If you’ve been admitted to law school for Fall 2008, you probably have a seat deposit due April 1 or April 15. The complication, of course, is you may be one of the many law school applicants waiting to hear from other schools and you probably don’t feel ready to make a commitment to one school without knowing what your other options might be.
The most common question is whether an applicant can submit a deposit to more than one law school. The answer to this question has changed in the last year thanks to a new LSAC policy.
Here is what LSAC says:
Many law schools use seat deposits to help keep track of their new classes. For example, a typical fee is $200, which is credited to your first-term tuition if you actually register at the school; if you don’t register, the deposit may be forfeited or partially returned. A school may require a larger deposit around July 1, which is also credited to tuition. If you decline the offer of admission after you’ve paid your deposit, a portion of the money may be refunded, depending on the date you actually decline the offer. At some schools, you may not be refunded any of the deposit.
The official position of the Law School Admission Council is:
Except under early decision plans, no law school should require an enrollment commitment of any kind, binding or non-binding, to an offer of admission or scholarship prior to April 1. Admitted applicants who have submitted a timely financial aid application should not be required to commit to enroll by having to make a nonrefundable financial commitment until notified of financial aid awards that are within the control of the law school.
Multiple Deposit Notification
Each year, LSAC provides participating law schools with periodic reports detailing the number of applicants who have submitted seat deposits or commitments at other participating schools, along with identification of those other schools. Beginning June 15, 2008, those reports will also include the names and LSAC account numbers for all candidates who have deposits/commitments at multiple participating schools.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Be smart and ask each law school about their policy on multiple deposits. (NYLS has been kind enough to send a threatening e-mail about this to some of my clients this year). If a school says they will not penalize you for multiple deposits, then great. If they say they might revoke your offer of admission then that will definitely impact your decision.
I’d love to hear comments from applicants who are navigating these unchartered waters….