J.D. Application Overview

Application Information J.D.

The application for admission to Washington and Lee Law's Class of 2020 will be available via LSAC.org beginning August 15, 2016. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review our application instructions before beginning the application process. For technical assistance with the online application form available via LSAC, contact the Law School Admission Council at 215.968.1393. For all other inquiries, please contact the Office of Admissions at 540.458.8503 or lawadm@wlu.edu for assistance.

We know that these are challenging financial times for a great many people, and we don't want an application fee to preclude you from applying to W&L Law. Consequently, we have made the necessary arrangements with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) so that no fee will be assessed when you apply. For this admissions cycle, applying to W&L Law will be free of charge.

W&L Law Statement on Admissions

The School of Law seeks to admit a highly qualified and diverse student body. The Admissions Committee aims to admit only those applicants whose academic and admissions test credentials evidence the ability for success in law school, but decisions are not based on any formulaic numerical assessment. Our Admissions Committee does not create or adopt an admissions formula, and applicants are not ranked by any numerical index. Each completed application is reviewed holistically. A myriad of factors beyond academic credentials and LSAT scores are considered as part of this holistic review. Other factors that are considered include, but are not limited to, the applicant's demonstrated writing ability, letters of recommendation, employment experience, service work, the rigor of the applicant's coursework and educational institution, hardships overcome, demonstrated work ethic, relevant skills, contribution to a diverse educational environment, and character.

Application Process

International J.D. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review our webpage for international prospective students before beginning the application process.

Applications for the 2016-17 application cycle will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  Applications that are complete on or before March 1 are guaranteed a decision no later than March 31.  Please know that an applicant whose file is complete after March 1 cannot be guaranteed a decision by a particular date, though we make every effort to give a decision in as expeditious manner as possible.

Applicants whose files are completed by February 1, 2017 will receive priority scholarship consideration.  For admitted students whose files are completed after February 1, scholarship awards will be made to the extent that funds are available.  Students receiving an offer of admission to W&L will receive notification at the same time of a scholarship decision.

Please note that applying by February 1st is not a hard deadline in order to be eligible for merit scholarship consideration.  We will continue to make scholarship awards throughout the admissions cycle, however, we have less money with which to work with each successive month. Consequently, the chances of you receiving a scholarship award are much better the earlier you complete your application, but it is nevertheless possible to receive a scholarship even if you do not complete your application until after February 1. As with many other aspects of the law school application process, the sooner you can complete your application the better.

We encourage you to consider the application process the beginning of your legal career. Law school is a professional school, and you should strive for absolute professionalism in each and every contact you have with any admissions office. Whether it be an email, a phone call, an individual visit or a conversation with a school representative at a law fair, impressions matter. In one email, one phone call or one conversation, you have the potential to dramatically impact your file's consideration. Such contacts can often prove critical when schools make admissions decisions, particularly when choosing whom to accept from their waiting list, and bad impressions can often be extremely difficult to overcome. 

General Application Advice

As you begin to assemble the various constituent parts of our application, please consider these blog posts:

When can I expect a decision?

Each year, we wait until we have a critical mass of applications before we begin reviewing files (so that we might have some perspective on the kinds of applications we are seeing in a given year). In the 2015-2016 admissions cycle, we posted our first round of decisions in early November and made subsequent decisions on an almost weekly basis throughout the season.  We anticipate a similar timeline for 2016-17.

I am wondering just how competitive my application might be. Can you provide me with a preliminary assessment of my likelihood of admission based upon my numerical credentials?

At W&L Law, our Admissions Committee does not use an admissions formula, and applicants are not ranked by any numerical index. We consider undergraduate grades and transcripts, LSAT scores, recommendations, significant employment or post-graduate educational experience, extracurricular activities, special skills and talents, community service involvement and the personal statement. Consequently, due to the holistic nature of our review process, we are unable to provide any preliminary assessment of one's potential admissions decision or scholarship award without reviewing her complete file. LSAT score and/or GPA are simply not enough!  Applicants interested in the numerical qualifications of the students we admit and those who choose to attend W&L Law are encouraged to review the statistical profile of our most recent admissions season (available in the ABA - LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools) and the median qualifications of our most recent class.

I am taking a later LSAT administration. How should I handle the submission of my application?

Admittedly, from cycle to cycle, this is a fairly common predicament. Applicants seem to think that there is something wrong with submitting their application before their LSAC file is complete with transcript(s), LSAT score and recommendations. Please don't worry - sending us your application before everything else is teed up is fine. Waiting? Well, that's less fine.

As a general policy, with all application matters, sooner is almost always better. Consequently, if you're taking a later LSAT, we encourage you to submit an application now, and begin sending along the various constituent parts of your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report (detailed above) to the LSAC. By doing this, your file will be complete (and therefore eligible for review) much sooner than if you wait until you receive your results to begin the application process or to submit other required documents to the LSAC. Even if you're simply awaiting the results of an LSAT administration, we encourage you to go ahead and submit the completed aspects of your file. If you choose to re-take the LSAT, do not worry. Simply notify our office of your plans (email is preferred), and we will place a hold on your file.

If you've previously taken the LSAT, do not worry that we might somehow review your (technically complete) file before we receive your new LSAT score. Simply provide us, in Section 6 of our application, the date of your future LSAT administration, and we'll hold your file for review until we receive scores from that test. If you change your mind, (and decide not to sit for the test after all, or decide to sit for a later test administration) please contact us so that we can either remove the "hold" on your file or change the date on which we'll check for a new score.

Furthermore, we make admissions decisions on a rolling basis, and there is no early action program. Each year, we wait until we have a critical mass of applications to begin our review (so that we might have some perspective on the kinds of application we're seeing in a given cycle), and while each year is just a little different than its predecessors, we don't typically achieve this volume until mid- to late October.

Notes on our consideration procedures:

  • Applicants' files are considered holistically; in addition to LSAT and undergraduate GPA, we consider an applicant's personal statement, undergraduate activities, work experience, graduate studies, etc. No numerical index is used to evaluate a candidate's application.
  • Decisions are made continuously throughout the application season: applicants whose credentials are strongest tend to receive decisions more quickly than those whose files require more careful consideration. Applicants should consider themselves under active consideration until they receive a letter of decision.
  • We typically begin the review process in mid- to late October.  Applicants whose file is complete by March 1 will receive a letter of decision postmarked no later than March 31. All applicants will be notified of their decision via the Applicant Status Online feature. Applicants receiving offers of admission are notified by email as well as formal letter. Applicants who are waitlisted are notified by email and letter. Applicants who are denied are notified via the Applicant Status Online feature only. 

Notes on Bar Admission:

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

University Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

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