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The 21 most common questions about law school

Spending time prepping your law school application? Here are the 21 of the most frequently asked questions about law school.

1. How long is law school?
Law school is typically a 3-year full-time program. Some schools offer part-time programs which are 4 years.

2. How much is law school?
According to U.S. News, these are numbers for 2015-2016.

3. Do I need to take any prerequisites before I apply to law school?
No. You just need a 4-year baccalaureate degree (in anything!), an LSAT score, and your application.

4. Are there any entrance exams required for law school?
Yes. You must take the LSAT to be considered for law school admission.

5. How much does it cost to apply to law school?
Registering for the LSAT and CAS service (both a requirement) is $355. The application fee per school typically ranges between $60 and $100 (some schools do not have application fees or will grant a fee waiver). The average student applies to nine schools; in addition, each CAS report fee is $30 per application. Typically, students spend $900 in application fees alone. (via Florida Tech)

6. What should I be looking for in a law school?
You should be looking for a good fit for you. This includes the atmosphere of the law school, the location, and the price. While rankings exist, there are many excellent schools that may not be in the top 10 that are great options for you.

7. What do law schools look for in an applicant?
Law schools look first and foremost for indications of strong academic ability. This is typically displayed through your undergraduate GPA or LSAT score. Additionally, law schools look for well-rounded applicants who have work or leadership experience.

8. What law school classes do I take in the first year?
In the first year, you will typically take Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Property, and a Legal Writing class.

9. What does J.D. stand for?
J.D. stand for Juris Doctor, which is the degree you get when you graduate law school. You can put Esq. as your title once you are admitted to a state bar.

10. What is the Socratic method?
The Socratic method is what most people know as “cold calling” where the professor randomly selects a student to answer a question. Law school is known for this method.

11. Does it matter how many LSAT exams I have taken?
Some law schools will average your multiple LSAT scores but some will take your highest LSAT score. Keep in mind that you may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two-year period and that your scores are good for five years after you take the exam.

12. Do law schools offer scholarships?
Yes. Most law schools offer merit scholarships. Some law schools may also consider additional factors such as background or financial hardship. Communicate with the admissions offices of the schools that you are applying to in order to find out what types of scholarships they offer.

13. What can I do with a law degree?
There are many avenues you can take with a law degree. If you pass the bar exam, you can practice law in a multitude of areas in either the private or the public sector. You can also work in a “JD preferred” job which requires the JD but does not require you to practice law. Passing the bar exam is not necessary for these types of jobs.

14. Can I work during law school?
It is advised, especially in the first year of a full time program, that you do not work. If you do, it should be a part-time position. Once you have gotten through your first year, you should have more of a grasp on your classes and extracurriculars. You also will have more flexibility in your schedule that will allow time to work more hours.

15. Do I have to work summers during law school?
Summer legal work is not required to graduate but it is advantageous to work during your summers to get experience in the field you want to go in.

16. How should I prepare for law school?
Prepare for law school by doing well academically and being comfortable with reading a lot. It is helpful to take additional writing or public speaking courses during undergrad. You can also work or volunteer in a legal setting to get a feel for the profession.

17. Should I apply to law school if I have a criminal record?
Yes. Leave it for the admissions committee to decide your merits and your fit for law school. Many people with criminal records apply and are accepted to law schools.

18. When are law school application deadlines?
Law school application deadlines are typically in the spring but it is important to make sure you know when they are because different schools have different deadlines.

19. What advice would you give someone applying for law school?
Evaluate what you want to do in your career and see if law school is necessary to get there. It is typically a large financial undertaking to go to law school so make sure you are fully informed and aware of the cost.

20. What happens if I have a low LSAT/GPA?
Most schools look at your application as a whole. If you have a weak part of your application, it is important to make sure that the rest of the application is as strong as it can be.

21. Will I succeed in law school?
Law school is what you make of it, so if you are willing to put in the time and the work, you will succeed.

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Office of Admissions
University at Buffalo School of Law
309 O'Brian Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260