⭐️Application Requirements for Top Law Schools (2018–19)

Also check out our chart of law school medians and our free, public spreadsheet of T21 app requirements.

Table of Contents (USNWR Rank/School)

1/ Yale University (CT)
2/ Stanford University (CA)
3/ Harvard University (MA)
4/ University of Chicago
5/ Columbia University (NY)
6/ New York University
7/ University of Pennsylvania
8/ University of Michigan
9/ University of California—Berkeley
9/ University of Virginia
11/ Duke University (NC)
11/ Northwestern University (IL)
13/ Cornell University (NY)
14/ Georgetown (DC)
15/ University of Texas—Austin
16/ University of California—Los Angeles
17/ Vanderbilt University (TN)
18/ Washington University in St. Louis
19/ University of Southern California (Gould)
20/ University of Minnesota
21/ University of California—Irvine

1/ Yale University (CT)

Deadline: Feb 28
Early decision: not offered

Personal Statement
Please submit a personal statement that will enable the Admissions Committee to make a fully informed judgment on your application. Many applicants include the personal statement they have prepared for other law school applications.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

College Activities
Please answer a, b, and c separately from any included résumé. Your application will not be considered complete unless a, b, and c are answered. Please list:

(a) Significant extracurricular activities and unpaid externships or internships in college, in order of their relative importance to you. Please estimate your time commitment for each activity.

(b) Paid employment while in college and during vacations.

(c) Other activities during college (in or out of school) that you consider relevant.

Post-College Activities
If it has been more than three months since you attended college, describe what you have been doing in the interval. You should include graduate or professional education, paid or unpaid employment, as well as any other activities that you consider relevant. Please answer this question separately from any information provided in a résumé.

250-Word Essay
Write an essay of not more than 250 words about a subject of your choice. The Admissions Committee looks to the 250-word essay to evaluate an applicant's writing, reasoning, and editing skills. The subject is not limited; the choice of topic itself may be informative to the readers.

Addendum
You may use this attachment slot to provide any additional information necessary for a full representation of your candidacy. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a diversity statement, GPA addendum, or LSAT addendum, among other things.]

2/ Stanford University (CA)

Deadline: Feb 1
Early decision: not offered

Personal Statement

Please attach a statement of about two pages describing important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Optional Diversity Statement

Although admission to Stanford Law School is based primarily upon superior academic achievement and potential to contribute to the legal profession, the Admissions Committee also considers the diversity (broadly defined) of an entering class as important to the school's educational mission. If you would like the committee to consider how your background, life and work experiences, advanced studies, extracurricular or community activities, culture, socio-economic status, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expressions, or other factors would contribute to the diversity of the entering class (and hence to your classmates' law school educational experience), you may describe these factors and their relevance in a separate diversity essay.

Optional Short Essays

If you think these optional short essays could help us get a better sense of who you are, we encourage you to consider submitting your responses to no more than two of the following questions. Note that there is a 100 to 250-word limit for each question.

  • What literary character do you most associate yourself with?
  • You're given the opportunity to teach a one-day class to your fellow students at Stanford Law School. Based on your particular skills and talents, what would you teach?
  • The library in the town where you grew up has been destroyed. Choose three books to contribute to rebuilding the library's collection.
  • Music has a way of setting tone and mood for any occasion. With this in mind, pick three songs or musical works to be playing in the background as the Admissions Committee reviews your materials.

Optional Addenda

If you wish to provide additional and relevant information that is not explained in the required application materials, please attach a brief statement. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, standardized test addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

Our advice: answer one of the short essay prompts; only write out the optional diversity statement or addendum if it will add value to your application.

3/ Harvard University (MA)

Deadline: Feb 1
Early decision: not offered.

Personal Statement

Please submit a brief personal statement.
Limit your statement to two pages, typed, double-spaced, minimum 11-point font and 1-inch margins.

The personal statement is intended as an opportunity to give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School. In many instances, applicants have used the personal statement to provide more context on how their experiences and strengths could make them valuable contributors to the Harvard and legal communities, to illuminate their intellectual background and interests, or to clarify or elaborate on other information in their application. Because applicants and their experiences differ, you are the best person to determine the content of your statement.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Optional Statement

The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand your achievements in the context of your background and to build a diverse student body. If applicable, you may choose to submit an optional additional statement to elaborate on how you could contribute to the diversity of the Harvard Law School community.[This is a diversity statement prompt.]

Addenda
If you have an addendum, please attach it here.[This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, standardized test addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

4/ University of Chicago

Deadline: Mar 1
Early Decision: Dec 1

Personal Statement

Please use the personal statement to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee and to help the Committee get to know you on a personal level. It should demonstrate your potential contribution to the Law School community beyond simply academics and should demonstrate your ability to communicate your thoughts effectively. The Admissions Committee generally finds that a statement that focuses on a unique personal attribute or experience is usually the most informative (as opposed to a restatement of your qualifications or résumé).

While there is no page or word limit on the personal statement, please note that the Admissions Committee values an applicant's ability to communicate thoughts in a clear and concise manner. The Admissions Committee typically finds that 2-4 pages is a sufficient length for most personal statements.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended, but don’t rehash your qualifications or your résumé.

Doctoroff Statement

If you answered "yes" to the Doctoroff Program question: "If you are admitted to the Law School, do you want to be considered for the Doctoroff Business Leadership Program", please attach a statement of interest describing in 250 words or less why you want to participate in the Doctoroff Program and how earning the Doctoroff Program Certificate will help you achieve your career goals.

Optional Addendum 1 and 2

Please use the additional addendum options to provide any additional information that you believe is important to the Admissions Committee's evaluation of your application. For example, you may use an addendum to discuss how your background or experiences will enhance the diversity of the University of Chicago Law community, a disparity in multiple LSAT scores, any weaknesses or significant trends in your undergraduate record, a gap in education or work, or any other questions or issues that you believe may arise as the Committee is reviewing your record. Please note that it is not necessary to attach an addendum. Please do so only if you think it is necessary to the review of your file.

[This is an open-ended prompt. You could respond with a diversity statement, LSAT addendum, GPA addendum, or something else.]

5/ Columbia University (NY)

Deadline: Feb 15
Early decision: Nov 15

Personal Statement

Candidates to Columbia Law School are required to submit a personal statement supplementing required application materials. We are curious about your interests, goals, and aspirations and how the J.D. program at Columbia can help you achieve these. You are encouraged to think about the contributions you hope to make to both the Columbia community and the legal profession while considering your personal, intellectual, and professional background and any relevant information that you may not have otherwise conveyed through your other application materials. Please note that the personal statement should be double-spaced and approximately two pages in length. This statement should be attached electronically.

Bottom line: the prompt is mostly open-ended, but you should explain why you’re going to law school by the end of the essay, and why you’re interested in Columbia in particular.

Supplementary Statement

Optional: Candidates may add brief supplementary statements they believe will enable the Admissions Committee to make a fully informed decision on the application. The Committee especially welcomes addenda that allow it to understand the contribution the applicant's background (e.g., socioeconomic status, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation) would add to the Columbia Law School community. Should you have multiple addenda, please combine (on separate pages, if necessary) these into one document and upload here.

[This is an open-ended prompt. You could respond with a brief diversity statement, LSAT addendum, GPA addendum, or something else.]

Optional Short Answer Question

In the space below, feel free to share any "fun facts" about yourself (hobbies, interests, special talents, and accomplishments, etc.) that the Admissions Committee may not be able to glean otherwise from your application. Please note that whether you choose to answer the question or not, there will be no impact on your admissions decision. (maximum characters 1000)

6/ New York University

Deadline: Feb 15
Early decision: Nov 15

Personal Statement

Please clearly identify your personal statement and include your name and LSAC Account Number on all attachments.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Underrepresented Group

Please attach a brief statement describing aspects of your identity, as indicated in section 7 (Underrepresented Group), that are relevant to your application.[This prompt calls for a diversity statement about being a member of an underrepresented group.]

Additional Optional Information

The Committee on Admissions encourages you to provide any information that may be helpful to us in reaching a thoughtful decision on your application. While the choice as to whether and what information to submit to the Committee is entirely yours, any information you provide will be used to give you full credit for your accomplishments, to help the Committee reach an informed decision on your application, and to aid the Committee in selecting a diverse student body.

Information that has been helpful in the past includes, but is not limited to, descriptions or documentation of disabilities, a history of standardized test results, unusual circumstances which may have affected academic performance, or personal/family history of educational or socioeconomic disadvantage. This list is not all-inclusive, but we offer it for you to think about as you consider whether such information might be relevant in your case, and to assure you that including it is quite appropriate.

You may attach a brief statement including any such information. **Please include your name and LSAC Account Number on all attachments.

Application materials and all supporting documents submitted in connection with an application for admitted students who enroll at NYU School of Law become part of the student's law school records and are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). [This is an open-ended prompt that could include a disability diversity statement, a standardized test addendum, a GPA addendum, or an economic disadvantage diversity statement.]**

AnBryce Essay

As an applicant for the AnBryce Scholarship, you should complete your JD application by January 1, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 1. You must also submit an additional essay (500-750 words) with the JD application that discusses the circumstances surrounding the challenges you have encountered in your life that qualify you to be a recipient of this scholarship. You should be sure to address how you have embodied the attributes of an AnBryce Scholar in overcoming personal obstacles, and how your legal education will enable you to promote the ideals underlying the program in your career.

For more information about the AnBryce Scholarship Program, please visit: http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/jdscholarships/anbryce

Cybersecurity Essay

The Cybersecurity Service Scholarship provides full-tuition scholarships for students who are dedicated to state, local, or federal government service and passionate about national security, cybersecurity, and information security (no previous technical background is necessary). For more information, please visit: http://cyber.nyu.edu/student-scholarships/cybersecurity-service-scholarship.

As an applicant for Cybersecurity Service Scholarship, you should complete your JD application by January 1, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 1. You are required to submit, as an addendum to the JD application, a statement (no more than 500 words) that describes your interest in cybersecurity and in public service. You are also required to submit at least two references that may be contacted during the interview process.

Furman Academic Essay

As an applicant for the Furman Academic Scholars Program, you should complete your JD application by January 15, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 15. You are also required to submit an additional essay (approximately 500 words) with the JD application that describes why you wish to pursue a career in legal academia and gives some sense of the field of legal scholarship you hope to pursue. In addition, you should explain why NYU School of Law is the right place for you to pursue your legal studies. Selections are based on the strength of a candidate's record and recommendations. All Furman Academic Scholars Program finalists are invited to visit the Law School for interviews and an introduction to the program.

For more information about the Furman Academic Scholars Program, please visit: http://www.law.nyu.edu/furmanprogram/furmanacademicscholarsprogram

Public Policy Essay

As an applicant for the Furman Public Policy Scholarship, you should complete your JD application by January 1, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 1. You are required to submit with the JD application an additional essay (no more than 500 words) that describes your interest in public policy, and what specific public policy areas you wish to pursue with your law school training. You are also required to submit a recommendation letter that speaks to your interest or experience in public policy.

For more information about the Furman Public Policy Scholarship, please visit: http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/jdscholarships/furmanpublicpolicyscholarship

Latinx Rights Essay

As an applicant for the Latinx Rights Scholars Program, you should complete your JD application by January 1, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 1. You are also required to submit an additional essay (no more than 500 words) with the JD application that addresses your interest in serving the needs of Latinx communities.

For more information about the Latinx Rights Scholars Program, please visit:http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/jdscholarships/latinx-rights-scholarship.

Law and Business Essay

As an applicant for the Jacobson Leadership Program in Law and Business and/or the Nordlicht Family Scholarship, you should complete your JD application by January 1, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 1. Please indicate your specific scholarship interest(s) in your essay. You are also required to submit an additional essay (no more than 500 words) with the JD application. The essay should address your interest in the area of law and business or law and social entrepreneurship.

If you are applying for the Nordlicht Family Scholarship which supports social entrepreneurship through legal studies, your essay should address your interest in pursuing a career in social entrepreneurship. The Nordlicht Family Scholarship is limited to applicants with financial need as determined by the Law School financial aid application process. If you do not qualify for need-based financial aid, your Nordlicht Family Scholarship application will be considered for the Jacobson Leadership Scholarship.

For more information about the Jacobson Leadership Program in Law and Business, please visit: http://www.law.nyu.edu/leadershipprogram and http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/grunin-social-entrepreneurship.

Root-Tilden-Kern Essay

As an applicant for the Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship, you should complete your JD application by January 1, and you should have a complete CAS report ready to be requested by our office no later than January 1.

Applicants to the Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship automatically are considered for the Lindemann Family Public Service Scholarship; Jacobson Public Service Scholarship for Women, Children and Families; Filomen M. D'Agostino Scholarship for Women or Children; and Filomen M. D'Agostino Scholarship in Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Criminal Justice. Applicants who wish to be considered for the Sinsheimer Service Scholarship must indicate their interest in the scholarship on their application.

All Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship applicants must submit a short public service essay not to exceed 750 words. Discuss your public service commitment and goals, and the factors that have most significantly influenced them, or any other aspects you consider relevant to your qualification for the scholarship(s). If your personal statement directly addresses your public service commitment, you may choose not to submit a separate essay and instead indicate on the personal statement that you would like it to also serve as your public service essay. At least one letter of recommendation must address your public service commitment.

For more information about the Root-Tilden-Kern Program, please visit: http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/jdscholarships/rootscholarship.

7/ University of Pennsylvania

Deadline: Mar 1
Early decision: Nov 15 (round 1); Jan 7 (round 2)

Personal Statement

The Admissions Committee requires that every applicant submit an original example of written expression. The purpose of this personal statement is to provide you with as flexible an opportunity as possible to submit information that you deem important to your candidacy. You may wish to describe aspects of your background and interests--intellectual, personal or professional--and how you will uniquely contribute to the Penn Law community and/or the legal profession. Please limit your statement to two pages, double spaced and label it as "Personal Statement" with your name and LSAC account number on each page.

Bottom line: the prompt is open-ended, but consider explaining why you’re going to law school and why you’re interested in Penn in particular by the end of the essay.

Optional Essays

If you wish, you may write an additional essay on any of the following topics. These optional essays allow you an opportunity to provide the admissions committee with additional relevant information that you were not able to include in your personal statement. Please include the essay with your application by electronically attaching it to your application before submission through LSAC. You may answer more than one essay topic if you so choose. Include your name and LSAC account number on each page. Please limit any optional essay to one page, double spaced and title it appropriately.

  • Describe how your background or experiences will enhance the diversity of the Penn Law community (e.g., based on your culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ideology, age, socioeconomic status, academic background, employment, or personal experience).[This is a diversity statement prompt.]
  • These are the core strengths that make Penn Law the best place to receive a rigorous and engaging legal education: genuine integration with associated disciplines; transformative, forward-looking faculty scholarship; highly-regarded experiential learning through urban clinics and our pro bono pledge; innovative, hands-on global engagement; and a manifest commitment to professional development and collegiality. These qualities define Penn Law. What defines you? How do your goals and values match Penn Law’s core strengths?
  • Describe a time when, as a member of a team, you particularly excelled or were especially frustrated. What was your role within that team? What was the outcome?
  • If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why.[This is a standard call for a GPA or LSAT addendum.]

Our advice: write the core-strengths or team-member essay; only include the diversity statement and addendum if they will add value to your application.

8/ University of Michigan

Deadline: Feb 15

Early decision: Nov 1 (round 1); Dec 7 (round 2)

Personal Statement

As you prepare to write your personal statement, please keep the following in mind. First, we do not have a fixed checklist of particular attributes we seek in our students, and you will have the best insights into what is most important for us to know about you. Second, there is no set convention for communicating the information you choose to share. A successful essay might involve writing directly about expansive themes such as your goals or philosophy or background or identity, or very differently, might be a vignette that reveals something significant about you. In other words, think broadly about what you might wish to convey and how you might best convey it.

While the form and content of your personal statement are up to you, for ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font.

There is no formula for a successful personal statement, and different individuals will find different topics to be well-suited to them. Applicants have, for example, elaborated on their significant life experiences; meaningful intellectual interests and extracurricular activities; factors inspiring them to obtain a legal education or to pursue particular career goals; significant obstacles met and overcome; special talents or skills; issues of sexual or gender identity; particular political, philosophical, or religious beliefs; socioeconomic challenges; atypical backgrounds, educational paths, employment histories, or prior careers; or experiences and perspectives relating to disadvantage, disability, or discrimination. Any of these subjects, and many more, could be an appropriate basis for communicating important information about yourself that will aid us in reaching a thoughtful decision. The length of your personal statement is up to you.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Supplemental Essays

The University of Michigan Law School has long understood that enrolling students with a broad range of perspectives and experiences generates a vibrant culture of comprehensive debate and discussion, and we view our student body as one of our richest resources. The wide-ranging and challenging conversations of our diverse student body, inside and outside the classroom, enrich the quality of our community’s intellectual life and enhance the quality of the legal education here.

Essay submissions are an extremely helpful tool for evaluating your potential contributions to our community. As you prepare to write any optional essays, please keep the following in mind. First, we do not have a fixed checklist of particular attributes we seek in our students, and you will have the best insights into what is most important for us to know about you. Second, there is no set convention for communicating the information you choose to share. A successful essay might involve writing directly about expansive themes such as your goals or philosophy or background or identity, or very differently, might be a vignette that reveals something significant about you. In other words, think broadly about what you might wish to convey and how you might best convey it.

While the form and content of your essays are up to you, for ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font.

Supplemental essays allow you an opportunity to provide us with relevant information that you were not able to include elsewhere in your application materials. If you wish, write one or two essays (but no more) on the following topics. Each essay should be about one page (and no more than two).

  1. Say more about your interest in the University of Michigan Law School. What do you believe Michigan has to offer to you and you to Michigan?
  2. Describe your current hopes for your career after completing law school. How will your education, experience, and development so far support those plans?
  3. If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why.

[This is a GPA or LSAT addendum prompt.]

  1. Describe a failure or setback in your life. How did you overcome it? What, if anything, would you do differently if confronted with this situation again?
  2. Describe an experience that speaks to the problems and possibilities of diversity in an educational or work setting. [This is an opportunity for an applicant without any diversity factors to write about diversity.]
  3. What do you think are the skills and values of a good lawyer? Which do you already possess? Which do you hope to develop?
  4. How might your perspectives and experiences enrich the quality and breadth of the intellectual life of our community or enhance the legal profession? [This is a diversity statement prompt.]
  5. Describe your educational experiences so far. What kinds of learning environments, teaching methods, student cultures, and/or evaluation processes lead you to thrive, or contrariwise, thwart your success?

Our advice: write at least one of the optional essays; only include the optional diversity statement or addendum if they will be a valuable addition to your application.

9/ University of California—Berkeley

Not available yet

Deadline: Feb 1
Early decision: Nov 12
Automatic $75k scholarship to ED admits

Personal Statement
Please provide more information about yourself in a written personal statement. The subject matter of the essay is up to you, but keep in mind that the reader will be seeking a sense of you as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Berkeley Law.

Berkeley Law seeks to enroll a class with varied backgrounds and interests. If you wish, you may discuss how your interests, background, life experiences, and perspectives would contribute to the diversity of the entering class. If applicable, you may also describe any disadvantages that may have adversely affected your past performance or that you have successfully overcome, including linguistic barriers or a personal or family history of cultural, educational, or socioeconomic disadvantage.

Your personal statement should be limited to four double-spaced pages. The thoughts and words contained therein must be your own and no one else should assist in its creation beyond basic proofreading and critiquing. Please include your name and LSAC account number on each page of the statement.

Bottom Line: this is an open-ended prompt, but consider discussing any diversity factors that may be relevant.

Why Berkeley Law

Tell us more about your interest in Berkeley Law. What makes our school a good fit for you in terms of academic interests, programmatic offerings, and learning environment? (350 word maximum)

Diversity Statement

How will you (your perspective, experience, Voice) contribute diversity in our classrooms and community? (350 word maximum)

Addenda
You may attach any other supplemental materials or addenda to your application here.

Our advice: write out the “Why Berkley” statement; only include the optional diversity statement or addendum statements if it will add value to your application.

9/ University of Virginia

Deadline: Mar 4

Early decision: Mar 4

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should provide information, in your own words, you believe relevant to the admissions decision not elicited elsewhere in the application. The statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself; it may address your intellectual interests, significant accomplishments or obstacles overcome, personal or professional goals, educational achievements, or any way in which your perspective or experiences will add to the richness of the educational environment at the Law School. Please upload your personal statement to your e-application via LSAC.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Optional Addenda

Should you wish to address topics (or other aspects of yourself or your application) that are not addressed elsewhere in your application, this section can be used to attach as many topics as you wish. If multiple topics are addressed, we prefer that you separate topics and upload each separately, and as descriptively labeled if possible. [This is an open-ended prompt, which could be used to submit a diversity statement, GPA addendum, standardized test addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

Short Answer Question

The University of Virginia School of Law and our graduates have a well-known and long-standing reputation for collegiality, involvement, and collaboration. Therefore, because we would like to know how you may have displayed these qualities, please list your significant extracurricular, extra-professional, community and/or other activities in the order of importance to you. Please provide a brief description of each activity, and specify your involvement, length of involvement, special projects, and responsibilities. required (maximum characters 2000)

11/ Duke University (NC)

Deadline: Feb 15
Early decision: Nov 1 (round 1); Jan 3 (round 2)

Personal Statement

You must submit a personal statement with the application. The statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and should include (1) what you think have been your significant personal experiences beyond what may be reflected in your academic transcripts and on your résumé, and (2) your personal and career ambitions. If your personal statement does not directly address your interest in attending law school and practicing law, we strongly encourage you to write Optional Essay 1. There is no required length or page limit.

The personal statement, optional essays, and all other writing samples must be your own work. This means that the ideas and expressions originated with you, and you wrote all drafts and the final product. It does not preclude asking family members, friends, pre-law advisors, and others for proofreading assistance or general feedback.

Bottom line: Describe (1) significant personal experiences and (2) personal and career ambitions.

Optional Essay I

You may submit an essay providing additional information about why you have chosen to apply to law school in general and Duke in particular. We are interested in the factors that have prompted your interest in a legal career and the ways in which you think Duke can further that interest.

[This is a “why Duke” essay. You should also say a few words about why you’re applying to law school in general.]

Optional Essay II

Our admission process is guided by the view that a student body that reflects the broad diversity of society contributes to the implementation of the Law School’s mission, improves the learning process, and enriches the educational experience for all students. In reviewing applications, we consider, as one factor among many, how an applicant may contribute to the diversity of the Law School based on the candidate’s experiences, achievements, background, and perspectives. This approach ensures the best and most relevant possible legal training and serves the legal profession by training lawyers to effectively serve an increasingly diverse society. You are invited to submit an essay that describes your particular life experiences with an emphasis on how the perspectives that you have acquired would contribute to Duke Law School’s intellectual community and enhance the diversity of the student body. Examples of topics include (but are not limited to): an experience of prejudice, bias, economic disadvantage, personal adversity, or other social hardship (perhaps stemming from one’s religious affiliation, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity); experience as a first-generation college student; significant employment history (such as in business, military or law enforcement, or public service); experience as an immigrant or refugee; graduate study; or impressive leadership achievement (including college or community service). [This is a diversity statement prompt.]

Miscellaneous Addenda

You are welcome to use this attachment to submit an addendum or additional information not included elsewhere in your application. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, LSAT addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

Our advice: write the “Why Duke” statement; only write out the optional diversity statement or addendum if they will add value to your application.

11/ Northwestern University (IL)

Deadline: Feb 15
Early decision: Nov 15
Automatic $120k scholarship to ED admits ($40k annual scholarship)

Personal Statement

Include a typed personal statement (recommended length: one to three pages, double-spaced). Please look upon this essay as an opportunity to introduce yourself to members of the Admissions Committee. In doing so, keep in mind that the committee evaluates applicants in many areas beyond test scores. We encourage you to discuss personal and professional goals that are important to you and to include information about your achievements. Feel free to comment further about your education, background, community involvement, and strengths and weaknesses in certain courses or activities. Please type your name and LSAC account number on the top of each page. The statement should be electronically attached.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended, but consider describing your personal and professional goals.

Optional Essay

The following question provides you with an additional opportunity to give the Admissions Committee relevant information that you were not able to include in your personal statement. While you are not required to answer it, if you choose to do so, please limit your response to one typed page or less. The optional essay should be electronically attached. You can only attach one document to this section.

  • Optional Essay: The students at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law come from many different backgrounds. Please describe an aspect of your background that you feel would allow you to contribute uniquely to the school and/or your classmates.

[This is a diversity statement prompt.]

Addendum

If you have any additional information you would like to share with the Admissions Committee, you can electronically attach your addendum here. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt.]

Optional Short Answer Questions

  1. What are your career interest(s) immediately after law school? (maximum characters 500)
  2. What are your long-term career goals? (maximum characters 500)
13/ Cornell University (NY)

Deadline: Feb 1
Early decision: Nov 1 (round 1); Jan 8 (round 2)

Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to discuss anything that you believe will be relevant to your admission to Cornell Law School. Attach your personal statement here (required).

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Diversity Statement

In making admissions decisions we give consideration, among other things, to diversity factors (including but not limited to racial or ethnic group identification; cultural, linguistic or economic group identification; sexual orientation; or other factors), obstacles that you have overcome, and/or discrimination that you have experienced. If you choose to submit a diversity statement (in addition to the required personal statement), discuss any or all of these issues to the extent they apply to you.

Short-Answer: Why Cornell

Why have you chosen to apply to Cornell Law School? Briefly explain. (maximum characters 1000)

Study Interrupted

Has your attendance in college, university, graduate school, or professional school been interrupted for one or more terms for any reason?

Addenda

If there is anything additional you believe would be helpful to us when reviewing your application, you may include it here. If you are providing multiple addenda, provide a separate description header for each statement. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, standardized test addendum, among others.]

Short Answer Question

Who, if anyone, has influenced your decision to apply to Cornell Law School? (maximum characters 1000)

15/ Georgetown (DC)

Deadline: Mar 1
Early decision: Mar 1

Personal Statement
You may write your personal statement on any subject of importance that you feel will assist the Admissions Committee in their decision. Please double-space.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Optional Statement
The Law Center recruits students from diverse racial, economic, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. The Admissions Committee encourages you to attach a brief statement that will enable the Committee to understand the contribution your personal background would make to the student body of Georgetown University Law Center. [This is a diversity statement prompt.]

Optional Response
In the Office of Admissions, we take great pride in dispelling the myth that the admissions process is strictly a numbers game. While numbers are important, the Admissions Committee would like to give you the opportunity to express yourself, and us the opportunity to get to know you, in another way. Please feel free to choose ONE of the following 5 optional responses.
When we say optional, we really do mean optional. The Committee will in NO way hold it against you if you choose not to answer any of these questions.

250 words maximum

1. What is the most important thing you have changed your mind about?
2. Give us your top ten list.
3. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Describe your most interesting mistake.
4. Fill a 5 1/2" long by 2 1/2" wide box in any way you'd like.
5. Prepare a one-minute video that says something about you. Upload it to an easily accessible website and provide us the URL. (If you are using YouTube, we strongly suggest that you make your video unlisted so it will not appear in any of YouTube’s public spaces.) What you do or say is entirely up to you. Please note that we are unable to watch videos that come in any form other than a URL link.

Optional Addendum
Please attach any addendums you would like included in the review of your application here. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, standardized test addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

Our advice: answer one of the Optional Response prompts; only write out a diversity statement or addendum if it will add value to your application.

15/ University of Texas—Austin

Deadline: Mar 1
Early Decision: Nov 1

Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee more about your interests, as well as the important experiences and aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent from your resume and academic record. Your personal statement demonstrates to the Admissions Committee not only how you write - a skill fundamental to success in the legal profession - but also how you think and how you have reflected upon and derived meaning from your life experiences. Although there is no specific topic or question for the personal statement, your narrative should at some point address your decision to pursue a legal education. Please review the information at law.utexas.edu/admissions/apply/application-review/ for a list of factors the Admissions Committee considers in the admission process. Your personal statement may not exceed two (2) double-spaced pages with a minimum font size of 11 points.

Bottom line: the prompt is mostly open-ended, but you should explain why you’re going to law school by the end of the essay.

Personal Disadvantage

Statement of Economic, Social, or Personal Disadvantage: The Law School is interested in learning of any significant disadvantage that an applicant may have encountered or endured. Such disadvantage might take different forms, e.g., an applicant's challenges as a first-generation college graduate; an applicant's struggle with a serious physical or mental disability; an applicant's encounter with discrimination based on race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or national origin; or an applicant's limited educational opportunities due to geographical or other restrictions. The committee believes factors such as these may provide additional insight into an applicant's academic potential. Ordinary predictive measures for academic success might be of less value if prior performance has been partly the result of a disadvantage. Optional statements should be limited to one page each. The statement of economic, social, or personal disadvantage may be combined with the personal statement; the personal statement should then be entitled, "Combined Personal/Economic, Social, or Personal Disadvantage Statement." The combined statement may not exceed three (3) double-spaced pages with a minimum font size of 11 points. [This is a diversity statement prompt.]

Undergraduate Performance

Undergraduate Performance: If your academic performance for one or more semesters was markedly different from that of other semesters, please explain. Please make any other comments about your college transcript(s) or your preparation for college that you believe will help the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application.[This is a GPA addendum prompt.]

Standardized Test Performance

Standardized Test Performance: Candidates sometimes seek to establish that their academic potential is inaccurately reflected by standardized tests or that one LSAT score is more representative than another. If you believe this to be true in your case, please explain.[This is an LSAT addendum prompt.]

16/ University of California—Los Angeles

Deadline: Feb 1
Early decision: Nov 15 (Early Decision Program); Nov 15 (Distinguished Scholar Program— a fellowship that provides full tuition funding for three years, given to exceptionally qualified students)

Personal Statement

Please upload a separate essay not to exceed two pages, and no less than 12-point font. In this essay, you may discuss any matters relevant to your ability to succeed in law school and the practice of law and any attributes, experiences, or interests that would enable you to make a distinctive contribution to the law school and/or the legal profession.

Bottom line: the prompt is mostly open-ended, but you should explain why you’re going to law school by the end of the essay.

Programmatic Contribution

If you believe you can make a distinctive contribution to a specific UCLA School of Law Specialization, Academic Program, Joint Degree, Law Review/Journal, or research in a particular subject area (as described at the website: www.law.ucla.edu), please identify one such specific area and explain your prior academic training, work, or extracurricular activities that enable you to make that distinctive contribution.

Joint-Degree Statement

If you checked the box for the J.D./Ph.D. in Philosophy in the Joint-Degree Programs question, please provide a brief statement (not to exceed two double-spaced typed pages, and no less than 12-point font) concerning your interest in law and philosophy and in the joint-degree program.

Disability Statement

(Optional) If you wish, you may upload supplemental information concerning your disability. [This question calls for a diversity statement about a disability.]

Disadvantage Statement

Please describe the socio-economic disadvantages you have overcome. [This question calls for a diversity statement about socio-economic disadvantages.]

Public Interest Essay

In order to apply to the Epstein Program, you must submit a brief supplemental Public Interest Essay not to exceed 1500 words. Your Public Interest Essay should discuss your vision for your future as a public interest lawyer. How do you hope your public interest career will develop? How do you expect to achieve your public interest goals? Your vision can be grounded in personal, academic, or professional background and experience; past public interest work; your philosophy of social justice and social change; or whatever else inspires you.

Optional Addendum

If there is additional information you would like to include in your application, please attach an addendum. [This is an open-ended addendum. You could use it to add a diversity statement not covered by the disability and socio-economic prompts.]

Achievement Fellowship Program

To apply to the UCLA Law Achievement Fellowship Program, you are required to submit a one page essay describing the obstacles you have overcome, what you are proudest of, and any other information that might bear on the strength of your candidacy and contributions to the UCLA community.

[This questions calls for a diversity statement for the achievement fellowship.]

Our advice: write out the Programmatic Contribution statement; don’t write out the diversity statements just because they ask— make sure all extra essays add value to your application.

17/ Vanderbilt University (TN)

Deadline: April 1
Early decision: not offered

Personal Statement

Please present yourself to the Admissions Committee by writing a personal statement. You may write about your background, experiences, interest in law, aspirations, or any topic that you feel will help readers of your application get a sense of you as a person and prospective law student. Please limit your statement to two pages.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Diversity Statement

This attachment is optional and welcome.

In addition to listing diversity characteristics on the application form, we welcome diversity statements that describe any aspect of your background or experience that you would like to provide.

Other 

This attachment is optional and user-defined.

You are welcome to use this attachment to provide any other information that you would like to make available to readers of your application [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, LSAT addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

18/ Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

Deadline: Aug 16

Early decision: Feb 1
Automatic full-tuition scholarship to ED admits

Personal Statement

A personal statement, approximately one to three pages in length, is not required during application submission and may be sent as an email attachment directly to the Washington University School of Law Admissions Office at applylaw@wustl.edu. Successful applicants have written about significant experiences and sources of personal motivation.

Bottom line: this prompt is open-ended.

Other 

Please attach any additional addendums. [This is an open-ended addendum prompt, which could be used to submit a GPA addendum, standardized test addendum, or work or study break addendum, among others.]

19/ University of Southern California (Gould)

Deadline: Feb 1 (priority)

Early decision: Nov 15

Personal Statement

You are required to submit a personal statement. Your statement should be between 2-3 pages, double-spaced, and at least 12 point font.

Of the qualitative or "soft" factors of the application, the personal statement is of critical importance to the admissions committee. This is your primary opportunity to discuss who you are beyond the quantifiable components of your application. While there is no prompt and we encourage you to approach the personal statement with an open-mind, we are particularly interested in how your background (academic and otherwise) has led to your decision to study law. Please note, the personal statement is not the place to repeat items on your resume.

Bottom line: this prompt is mostly open-ended, but include “why law.”

Diversity Statement 

If you answered "yes" to the diversity statement question, please include your statement as an attachment. Please limit your statement to 1-2 pages, double-spaced, and at least 12 point font.

Rothman Statement 

Submit your statement here for application to the Frank Rothman Scholars Program. This application is a requirement to be considered for the program and should be different than your Personal Statement. Finalists will be selected for an initial round of interviews and notified in late February.

The program honors the late Frank Rothman '51, one of the nation's most respected sports and entertainment lawyers.

The benefits of being a Rothman Scholar are quite extraordinary:

  • Full-tuition scholarship guaranteed for 3 years (estimated at $180,000)
  • $4,000 stipend each year for 3 years
  • Paid 1L summer fellowship at one of the top law firms in the world - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Los Angeles

One Frank Rothman Scholar is selected each year. Selection criteria include strong academic indicators (LSAT score and undergraduate cumulative gpa) combined with a specific interest in the areas of law to which Frank Rothman dedicated his life. Frank Rothman was known for his influence in the halls of corporate America as well as his spirit of always doing the very best he was capable of. Past recipients successfully conveyed the ideals of Frank Rothman via accomplishments such as running a successful business, inventing useful devices, engaging in cutting edge medical research, and publishing books and articles. Many have gone on to become successful corporate lawyers, business entrepreneurs, and judicial clerks. To learn more about the Rothman Scholars Program, please visit http://gould.usc.edu/academics/degrees/jd/financial-aid/rothman/.

PROMPT: In one to two pages, please share more about your entrepreneurial spirit, how you believe you embody the ideals of Frank Rothman, and what inspires you to be the next Rothman Scholar.

Public Interest Statement 

Submit your statement here for application to the Public Interest Scholars Program. The application is a requirement to be considered for the program. Scholars will be notified of selection beginning in mid-March.

This program honors the commitment of both USC Gould and our students dedicated to working and serving the public interest.

The benefits of being a Public Interest Scholar include:

  • Access to public interest certificate mentoring opportunities
  • Guaranteed public interest based summer employment after 1L summer
  • Guaranteed summer grant for 1L summer employment
  • Opportunity to serve as a future mentor to subsequent groups of Public Interest Scholars

Public Interest Scholars are selected on the basis of merit and demonstrated commitment to public interest work. Selection criteria include strong academic indicators (LSAT score and undergraduate cumulative gpa) and significant achievements in the fields of public interest or government service. The committee will give priority to applicants with a history of full-time non-profit or public interest focused work. Public Interest Scholars will be required to complete a minimum of 25 hours of pro bono service each year and participate in programming including nonprofit career fairs. For more information, please visit the Public Interest Scholars page: http://gould.usc.edu/academics/degrees/jd/financial-aid/public-interest/.

PROMPT: ******In one to two pages, please highlight your public interest or government service background and your commitment to a career in public service.******

20/University of Minnesota

Deadline: Jul 15

Early decision: Jan 15

Personal Statement

A personal statement is required and should be two pages, double-spaced. Through this statement, applicants have the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Admissions Committe and articulate significant achievements, professional goals, and reasons for pursuing a law degree. It is also helpful to the Admissions Committee to discuss your interest in the University of Minnesota Law School specifically.

Strong writing skills are paramount to being a successful attorney. Therefore, the personal statement (as well as any other essays included in the application) may be used to evaluate writing skills, judgment, passions, and analytical abilities.

Supplemental Statements

Applicants may attach additional statements to highlight diversity perspectives, explain absences or breaks in education, or present other matters that may be of importance to the Admissions Committee. Each additional statement should be no more that one-page, double spaced.

21/ University of California—Irvine

Deadline: March 1
Early decision: not offered

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your opportunity to tell us how your unique life experiences could contribute to our law school community. We do not have a checklist of attributes; we would like for you to tell us what you believe is different and most important for us to know. For example, did a significant life experience, intellectual interest, extracurricular activity, or particular person prompt you to do something that changed or enriched your life? Have you met and overcome a significant obstacle or challenge? Have you taken action in response to political, philosophical, or personal concerns? If you served in the military, how did that experience affect you? Are there atypical paths that you have taken in terms of your education, work life or family life? Have your sexual identity, a disability, discrimination, or socioeconomic factors impacted you? This is your moment to provide information that will help us know you personally.

Please write a minimum of 350 words and a maximum of 500 words.

Why UCI

We know that you have many options when applying to law school. Tell us why you are interested in the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. What do you believe we have to offer you? What will you bring to the School of Law? How would your experiences and perspectives enhance and enrich the quality and breadth of our law school community?

Please write a minimum of 350 words and a maximum of 500 words.

Optional Statement

We know that you may want to provide some additional information for the Admissions Committee to consider when reviewing your application. You may attach an optional statement, if desired. You are not required to provide the information below. Neither completion nor omission of this information will in any way affect your candidacy.

  • Optional Statement on Diversity: Describe an experience of yours that speaks to the possibilities and challenges of diversity in an educational or a workplace setting.[This is a diversity statement prompt.]
  • Optional Statement on Obstacles Overcome: Describe a setback or a failure in your life. What did you do to overcome that obstacle? What did you learn about yourself from that experience? If this situation happened again, would you do anything differently?
  • Optional Statement about Your Academic Record or Standardized Tests: If you believe that your academic record or your results from standardized tests, like the LSAT, does not accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, tell us about this.[This is a GPA or LSAT addendum prompt.]
  • Optional Statement Regarding Disability: If you believe that you have a disability that prevented your college GPA, LSAT, or other credential from accurately reflecting your ability, and you would like these disability-related circumstances to be considered, identify your disability. Please provide a statement that tells us how the disability prevented or hindered your academic performance, and the following information: (a) The date of onset or discovery of your disability; (b) the effects of your disability on your past academic performance and on standardized tests; (c) what, if any, accommodations you received in elementary, high school, college and graduate school; (d) any improvements in your academic performance after receiving accommodations; and (e) the ways in which your performance reflects your high achievements despite your disability.

Please write a maximum of 750 words.

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