There are two halves to the actual application process, both of which can be completed via the Law School Admission Council: each individual law school's application and the law school report.
- Each law school's application is something you fill out directly.
- The law school report is produced by LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) using components you have requested/submitted (see below).
Once you complete each law school's application (typically done electronically via LSAC) and that law school is ready to review you, they will contact LSAC. As long as your CAS file is complete (including paying all fees), LSAC will generate/send to the school the completed law school report.
It is important to read each law school's instructions carefully in order to ascertain any information specific to that institution. Application fees, the number of letters of recommendation allowed, and other information will vary from school to school, as will the application window; most law schools start accepting applications as of September 1st though some are earlier and others later.
Click here for a suggested timeline to submit the various application components.
Individual Law School Application
While law schools may ask for similar information, each school you apply to will require you to complete their particular application form. This is usually done electronically through LSAC/CAS but may be submitted to the school directly if they provide an option to do so. The application typically consists of questions and attachments.
Many of the questions asked are "standard" application questions - biographical and demographical questions, questions about your education or possible military service, etc. Other questions may be school-specific, asking about your interest in the school itself or a particular concentration or dual degree option.
Nearly if not all law schools will include a "Character and Fitness" section with questions asking about past transgressions, everything from disciplinary actions in school to arrests (regardless of outcome). If you answer "yes" to any such question you will likely be required to attach an additional statement or "addendum".
There are typically two required attachments - your personal statement and your resume. Other attachments may be optional or necessary, depending on your situation, such as an explanation of a "yes" answer to any Character and Fitness question. Be sure to speak with a pre-law advisor to learn more about required and optional attachments.
Read each law school's personal statement question and directions thoroughly - law schools are evaluating both the style and substance of your statement. Be precise in your formatting and use of proper grammar, as well as your ability to follow directions. This statement is not only an important source of information about yourself that is not included in the rest of the application, but also a demonstration of your writing skills. Avoid cliches, generalities, and grandiose expressions. Be direct, honest, personal, and specific. A memorable statement can help to distinguish you from the masses of other applicants. This is your opportunity to explain special circumstances, such as a heavy work-load or extracurricular activities. Do not be defensive or make excuses for deficiencies in preparation or performance. When possible have multiple people review a draft of your statement, including your pre-law advisor.
Work with your college's Career Services office to develop your professional resume. Most of the time a "traditional" resume is sufficient for law school. It should include employment, service, extra-curricular, or any other experiences in which you had a leadership role, were responsible for certain tasks or projects, or otherwise showcases your involvement and engagement beyond merely saying "I was a member/I attended regular meetings."
CAS Law School Report
The law school report includes:
- An academic summary report (cover sheet) based on your transcripts
- Your LSAT score(s) including the LSAT writing sample(s)
- All transcripts
- Letters of Recommendation
- Other relevant information
Once you have registered for and taken the Law School Admission Test, your score will be uploaded to CAS unless you decide to cancel the score before it is released. If you take the LSAT multiple times you cannot request that only your highest score be uploaded - all law schools you apply to will see all of your LSAT scores. If you take the test but cancel the score before it is released, or if you fail to attend the test without cancelling prior, law schools will be notified of those actions as well. Many if not most will use your highest score when evaluating your application, however some may average multiple scores. Talk with a pre-law advisor if you are considering or have questions about taking the LSAT more than once.
The Law School Admission Council requires you to submit a transcript from any college or university you have attended, not just Ohio State. This includes courses taken at any other institution at any time for any reason; university courses taken while in high school, summer classes taught at a local college near your home, an education abroad program through another institution, etc. Any transfer credit awarded by Ohio State is not sufficient for purposes of applying to law school - an official transcript from the school that offered the course and awarded the grade is required.
Letters of Recommendation (LORs)
As with the personal statement above, be sure to read the law school's directions - some law schools only require one (1) letter of recommendation while many if not most require two (2) letters. Some schools will accept a third letter while others will accept a maximum of two (2). If you send more letters than the maximum you are demonstrating an inability to follow directions.
Law schools are considering whether to admit you as a student, not hire you as an employee. At least one if not two letters should be from an academic reference. Be sure to ask faculty/instructors who can talk about your strengths in the classroom such as how you construct arguments or present information, not simply your attendance record. If possible, ask people who have taught you in more than one course as they will likely know you and the quality of your work better (keep this in mind when scheduling courses).
If a school requires two but will accept three letters, that third letter is an excellent opportunity to provide a different perspective on who you are, such as a letter from an employer or intern supervisor. Letters should not be from prominent people merely because they are prominent. If you interned for a U.S. Senator and only met the Senator a few times, a letter from the Senator will not be meaningful, nor will it impress law schools. In contrast, a letter from the Senate staffer who supervised and worked with you on a daily basis will be meaningful.