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.