Early Decision Deadlines for the 2020 Cycle

Law School Expert Blog

Are you thinking about applying binding to law school? Many people consider doing so to try to get into a reach school, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. You have to be absolutely sure that, no matter what else happens, you will go to that law school if you get in. It doesn’t matter if another law school offers you a scholarship, or if your parents or boyfriend moves out of state.
  2. You have to be perfectly happy paying full price for law school.
  3. If a school says that binding admission comes with a scholarship, it’s not a way into a reach school. Rather, it’s probably more competitive to get in binding than under a regular application.

To begin our list, see the binding Early Decision deadlines for the Top 40 law schools.

(And, yes, you can try one school first, then if you don’t get in binding there you can consider another school with a later deadline).

Law School Binding ED Deadline Automatic Scholarship?
Yale n/a n/a
Stanford n/a n/a
Harvard n/a n/a
U. of Chicago December 1st no
Columbia November 15 no
NYU November 15 no
U. of Pennsylvania Round 1: November 15; Round 2: January 7 no
Virginia “Binding Expedited Decision Option”: March 3 no
Michigan November 15 no
Duke Round 1: November 1, Round 2: January 3 mo
Northwestern December 1 $120k merit scholarship
Cal Berkeley November 17 (but they strongly recommend you submit by 11/1) $75k merit scholarship
Cornell Round 1: November 1; Round 2: January 8 no
Georgetown No specific deadline, but only applications received by February 1 will be guaranteed a decision within 4 weeks no
UCLA priority ED: November 15; students applying ED after 11/5 will receive decision on a rolling basis no
Texas November 1 TX residents: $30k; nonresidents: resident tuition plus additional scholarship
USC November 15 minimum 50% scholarship
Vanderbilt November 1 at least $35k/yr
Washington U November 15 “will have advanced consideration of merit scholarship awards”
Minnesota December 31 no
Notre Dame November 15 no
George Washington February 1 Binding Presidential Merit Scholarship Program”, but it doesn’t appear to be a guarantee if accepted
Boston U Distinguished Scholar Binding ED: November 13; BU-Bound Binding Decision Program: January 8 Distinguished Scholars: full tuition
UC Irvine n/a n/a
Alabama n/a (but they do have a “Alabama Scholars Program” that is a streamlined app. program for graduates from specific AL schools) n/a
Emory March 1 $45k
Arizona State n/a (but they do have 3 “Binding Admission” programs, but doesn’t indicate ED and no early deadline) n/a
Boston College ED I: November 1; ED 2: January 1 no
Georgia December 1 no
Iowa n/a n/a
UC Davis November 1 no
Florida December 15 no
Wake Forest November 1 no
Indiana November 1 no
Ohio State for 2018, November 19 (didn’t have updated info) no
North Carolina n/a n/a
Wisconsin November 15 no
Washington & Lee December 1 no
Brigham Young n/a n/a
Fordham no ED program, but an “Early Action Program – non-binding n/a
U of Arizona n/a n/a

8 Responses

  1. Hi Ann,

    I’m a splitter 176 LSAT/3.5 GPA (from an HYP). I want to maximize my prospects of getting into a top school and am sensing that ED could be an opportunity for me to leverage commitment against my below-average GPA. Scholarship is also a factor for me, making Northwestern and Berkeley top ED choices. Do you think I might be wasting an opportunity to shoot for higher-ranked schools with above-average LSAT score?

  2. Hi Ann,

    If a school gives you an acceptance and substantial financial aid package before an early decision (legally binding) law program that you applied to does, are you obligated to wait to the early decision’s response? Can an applicant just cancel the early decision?

    Thank you so much for you help,

      1. Hi Ann,
        I’m a reverse splitter, haven’t taken my LSAT yet, taking it in October, but I’ve been scoring low 150’s and hoping to increase the score to 160 by then. My GPA is 3.98. I would like to get some scholarship, so now I’m thinking against the ED. However, would you recommend still considering ED with my stats to increase my chances of getting in? Looking into most schools on the list.

  3. Hello. I just got waitlisted to my #1 choice. I only make the 25th LSAT percentile and I don’t even meet the 25th percentile for GPA by about a point. I am grateful to be waitlisted. I plan to write a LOCI and to continue to reach out in a timely manner. I don’t know what else to do. I have taken the LSAT 3 times and my 1st time is still my highest score. Both times after I scored lower. I know that retaking the LSAT and sending them an improved score would increase my chances of being admitted off the WL but the problem is I don’t know if I can do better. What if I do worse again?? Next, I went to undergrad at this institution so I am aware of what the building looks like/ campus/ culture ect. I have never done an official tour.. would you still recommend this even though I went there for under grad? . Looking forward to hearing from you!

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