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Law School Expert HAS MOVED

The Law School Expert blog has permanently moved to: Please update your bookmarks and feeds to reflect this change.

Updated: 2016-10-06T07:54:28.255-07:00




Law School Expert Blog has MOVED to

All new posts and comments will be made at

It's still Ann Levine, and it's still completely candid, honest, optimistic and wise advice, but it's now at

Please subscribe at the new blog address

Please change all bookmarks, google reader links, etc. to

I promise to reward you with pithy, insightful information about the law school admission process!
Thanks for reading, thanks for following,
and thanks for sharing this blog with friends.

I look forward to your continued readership, feedback
and comments at:


Law School Expert Blog News


Hi Guys,
This is the first warning I'm issuing that the url for the blog will be changing in the next two weeks - it's going to be based on my LawSchoolExpert website.

The downside is that while things are in transition, I'm unable to comment (long, technically depressing story....)

.....but for some recent people who posted questions, I do want to answer them here:

First, Minah: You won't be rejected without an LSAT score. No one will read your file until it's complete.

And, for the person who submitted the work resume: If it was a good resume that showed your strengths then don't worry. Substance rules.

Goodnight everyone, and keep an eye out for the Great Blog Migration of 2009.....


Yale taking February LSAT this year


See the Yale Law Blog for details.

Ann Levine Interviewed by LSAT Tutor Blog


Thanks to Steve Schwartz for posting my interview on his LSAT Blog today.
In the interview I discuss the February LSAT, the LSAT writing sample, and common (awful) mistakes made on law school applications.

I look forward to your comments!

Law School Expert's 250th Blog Post


I have been very busy assisting clients through the application process and have not had as much time as I would have liked to share my thoughts on the blog and/or respond individually to as many comments. I am reading everything and responding when I am able, and I do not want to post fluff, but only share information that will truly be useful to law school applicants. I have some fairly random thoughts for this time in the admission cycle that I would like to share.Some housekeeping:First, this is my 250th blog post. Thank you for reading with me along the journey, and thank you especially for telling your friends about the blog (especially friends considering applying to law school for the Fall 2010 admission cycle).Second, I just re-launched a new design of and would love any thoughts you have about the new look.Third, I will soon be migrating this blog onto my own domain. Please don't be afraid if you come to read the blog and it suddenly looks professional and/or "pretty" - I promise it's still me, just a version of me planning to join 2009.Fourth, many of you ask very specific questions about your situations - schools to apply to, your chances for admission, etc. I know these are the questions most pressing on your minds, and I do my best to answer them to the extent that I am able. Please be understanding about the fact that these are not questions that are amenable to simple answers; responding appropriately would require significant time to evaluate and consider all of the relevant issues. The blog format is not conducive to this, and -after all - I do give this kind of advice for a living and my clients must continue to be my first priority. Thanks so much to everyone who takes the time to leave positive feedback about the blog being helpful to you; that means a great deal to me and is the reason I spend the time to do this.Lastly, I do want to tell you I am working on a book based on this blog and it will feature (anonymously) many of the questions I've been asked throughout the last 250 posts. Please stay tuned. It may not come out in time to help Fall 2009 applicants, but Fall 2010 applicants will benefit from all of your experiences and any kernels of wisdom I might have shared in response. Keep an eye out for that announcement in the next few months.Ok, Now let's talk about law school admission trends/recent observations:1. Applying late. It feels like more of you are applying later than ever before. This might just be because the December LSAT was a week later (and hence scores were a week later being released) but it definitely concerns me that so many people are still working on applications in mid-January. This is especially true for those of you retaking (or taking) the LSAT in February. I don't want anyone to panic reading this, but I do want you to have a Plan B in the back of your head. Plan B is retaking the LSAT in June/October and applying in September/October of Fall 2010. Of course, this only works if you have gainful employment or no need for gainful employment, but I just want to put this out there.2. The waitlists haven't gone crazy yet, but they will. Don't get upset about a waitlist decision, just do something about it! If you sit around twiddling your thumbs instead of campaigning to get into a school, then you don't deserve the precious acceptance letter in the first place.3. General impatience is an unfortunate trend. Please be polite to people who work at law schools. Most of them are not paid well, they are overworked, trying to do a good job, but mistakes do happen. Be professional in all of your dealings; remember that if you act like a jerk (or spoiled brat) these people have the power to walk right into the Dean of Admissions and share a story about the unkind applicant. (An important lesson for aspiring lawyers- treat secretaries/assistants very, very well.)4. Overestimating your soft factors. I have heard from a lot of people this year touting [...]

Part III: Observations of the Legal Job Market


9 to 5: 9 Observations Regarding the Legal Job Market & 5 Strategies for New Attorneys Entering the 2009 Legal Job Market – A 3 Part Series (Part 3 of 3) By Amanda C. Ellis, Esq. Parts 1 and 2 of this post examined 9 observations regarding the legal job market: (1) layoffs; (2) hiring freezes; (3) pay freezes and bonus cuts; (4) increased bureaucracy in lateral hiring decisions; (5) busy small firms; (6) hot practice areas; (7) geographical variance among practice areas; (8) a slow moving hiring process; and (9) importance of law school grades. For recent graduates looking for jobs or third-year law students who are expected to graduate in 2009 and have not secured permanent employment, I offer 5 strategies in light of these 9 observations. 5 Strategies for Attorneys Entering the 2009 Legal Job Market: 1. Look at smaller firms. Did you notice that 4 of the 9 observations discussed in Parts 1 and 2 applied specifically to large firms? And, did you notice that they were all negative observations? So much of the news we hear about the legal job market is from and about large firms. And, there is so much emphasis (some say too much emphasis) on large firms at the law school level. I am sure the focus on large firms during law school is attributable to the larger firms conducting on-campus interviews and establishing a presence among law students. However, you must remember that the overwhelming majority of new law graduates do not begin their careers in large firms. The National Association for Legal Career Professionals conducted a study on attorneys who graduated in 2006 and found that only 20% went to work for large firms (defined as law firms with more than 100 attorneys); the majority of new graduates went to work for firms with fewer than 50 attorneys. So, while you may feel like your only employment option is with a big firm, there are many, many other firms out there – and, they are busy (see observation #4). It just may take a little work on your part to find them since they aren’t actively recruiting at law schools. Knowing which firms specialize in the hot practice areas will help! 2. Hang your own shingle. I am amazed at the resources and support system available for attorneys looking to open their own practices, and I imagine a significant number of new attorneys (even seasoned attorneys) don’t even realize they exist. Susan Cartier Liebel maintains the site Build Your Solo Practice and wrote a blog post in October suggesting that now, in a shaky economy, is the best time to start your own business. Susan also runs Solo Practice University, a web-based educational community where attorneys can learn from other solo practitioners, marketing consultants, technology consultants and other business professionals about how to plan, build and grow a solo practice. Carolyn Elefant is another solo practitioner who blogs frequently at about what it takes to make the leap to solo or small-firm practice. Carolyn (@carolynelefant), Susan (@SCartierLiebel) and a host of other solo practitioners actively engage in discussions on the social networking site Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account, create one (it’s free) and join their conversations! Additionally, most state and local bar associations also have sections or committees devoted to solo or small-firm practice and offer resources, including resources focused on starting your practice. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, going solo might be a great option for you. 3. Network creatively. Networking is critical in a good economy and even more critical in our current economy. Every job seeker knows this so you must get creative with your networking. For example, if you had a career before entering law school, how can your previous career help you get a legal job? Perhaps you were a teacher or worked in the education fi[...]

9 Observations About the Legal Job Market - Part II


9 to 5: 9 Observations Regarding the Legal Job Market & 5 Strategies for New Attorneys Entering the 2009 Legal Job Market – A 3 Part Series (Part 2 of 3) By Amanda C. Ellis, Esq. Part 1 of this post examined 4 observations regarding the current legal job market and all 4 observations concerned large firms – (1) layoffs; (2) hiring freezes; (3) pay freezes and bonus cuts; and (4) increased bureaucracy in lateral hiring decisions. Part 2 of this post continues with more observations of the current legal job market; this part examines observations 5-9. 9 Observations Regarding the Legal Job Market (cont.): 1. Smaller firms are busy. Almost all of my small-firm clients are busier now than they were a year ago. Some are litigation boutique firms that are busy as a result of litigation related to failed financial institutions; others are bankruptcy boutique firms that are thriving as a result of the increased bankruptcy filings. And, many are busy as a result of corporate clients seeking smaller firms with smaller fees, a trend that is likely to continue. My small-firm clients definitely have a positive, upbeat vibe. 2. Certain practice areas thrive in an economic downturn. Certain practice areas spike during economic downturns. Bankruptcy is an obvious example. Litigation is another practice area that usually spikes during downturns; securities and white-collar litigation are expected to be strong during the current recession. Labor and employment litigation usually increases during recessions as well since more companies implement layoffs. IP litigation also remains a strong practice area in most markets. 3. “Hot” practice areas vary by legal market. The demand for attorneys in a particular practice area varies by legal market – what is hot in one market could be dead in another market. For example, asbestos litigation is cold in Texas due to tort reform but hot in California and Pennsylvania. Even among the practice areas that thrive during an economic downturn, there is still some variation. For example, there will always be a greater demand for bankruptcy attorneys in those markets where the majority of the large Chapter 11 cases are filed such as New York and Delaware. We are witnessing this trend today. 4. Firms (of all sizes) take longer to make hiring decisions. Obtaining a lateral position takes longer during a recession. Firms of all sizes are now more particular about which candidates they interview and take their time deciding which candidates to interview. Recently, I’ve seen firms take as long as 4 months before deciding to interview someone. And, I’ve seen firms take as long as 6 months before eliminating candidates from the interview process. So, don’t assume that the firm is passing simply because you haven’t heard from them! 5. Law school grades are more important than ever. At least 90% of the firms I work with (both large and small) inquire about lateral candidates’ law school grades. I won’t get into a discussion here on whether law school grades are more important than the rank of the law school, but I can tell you that the majority of the firms I work with scrutinize a lateral candidate’s grades more closely than the rank of the candidate’s law school. In the past month, I’ve seen 3 large firms move forward with candidates who graduated in the top 5% from a Tier 4 law school; this illustrates that a candidate can do well at a lower tier school and still land in a large firm. The one caveat I would emphasize is that a large firm typically only hires candidates from Tier 4 law schools within the firm’s legal market. For example, a graduate of a Tier 4 school in Texas will have a harder time finding a job outside of Texas even if he or she finished in the top 5% whereas large Texas firms are likely to consider [...]

9 Observations Regarding the Legal Job Market


I am not a career counselor, but everyone applying to law school should be thinking about the marketability of a lawyer's skills and education. I called upon a real expert in legal hiring, Amanda Ellis, president of Amanda Ellis Legal Search ( Amanda focuses on the placement of bankruptcy attorneys nationwide and of all attorneys in Texas, with a special emphasis on attorneys relocated to Texas. She very kindly agreed to write a 3-part post about the legal job market for new attorneys, which should be of great interest to my readers. 9 to 5: 9 Observations Regarding the Legal Job Market & 5 Strategies for New Attorneys Entering the 2009 Legal Job Market – A 3 Part Series (Part 1 of 3) By Amanda C. Ellis, Esq. If there’s one question I’ve been asked repeatedly over the past few months it is this: “how has the economy affected the legal job market?” In the past few weeks, I’ve also received numerous inquiries from contacts on Twitter and friends who are in law school about how the current legal job market and economy will affect new attorneys graduating in 2009 (or those who graduated in 2008 and are still looking for a job). I’ve compiled a list of 9 trends I’ve observed in the current legal market and have outlined 5 strategies to help new attorneys find employment in the 2009 legal job market. Because of the length of this post, I’ve divided the post into 3 separate blog entries: (Part 1) observations 1-4 which happen to be observations about large law firms; (Part 2) observations 5-9; and (Part 3) the 5 strategies. 9 Observations Regarding the Legal Job Market: 1. Large firms lay off associates and staff, rescind offers. According to the Law Shucks Layoff Tracker, 1,762 lawyers lost their jobs in 2008 (this information is also contained in The American Lawyer’s The Layoff List, a comprehensive list of all large firms that eliminated associates during 2008). The layoff trend began in January 2008, primarily in firms with large structured finance practices; however, the trend spread rapidly in the fall months as certain financial institutions collapsed and credit markets froze. The disaster in the financial markets also caused some large firms to pause and reconsider some outstanding offers. At least one large law firm rescinded offers to 2Ls, and I’ve heard from lateral candidates about a few large firms that rescinded offers to lateral candidates because they wanted to see how quickly the economy rebounds. 2. Large firms invoke hiring freezes (or disguised freezes). In late October, a large firm announced that it had instituted a hiring freeze on lateral associates and staff; the firm made it clear that the freeze would not apply to the firm’s 2009 summer associate class. I’ve seen many other firms take similar steps though they don’t call their action a hiring freeze. Probably the most common approach I’ve seen is the one where firms fill their current hiring needs by pulling associates from slow practice areas – for example, moving a structured finance associate to the firm’s bankruptcy section. Other firms that normally post all of their job openings on their websites have removed all job openings. Another common approach is firms informing candidates (or recruiters) that they don’t have any hiring needs at this point and plan to assess their hiring needs in “a few months.” 3. Large firms freeze associate salaries and cut associate bonuses. It probably doesn’t surprise you that large firms’ bonus announcements to date have been significantly lower than 2007 bonuses. The Above the Law blog tracks 2008 bonus announcements and details in its Associate Bonus Watch. Additionally, at least two large firms have announced salary freezes. I’ve even seen a few firms (primarily, firms dependent on[...]

New Year's Resolutions for Law School Applicants


Here is a link to one of my favorite LawSchoolExpert posts ever - New Year Resolutions for Law School Applicants. I posted it a year ago, and I hope this year's class of law school applicants finds it just as comforting as last year's.

Happy New Year.

Law School Expert's Best of 2008


Thanks to all of my readers for your wonderful comments and feedback this year.Over 63,547 of you visited the Law School Expert blog 93,719 times. WOW. Thank you. I love how many of you left comments and sent me e-mails about how the blog has helped you through the law school admission process.I'd like to share with you my favorite posts from this year: (There were 122 posts, so choosing them proved difficult)January: The benefits of attending law school part time. and 5 Things You Can Do To Be Admitted Off the WaitlistedFebruary: Law School Discussion Driving You CrazyMarch: Thinking About Multiple Seat DepositsApril: What Do The Law School Rankings Really Mean?June: Most Popular Pre-Law Questions and What a Law School Admission Consultant Can Do July: Choosing an LSAT Prep CourseAugust: Tips for Law School Applicants Interested in Public Interest Law and Top 5ou S Mistakes Made When Re-Applying to Law SchoolSeptember: Over 30 and Applying to Law School and Should You Re-Take the LSAT October: Are You Suffering From Application Panic Syndrome? (my personal favorite post of the year!)November: Mistakes to Avoid in Law School Applications (with a whopping 32 comments!)December: How Binding is Binding Early Decision?Thanks so much for the great inspiration - many of my topics come from questions and comments posted to the blog and things that my law school admission consulting clients express concern regarding.Wishing you all a wonderful and happy New Year in 2009.[...]

December LSAT Scores Out Today!


Just heard back from my first client about December LSAT scores - Congrats on the big increase, B! Looking forward to hearing more news..... Check your email.... (not to make you totally paranoid, but keep your eyes out!)
Good luck!
And for those of you who haven't yet applied, let's get started ASAP. I'm here to help.

Holiday Cheer


Hello Everyone! In honor of the holiday season, today's blog post exists to congratulate some of my law school admission consulting clients who have heard good news from the following schools:

M - Miami, PSU, Drexel (with scholarship)
R - Cornell, Georgetown
S - UCLA, Georgetown, Berkeley
D - William & Mary
B - Richmond
H - Georgetown
K - Wisconsin, BU, W&M (with scholarship!)
J - Georgetown, Washington University, Fordham (with scholarship!), USC (with scholarship!)
M- Baltimore, Rutgers Newark, Suffolk, Catholic
K - Rutgers Newark
E - U. Texas and UCLA (with scholarship!)
E - U. of Miami
T- Marquette (with scholarship!), DePaul, University of Miami
A- Rutgers Newark (with scholarship), Maryland, Catholic (with scholarship!)
L- Iowa (full tuition scholarship!), George Mason
J - NIU, DePaul, Marquette, John Marshall
M - Whittier (after applying last year to a bunch of schools and not getting in anywhere!)
K - U. Illinois (with scholarship!), W&M (with scholarship!)
A- Quinnipiac, Catholic, Widener (with scholarship!)
N- Case Western (early decision!)
J- St. Thomas
C- Nova
J- U. Miami

I love to hear about your success stories. Please continue to keep me posted. Happy Holidays to everyone.

How Binding is "Binding Early Decision"?


"Exactly how binding is early decision?"

Thanks to Nathaniel for this great (and timely) question.

LSAC lists obligations of the law schools and obligations of law school applicants in the admission process, and one of the key obligations of a law school applicant is in regard to binding early decision programs. I urge all law school applicants to read this one-page fact sheet.

The bottom line is that, after June 15th, law schools will be able to see where you've submitted seat deposits. If a school sees that you have multiple deposits, the school enforce any policy it has with regard to withdrawing offers of admission.

My personal advice:
You're entering a profession where your success will be based largely upon whether others regard you as being good for what you promise. It's a little early to start playing games with your reputation. Plus, you'll learn in law school that although it's not against the law to break a contract, there are certain liabilities and downsides for breaching a contract. While a law school won't send the police to cuff you, bring you to their campus, and make you pay the tuition, a law school very well might say "Nevermind" to your admission offer, as could the other school where you've submitted a deposit. Then where would you be? And would all of this trouble have been worth it?

For those of you applying for Fall 2010 admission and wondering about Early Decision admission to law school, this link should answer your questions.

Your Law School Admission Questions Answered!


Hello law school applicants! I am currently accepting suggestions for blog topics..... Fire away by leaving a new comment here - and please give yourself a name (rather than "Anonymous").

I look forward to answering your questions.


101 Ways to A Higher LSAT: Featuring Law School Expert!


I am very excited to announce that I am a featured case study in the book: 101 Ways to Score Higher on Your LSAT: What You Need to Know About the Law School Admission Test Explained Simply by Linda C. Ashar.

If you're just starting to think about the LSAT (especially those of you applying for Fall 2010 admission and beyond), this book is a great, unbiased resource from a company that's not trying to sell you anything.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book.

After taking the December LSAT - 3 tips


You took the December LSAT today? My three most important tips:

1. DO NOT SPEND TIME TODAY ON DISCUSSION BOARDS. If you feel good walking out of the test, don't change your opinion of your own performance based on what the mob says on discussion boards. Why would you trust total (anonymous) strangers over your own instincts? Instead of fueling hits to Law School Discussion and Top-Law-Schools today, rent a guilty pleasure movie (or download it, I'm sounding my age by saying you have to "rent" it), enjoy a glass of wine, and only surround yourself with people who are supportive of your endeavors.

2. Thinking about canceling your LSAT score? I've written quite a bit on that topic since starting this blog. (I can answer a few questions in the comments section, but can't give specific advice about whether you should cancel within the blog format. There are just too many factors to consider.) Please also remember that taking the February LSAT is less than ideal for Fall admission.

3. I know that LSAC said you'd get your scores in January. And they might be telling you the truth. But last year scores were released on Dec. 21st. Just keep this in mind so you're mentally prepared to submit all of your apps before the end of the month.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and tell your friends who plan to apply for Fall 2010 admission to take the June or October LSAT so they don't have to go through this agony.

December or February LSAT? 6 Tips for LSAT Test Day.


Here are the 4 most common questions that I'm hearing this week from people scheduled to take the December LSAT:

1. I have the flu. What do I do?
2. This is my first time taking the LSAT and I'm not ready. What do I do?
3. If I postpone until February, is that too late in the rolling admission process?
4. Why do law schools say they will accept February LSAT scores?

If December would be your first time taking the LSAT and you're feeling unprepared or ill, then you have 2 options: (1) take the LSAT and see how you feel about it, keeping in mind you can cancel it if you really feel terrible during the exam, or (2) wait until the February LSAT.

If it's not your first time, you have to decide how you feel about relying on your previous score(s). If you are ok with the options that score will leave you in terms of a schools list, then go ahead and submit your applications and see what happens. If you aren't happy with your results, you can take the LSAT next June or October and apply early in the cycle for Fall 2010.

If you are someone who is scoring in the 140s on practice tests, please don't take the exam when you're sick. You'll come back with a score that won't get you serious consideration at any school, and this is especially true if your GPA is not strong. Plus, you'll have to deal with the ego blow that will haunt you whenever you do retake the test, and you'll have to write a pathetic "Boy, I sure do wish I'd done better on the LSAT" Addendum.

Waiting until February is not ideal, but if you get your applications submitted in the next few weeks you may be able to mitigate some of the disadvantage from applying so late in the cycle. Of course, it's always a gamble to come up with a schools list without a final LSAT score. You can create a schools list based on the range of practice LSAT results you've gotten, erring on the side of your lower scores to be safe and to make up for applying late in the cycle.

Lastly, I know schools say they "accept" February LSAT scores. However, you need to understand what that means. The earliest your application will be reviewed is March, at which point most schools will already have dozens or hundreds of applicants on their waitlists. So, in order for you to be admitted you would need to have an LSAT score that makes them want to take you over the others already on the waitlist. When schools say they "accept" February LSATs, it means they hold out for those really competitive candidates.


I hope those of you taking the LSAT this weekend are ready, healthy, and well rested.
1. Go in with the attitude of proving what you can do.
2. Don't think about your final score.
3. Look at each question as a challenge that you welcome.
4. Don't worry about the guy next to you.
5. Don't talk to anyone during breaks (especially people who talk about already having a 172 but trying for a 179).
6. Do what works for you - eat the snacks that work for you, entertain your own superstitions, and try not to get distracted by rude proctors or clicking pencils. After all, those factors will be present in law school and during the bar exam - get used to them now.

Good luck everyone!

A Note to My Readers


Just a quick note to my loyal readers - I just started running Google Ads as an experiment. For the first 18 months of this blog, I did not run any advertisements. I have decided, however, that I'm not scared that you might learn about my "competition" - rather, I welcome you to learn about other law school admission consulting options. I think, after exploring the options, you'll be rather impressed by all that I offer - particularly my accessibility, affordability, and the quality of the coaching you receive. I welcome your comments about having Google Ads on the blog, as this is an experiment and I want the blog to offer valuable information to law school applicants.

And, yes, I am currently accepting clients who are taking the December 2008 LSAT. I always offer a free initial consultation if you have questions about how we could work together.

If you sign up for my Option A "The Works" package between today and December 15th, you can get 10% off the total price by entering the coupon code DECLSAT.

Good luck on the December LSAT!

Choosing an Area of Law as a Specialty


You've probably heard (or read) my speech about not "picking a major" when applying to law school unless you can really, really, really back it up.

Anna Ivey's recent post about the downside of choosing International Law as an area of specialization when applying to law school is extremely relevant and I hope you'll find it helpful (although I'm sure a portion of my audience will find it discouraging).

I do agree with Anna on this point: most people applying to law school really have no idea what being a lawyer is really all about. I think that Anna has a great idea - if you're interested primarily in a specific area of law, you should try out that area as your profession before trying out the law part. (For example, try out the Entertainment Industry before trying out the Entertainment Law Industry).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

LSAT Advice


I'm not an LSAT tutor, but sometimes my clients give me great tips to pass on. Here are a sampling: From S: I am feeling much better about my LSAT progress ever since I finished the PowerScore books and utilized the materials at: . Back when I was in college my favorite calculus professor used to say, "If you don't understand a particular concept in your text book, don't give up . . . just get a different text book." He was right. Often times a different text author would explain something in a way that even a knucklehead like me could understand. Eventually I would find that author. The games were still killing me so with my teacher's words in mind I went online looking for a different explanation, and I found TestSherpa. The owner of TestSherpa gave me links to his four-hour long "Logic Games Workshop" and I'll be doing that tonight at home, after I leave work. I have a feeling that's going to solidify things a lot for me and then I'll resume taking practice tests tomorrow. The material's good and helpful. Why does he charge so little? I'm thinking maybe he's a disgruntled ex-LSAC employee or something. Anyway, I think is a wonderful little find. I'll let you know how much I improve. I have a feeling I'll have some good news about TestSherpa to share with others. From J: By the way, the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible is also good. I liked the Logic Games one so much I decided to order another to try to further improve my Logical Reasoning scores, and I'm glad I did. Both books include good information and techniques for approaching formal logic and conditional reasoning, and they interact well with each other. I was in the US for the last few weeks and skimmed through a few of the general-purpose LSAT prep books (Princeton Review, Barrons etc) in a bookstore, and I was amazed at how superficial and generic they were in their advice. I've always been quite suspicious of the whole standardized-test-prep racket, so I feel strange writing these gushy testimonials, but Powerscore really does offer exceptionally effective methods. [...]

Applying to Yale Law, and Applying ED t o Another School?


A very interesting (and a tiny bit self-serving) post from the Yale Law Admissions blog.

Why I Help People Apply to Law School


I got a great phone call today from a client I helped 3 years ago in her law school application process. She had a REALLY low LSAT score - I think it was a 140 or something. And she has sent me a new client every year for the last 3 years. And today she called to tell me she's graduating from law school - and graduating as a member of the law review and on the moot court board. And she wanted my address to send me an invitation to her graduation!

Calls like this make my whole day! And they only emphasize that the LSAT isn't everything, and that if you really submit the best possible application materials, there is hope.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Concluding a Personal Statement


Most of my law school admission consulting clients struggle to state the reasons why they are applying to a certain law school. I want to offer some hints and tricks in this regard:

1. Do I have to say why I want to go to Law School X?
No. You don't. Unless X Law School asks you to, and then - yes - you do.
And if they offer this as an optional essay topic, and you don't do it, then - yes- I think (as a former director of admissions) that you're being lazy.

2. Is there some advantage to saying why I want to go to Law School X?
Yes. If you can convince them, they'll be more likely to admit you rather than wait list you and make you prove you deserve a coveted admission letter that they'll then have to report for rankings purposes.

3. So, what can I possibly say?
It's true - sometimes law schools just don't seem to be that different from one another, especially when they are ranked similarly.

Here are some tips:
a. Don't say you love their Environmental Law program if nothing in your application supports your interest in Environmental Law.
b. Don't pick a study abroad program as your reason; you can do any ABA school's study abroad summer program and transfer the credits (generally).
c. Don't list reasons that could be applied to any law school equally like 'esteemed faculty' or 'national reputation' or 'bar passage rate.' Be specific.
d. If you're applying part time, tell them why. Otherwise they'll think you're just using the part time program to be admitted through the "back door."

Good luck, and I hope I've inspired you to do a little more research and critical thinking about why you're choosing each law school on your list.

The Best Personal Statement Samples


BU has posted some amazing personal statement samples. They are the best I've seen on the Internet. So, this is for all of you who love to beg me for examples of law school personal statements.

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Law School


Don West, Jr. is THE guy. I admit, I was his unofficial campaign manager when he ran for SBA president 10 years ago, and the first in line for a hug when he won. And so it is no surprise to me that he is now SuperLawyer of the Universe. So, I asked Don to share with my readers his thoughts on the "Five Things I Wish I'd Known Before Law School." As someone who went to law school with Don, I can tell you he put a lot of thought into this and into his own experience during those very important 3 years. And, I think our continuing friendship proves his point about the importance of networking while in law school. So, without further ado..... Here's Don: When Ann asked me to write a posting for her, my first response was, “Sure, no problem.” But upon further review of the question she posed, “What are five things you wished you knew before applying to law school?” That question ultimately caused me a severe case of writer’s block. There were so many unknowns and variables that I simply did not understand before I attended law school in 1997 that I was not sure what was valuable and what could be trimmed as trivial or inconsequential. I share all of that in part to apologize to my great friend Ann for the extreme delay in comprising this list of “Five things I wished I knew before I applied to law school”, so here it goes: 1) An understanding of the business principles of the legal practice. In most law schools excellent instruction is provided on legal reasoning, legal theory, research and writing. However, in many instances we are acquiring these skills for the purpose of generating an income to support ourselves and our families. Most law schools fall short in preparing students for handling the business behind the practice of law. It is important for all of us as legal practitioners to also be astute business men and women as it is a foundational element to our professional craft. I wish I had a more thorough understanding of this point going into law school. 2) An understanding of the value of networking. Law School Campus. In a way your law school becomes a part of your extended family. I say this because once you graduate with your Juris Doctor degree you are essentially married to that particular institution. So, no matter what your experience or opinion of the place, when people ask, “where you went to law school?” your alma mater is a name you cannot escape. I suppose you can get a new JD, but I have not met that person in my journeys just yet. With these facts in mind, the individuals that attend law school with you will be your life-long “partners” as you all progress from a common starting point. Understanding the basic principles of professional networking and utilizing the knowledge while on your law school campuses will reap a lifetime of rewards and many genuinely enhancing relationships. 3) An understanding of the value of networking. American Bar Association, Local Bar Associations & other Professional Organizations. Many people say, “You should go to law school where you intend to practice law.” I believe that one of the reasons that this is mentioned is because of the network you build in that local community in addition to the benefits of learning the laws of the local jurisdiction in your classes. The American Bar Association and your local bar association(s) can also be career [...]