’t what is asked for by this school. For example, you don’t want to send GW Law your GT 250 word essay instead of the “unique contributions” essay that GW requests.
  3. Sending School A’s personal statement to School B !!! (Another reason to be very careful about tailoring essays in a meaningful way if you are going to do it at all)
  4. Forgetting to check off boxes, leaving the application incomplete and unable to be processed. Or, checking one thing that is inconsistent with another. For example, answering “no” to “Have you ever attended law school?” and then “Yes” to “Were you ever on academic probation (at said law school)”. Or, admitting you did have to check “Yes” for the moral character and fitness incidents and then not providing an explanation about the incident.
  5. Playing with margins and fonts instead of really taking the time to analyze whether each word in your essay is necessary for its effectiveness.
  6. Typos. Duh. Especially more than one.
  7. Not attaching the right version of your documents. For example, a personal statement that still shows the tracked changes.

I know you’re exhausted, but this is not the time for laziness or lack of attention to detail. This is the stuff that matters so do it when you’re alert and not feeling rushed. Only then should you click that nervewracking “submit” button.

9 Responses

  1. On some applications, schools ask which other schools I am applying to. So far, this has never been a “required” question. Is there any reason to answer this if I prefer not to? Are there any good reasons TO answer this?

    1. Caroline,
      It’s a marketing question, mostly, all though they will also want so see some interest in the general geographic region. Great Question!

  2. Hi, I having one publication for an undergrad law review and I was wondering where to put this on my resume. Any advice would be deeply appreciated.

    1. Joe,
      You can have it under a section called “Publications” or put it along with your undergraduate honors, or if you were involved on the law review you can mention it under that involvement. So many choices!

  3. Hi Ann,

    Hope all is well! I’m still reading your blog on a weekly basis. I devour it. Thanks so much for all the information you post.

    I have two general questions.

    1) Can I finish the application process after the December LSAT?

    I will be taking the LSAT on December 1st and I’ve read that most schools do not begin reviewing an application until all the materials are in. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it), I work a job that requires a minimum of 70 hours of my time each week. I really only have one day per week to dedicate to law school related stuff, so I’ve been dedicating that one day each week to LSAT studying. So far so good. My question is, if I request letters of recommendation NOW, decide what schools I’d like to apply to, and have all my official transcripts SENT to LSAC BEFORE the December LSAT and then I do my personal statement and the rest of the applications after the December LSAT, would I be disadvantaging myself? Most schools deadlines aren’t until February or March, so I thought this would be okay. However, it makes me nervous thinking about all the other kids who are doing their applications right now!

    2. Is there really such a thing as applying to too many schools?

    When I was applying to undergraduate college, I applied to 17 schools. I had no help and no real direction, so I thought, the more the merrier! Now, with applying to law school, I originally had my list narrowed down to about seven schools, but more research has lead me to want to apply to more places. I have no restrictions in terms of geographical location, so, my question is: If I apply to ten or more schools, is that excessive? I’ve heard it can give a person leverage and can be a way to financially bargain scholarships, etc. Is this true?

    Thanks in advance, Ann. I appreciate any information you give me.

  4. Nicole, It’s fine to wait on those items for after the December LSAT but you MUST turn in applications in January. Please do not wait until the deadlines.

    There is no such thing as applying to too many schools. You really can’t come up with a schools list without an LSAT score. Applying to more than 10 schools is pretty normal.
    Hope that helps!

  5. Check out this New York Times article from last weekend: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/opinion/nocera-the-silly-list-everyone-cares-about.html?_r=0

    The story focuses on U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings, but also clearly questions the legitimacy of the law school rankings. Just a few days earlier, Justice Thomas said the US News rankings are hurting law school diversity because it seems to reward schools with very high tuition and punishes law schools with night law schools and part-time programs. I read this analysis other places, too. Any thoughts on this or why US News will not disclose the formula it uses to grade the law schools?

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