How Many Law Schools Should You Apply To?

Law School Expert Blog

I saw one of my competitors today give the very helpful advice that you should apply to anywhere between 1-27 law schools. Helpful, right?
They were right about one thing – location comes first. (See my previous postings about why this is true).
The answer to this question really depends on your professional goals, potential weaknesses in your application, and the strength of your experiences and how they are presented in your application. For example, if you have a problem in your application, like an arrest or academic probation, this rule doesn’t work for you. Likewise, if the city where you want to be only has 3 law schools you won’t find this to be very helpful.
That being said, a good rule of thumb is this:
1. Apply to 2-4 schools where your LSAT is at the 25th percentile.
2. Apply to 2 schools where your LSAT is at the 75th percentile.
3. Apply to 3-5 schools where your LSAT is in the mid-range of accepted applicants.

Why am I only counting LSAT? Because GPA is too subjective. A 3.1 from one school might be equivalent to a 3.6 at another school. An upward grade trend can also make a difference. If your grades are in the 3.0 range, this rule of thumb probably will work for you if your applications are strong and really sell your strengths.

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tip, I’ve been wondering about this myself. Time to start saving for application fees!

    Do you have any tips for older folks (30+) who are still working their way through their undergrad degrees on applying to law school? As an evening student with a full-time job, I don’t have the same opportunity to build relationships through “face time” with my professors that more “traditional” students have. (Usually everyone’s ready to go when class ends at 10PM, the professor included!) I’m sure all hope is not lost, but what alternatives are there?

  2. Pete – this is a great question. So good, that I’m going to answer it in a separate post geared toward non-traditional applicants. Stay tuned – it’ll be up later today or tomorrow.

  3. I am in the 30+ range and did the LSAt years ago and got a 144 and did not get into the schools I wanted. I am going to do it agin this fall (September). What would you suggest that I do to get to at least 150 or more?

  4. I am going to reply to this comment in a separate post so more people can benefit from the answer. Stay tuned – I’ll post it shortly.

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