Surprise Yourself
Information For

Applying to Law School

Below is some information pertaining to applying to or financing law school Feel free to make an appointment to speak with the Pre-Law Director, Dr. Kopko (kopkok@etown.edu or x1990) if you have more questions.

The LSAT

LSAT stands for Law School Admissions Test. Think of it as the SAT for getting into law school. To do well on the LSAT, you need to prepare for several months in advance and practice on a regular basis. Some students start to study a year or more in advance.

Preparing for the LSAT

There are many different strategies, but most people recommend at least 4 months of preparation time (several hours per day during that time). You can prepare on your own using self-study guides (cost ~ $50) or enroll in prep courses (cost ~ $1500).

Because Elizabethtown College is a member of the American Mock Trial Association, Kaplan will offer Elizabethtown College students a 10% discount on classroom prep courses when you register online and use the promotion code “AMTA10”.

Additionally, the Pre-Law Director maintains a small LSAT prep library in his office. Pre-Law students are welcome to borrow these materials for a short period of time. The Pre-Law Director also proctors practice LSAT exams for Pre-Law students several times a semester free of charge.

About Retaking the LSAT

Yes, but this is not always the best option. Most students who re-take the LSAT, on average, improve their score by about two or three points. However, many students score the same or worse on a second test.

Many schools (but not all) average your LSAT scores if you take more than one test. So, if you score a 150 on your first test, a 152 on your second test, your application may be evaluated as if you received a score of 151. In recent years, more schools are beginning to only consider the highest LSAT score earned. You should carefully research the admission practices for your prospective law schools and consult with the Pre-Law Director before deciding to schedule another LSAT exam.


Finding Law Schools

All law schools have website that will answer many of your questions. In addition, one key resource you should become familiar with is the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). The Official Guided to ABA-Approved Law Schools on the LSAC website contains a wealth of information on average LSAT and GPA for law schools, as well as information on the student body, special programs, among other helpful topics.

Applying to Law Schools

LSAC coordinates the administration of the LSAT and also coordinates the filing of electric application for all law school applicants through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Therefore, if you plan to apply to law school, you need to register with LSAC and CAS. After registering for the LSAT, you should ask (ideally) professors to write letters of recommendation on your behalf and send them to the CAS. Most students obtain two or three letters of recommendation and the number of letters required will vary by law school. Additionally, you will send your undergraduate transcripts to the CAS. From there, the CAS will forward your letters of recommendation and transcripts to your prospective law school. For more information on the how to apply to law school, see the “Prep Timeline” link on the Elizabethtown College Pre-Law Website.

Financing Law School

Before deciding to apply to law school, students should consider the financial cost to attend law school, and the earning potential of a legal career. According to the Law School Admission Council, the average law school debt incurred by students is $100,000, which amounts to a payment of $1,187 on a standard repayment plan (click here for more information). Additionally, pre-law students should keep in mind that a career as an attorney does not always ensure a lucrative salary. A lawyer’s annual salary depends on many factors, including the type of law a lawyer practices, the working environment (i.e., working in a small versus large law firm, public interest group, government entity, etc.), and the current economic climate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Association for Law Placement, in 2008 the median salary for entry-level government attorneys was $50,000. However, the median salary for attorneys in private practice was $108,500 (click here for more information).

Fortunately, law schools are beginning to institute loan forgiveness programs for students who wish to pursue a career in the public sector (e.g., working for a government entity, interest group/non-profit, etc.). Many of these programs will forgive up to 50% of a student’s law school loans. Students should research the financial aid opportunities at prospective law schools, and ask financial aid officers about loan forgiveness programs if the student is interested in a public sector legal career. Remember, even if a law school offers a loan forgiveness program, these programs are not guaranteed, and in sometimes students must be employed in a public sector job for a period of time before a portion of their loans will be forgiven.

For more information on financing law school and law school loans, see the following websites:

LSAC: Financial Law School

 

Elizabethtown College