If you’ve got your sights set on a top law school, don’t miss our latest podcast, Getting Into a Top Law School: What It Takes To Join the Elite.
Law School Podcaster Host, Diana Jordan, interviewed admissions deans from some of the most prestigious law schools, and a leading author/consultant, to find out what sets the top-tier schools apart and how you can aim high and nail your target — if that’s what you want.
And that’s important. Our guests all say, first make sure an elite school is what you really want and that it fits with your career and educational goals.
Rankings and reputation aside, there are some very good reasons to aim high. Michigan’s Dean Sarah Zearfoss says elite law schools will position you better for certain jobs in the legal field. “There are some jobs, like legal academia or certain kinds of clerkships that you simply aren’t going to be able to get to if you haven’t gone to an elite school. There are other jobs that you can break into from a number of schools, but your chances are much higher. And of course, beyond that very practical consideration, there’s the quality of your education. You are going to be training alongside some of the best minds in your generation at the best schools, and we think that’s going to make you a better lawyer.”
If you decide that a top school is what you really want, then apply! Your numbers (LSAT and GPA) will be vitally important, but they are not the entire story. Too often, prospective students just look at the median, instead of also at the 25 percentile.
Michigan’s Dean Zearfoss says that the top law schools are less fixated on the numbers than you might expect. “Because of the size of their pool and the success with which they recruit people, you have a little more freedom to look beyond the numbers at the top schools. So once you’re convinced that someone can do the work, you’re trying to decide what they’re going to contribute to the classroom dialogue, and what kind of future they’re going to have as a professional. So, it’s likely to boil down to, you know, an assessment of those factors. So, you know, we look for work experience, or an indication of leadership ability, or a commitment to a particular field or cause, or in some cases, just simply looking for smarts that aren’t reflected in the scores. So, for that you might look at the impressions you get from the quality of someone’s writing, or the tenor of recommendation letters.
You’ll also hear from the following guests:
- Ann Perry, Associate Dean for Admissions, The University of Chicago Law School
- Renee Post, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, The University of Pennsylvania Law School
- Chloe Reid, Associate Dean & Dean of Admissions, University of Southern California, Gould School of Law
- Richard Montauk, Admissions Consultant & Author, How to Get Into the Top Law Schools