Applying to Law School
Law School Application Process and Timeline
Applying early in the law school admission cycle may give you an advantage. Apply in October to take advantage of rolling admissions and the fact that law schools usually give out grants and scholarships early in the admission cycle.
Pre-Law Guide for Students
Students are encouraged to carefully assess whether law school is their best career option and then to learn as much as possible about the law school admission process. In addition to talking with CC’s Pre-Law Advisor, you should consult the guide linked below. The Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors has written a comprehensive guide for students contemplating attending law school or negotiating the admissions process.
Law School Admissions Council
This website contains important information for students preparing and registering for the LSAT and applying to law school. The Candidate Assembly Service (CAS), housed on this website, is an online application management system used by nearly all ABA approved law schools. Many law schools require that students apply through the CAS. www.LSAC.org
Dean’s Certification Form
Some law schools require applicants to submit a “Dean’s Certification” form that provides information on academic and disciplinary issues that students may have encountered as an undergraduate.
At Colorado College, Dean’s Certification Forms are handled by The Office of Student Life. If the law school to which you are applying requires a Dean’s Certification Form, bring the form with signed authorization to Armstrong Hall, Room 100 . If off-campus, you can also fax the form to the Office of Student Life.
Note: Not all law schools require the dean's certification form. If required, you will find the forms with the application material provided by each school.
Recommendation letters should include concrete examples of intellectual strength, analytical ability, research skills, maturity, judgment, motivation, and leadership, along with an appraisal of communication skills and a comparison to peers.
Letters written by faculty carry the most weight, since they can address your performance in an academic setting and discuss your potential for success in law school. At least one letter should be from a professor in your undergraduate major, if at all possible.
Unless you have been in the work force for several years, letters from people outside academia often carry considerably less weight, since they are unable to address your academic potential.
Law schools are generally less impressed with letters from well-known politicians or high-profile employers since the letters tend to be effusive and contain little concrete, substantive information. And frequently, the letters are not written by the individuals, but rather by people on their staffs.
How To Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
Approach recommenders well in advance of the application deadline. Ask them, "Would you be able to write a strong letter of recommendation for my application to law school?" If the person hesitates, ask someone else.
If the answer is yes, provide enough information about your background to assist a recommender in writing a detailed letter. Consider including:
- cover sheet including courses you have taken with this recommender, research you have conducted, etc. This is especially important if you have already graduated from Colorado College.
- copies of exams or papers written in his/her class
- your transcript
- draft of your personal statement (if available)
- up-to-date resume
- recommendation forms from the lsac.org website or from the law schools
- stamped envelopes addressed to the LSAC or to the schools
- dates when recommendations are due
Also, be sure to discuss waiving your right of access to the letters.
After you have received decisions, send thank-you letters to your recommenders and let them know where you have been accepted and where you intend to enroll.
New Evaluation Service for law school applicants.
In the fall of 2010, LSAC is initiating a new way for law schools to learn about the skills and attributes applicants possess. Evaluators will be invited by applicants via e-mail to electronically provide ratings and comments on six non-cognitive skill and attribute categories; law schools specify how many evaluations and/or letters of recommendation will be required or accepted. The service is included as part of LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service and is available through their LSAC.org accounts at no additional charge. It is not known at this time which law schools will require applicants to use this new evaluation service.
Candidate Referral Service (CRS)
If you create an account with LSAC for any purpose, such as registering for the LSAT, you have the opportunity to authorize the release of information about yourself to law schools and organizations. Law schools use LSAC’s Candidate Referral Service (CRS) to search for potential applicants. A school may, for example, indicate an interest in men or women who belong to minority groups, reside in certain states, have undergraduate grade–point averages or LSAT scores within specific ranges, or have combinations of these and other characteristics. By registering for CRS, you authorize the release of all of your biographic, academic, and employment information, as well as information you have provided about your law school preferences, to eligible law schools for use in the recruitment and admission processes.
After reviewing information about you provided by CRS, a law school may contact you with information about its programs, or a school may invite you to apply.
Law School Forums
Law School Forums are held in cities throughout the United States to give prospective law students an opportunity to talk personally with representatives from ABA-approved law schools. Although there is no Forum in Colorado, CC students should check out the schedule to see if there is a Forum that will be held in a location that they can access. For students living in the Washington, DC area in the summer, the DC Forum held in June or July of each year, would be of interest. CU Boulder also holds its Law Fair each fall, with over 100 law schools attending. Call CC’s Career Center to find out the date for this Fair. In addition, Colorado College hosts law schools who are interested in recruiting CC students. Sign up for the Pre-Law Society listserv to learn about law schools visiting CC.