Law School Application Process
Law school applications typically consist of the following:
1. Official Transcript
Submit requests for official copies of your Washington and Lee University transcript through the Transcript Ordering link at go.wlu.edu/transcripts. The online transcript ordering service (through the National Student Clearinghouse) is available 24/7 and carries a $5.00 processing fee per recipient within an order. If an additional form is required (for example, an LSAC matching form), complete the form, scan and attach it to the order and it will be sent with the e-transcript.
Though the recipient will receive an electronic version typically within minutes, students should understand that the LSAC tracking system may not be updated for days or even weeks after receipt. Students can receive notification when a transcript is sent and can track their order status at tsorder.studentclearinghouse.org/TrackOrder/login. Address technical problems to the Clearinghouse using the contact information at studentclearinghouse.org/students.
2. Dean's Certification Letter
Many law schools require a dean to submit a certification letter on an applicant's behalf. This document generally addresses whether the applicant has been subjected to disciplinary action or academic probation. The Dean's Certification also comments on the applicant's academic record, their strengths/skills, and describes any extenuating circumstances an applicant might have experienced.
To obtain a Dean's Certification letter, please contact Ms. Wendi Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 458-8754. You may also make the request in person in Elrod Commons 247. If you are a transfer student, please note that some law schools require a Dean's Certification from each school attended.
3. Official LSAT Score Report
The LSAT is an integral part of the law school admission process. It is administered four times each year and is comprised of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions (one of which is not graded) plus a 35-minute unscored writing sample. The LSAT is not an achievement test. It measures skills considered essential for success in law school, including reading comprehension and analytical and logical reasoning questions. Visit LSAC to learn more, register for the exam and access your score report. If you have been granted accommodations in college, you may request accommodations for the LSAT - it is strongly encouraged that you submit your request early. If you have financial need, you may request a fee waiver for taking the LSAT, creating the CAS (think College Board), up to 4 CAS Law School reports and a copy of the Official LSAT SuperPrep II.
Helpful links for preparing for the LSAT include (this is neither an endorsement of these programs nor an exhaustive list):
- LSAC - Register for the LSAT here. Early registration is recommended for the June test administration. Free LSAT prep material is available here.
- LSATMax - "pioneer in comprehensive LSAT prep on [web and] mobile" devices
- The Princeton Review
- Wyzant - a resource for finding private tutors - pay scale varies
Accommodations: If you have demonstrated need for accommodations for a disability, you may request accommodations for the LSAT - it is strongly encouraged that you submit your request early.
Fee Waiver: If you have demonstrated financial need, you may request a fee waiver for two LSATs, registering for CAS (think College Board) which includes the Letter of Recommender Service, up to 4 CAS Law School Reports and a copy of the Official LSAT SuperPrep II.
How many times and How long is score valid: While LSAT scores are valid for five years, some schools prefer scores that are only three years old. Plan the timing of your tests taking carefully. Students may take the LSAT up to three times within a two year period; however, law school candidates are strongly encouraged to study diligently and minimize the number of times they take it. Law schools will see all your scores AND scores don't necessarily improve the second or third time around. See Repeating the LSAT.
If you are interested in taking an LSAT course on-campus during Winter Term, contact Lorri Olan, Pre-Law Advising Coordinator. If there is sufficient interest, Ms. Olan will arrange for an LSAT prep class to be offered on-campus.
Use your resume to demonstrate your readiness for law school. It is strongly advised that you meet with the Pre-Law Advising Coordinator to review your resume before submitting it. Schedule an appointment in Handshake.
5. Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation should be written by professors who know your academic performance; an additional letter can be submitted by someone (professor, advisor, former supervisor) who can address other issues including your leadership, initiative, interests, work ethic, etc. The number and type of letters/evaluations required varies by law school - check each school's requirements carefully.
When a recommender has agreed to write for you, consider providing them with the following:
- Your contact information, key points you would like them to address, a list of possible schools and your anticipated application timeline
- The official Letter of Recommendation Form
- Your unofficial transcript
- A draft of your personal statement (if available)
- Copies of assignments from class
- Your updated resume
After your recommender has agreed to write for you, submit your official request for letters via your LSAC account - recommenders will be able to submit their letters electronically. Once you enter their information, LSAC sends each recommender instructions on drafting and submitting the letter electronically. Candidates select which recommendation letters to include for each law school application they submit.
6. Personal Statement
This is the only area of the application where you can "speak" directly to the admissions committee. Carefully consider your content - use this piece of the application to sell yourself rather than to explain a shortcoming in your credentials. Be sure to write several drafts, and have several readers review it before finalizing your statement. Meet with Lorri Olan to discuss strategies for writing a compelling and successful statement which highlights your strengths in this often overlooked and very important component of the application.
Some law schools also require additional statements - either a Diversity Statement or other essay devoted to a topic of interest to the school. These essays are sometimes considered optional, but candidates are encouraged to complete them.
Applicants may attach an addendum, a brief factual statement, to their application to provide admissions committees with an explanation about a part of their application, e.g., low grade, or share new information not mentioned elsewhere. Candidates are also encouraged to supply the admissions committee with information regarding any disciplinary charges or proceedings against them in addenda. Ms. Olan is available to review any and all statements.