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Pre-Law Advisory Program - Applying to Law School

About the Program
Program Features
Recommended Courses of Study
Additional Resources
Applying to Law School

For More Information,

Louis B. Swartz, J.D.

Professor of Legal Studies
412-397-6354 phone
412-397-2172 fax
Massey Hall 121
More Info →


  1. Appropriate timeline
  2. Application Form
  3. Personal statement
  4. Recommendations
  5. Completing the Application


The application process should begin 15-18 months before you plan to attend law school. Most Pre-Law advisors will encourage you to apply early. It is a commonly held opinion that the law school admission offices look more favorably upon the early applicant. Therefore, if an applicant wants to complete all of the applications by the beginning of December, the process should begin at least 5 months before (June or July). Your Pre-Law advisor can provide you with a more detailed timeline and a law school application checklist.


You should register in the spring to take the June LSAT. This will provide an opportunity to take the exam again if there is a need to try to improve the score. Information concerning the LSAT may be obtained from the RMU Career Services Office or from the RMU Pre-Law Advisor. At the same time, you may be given important information about the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS).


Once you have determined that law school is for you and you have gone through the process to select the schools that are the best for you, application forms must be ordered from the schools that you have chosen. Although all applications are different, for the most part, they generally all seek the similar information. The application is an important tool for "putting your best foot forward." It is your best opportunity to present your strengths to admission committees. Your goal is to promote yourself and to convince the schools to which you are applying that you will be an asset to their program. In summary, there are definite "Dos and Don'ts" of a Good Application. Good organization, neatness, uniqueness, and honesty are just a few of the important factors for a good application. Meet with your Pre-Law Advisor for a detailed list of "Dos and Don'ts."


The personal statement is often the deciding factor in determining whether or not one student is admitted to a particular school and another is not. Aside from the LSAT results and the GPA, the personal statement will be the most significant aspect of the application. It will demonstrate to the admissions committees who you are and whether or not you can write. The personal statement is in lieu of an interview. This is the part of the application that you want to convey to the schools in which you are interested that you are "the" person that the school wants at their school. Again, there are many "Dos and Don'ts" of a good personal statement. It is of the utmost importance that you speak with your Pre-Law advisor about these details. Do not underestimate the importance of this aspect of the process.


One of the best ways for a student to be noticed and recognized above others is an excellent recommendation. Recommendations are often bland and unimaginative. Therefore, they are often ignored. In addition, it is rare that a recommendation is not favorable to the student for whom it is written. So, for the most part, recommendations do not pay a major role in the application process. However, an outstanding recommendation will stand out and, in some cases, "make the difference." It is important that you understand what makes an excellent recommendation and to convey that to the recommender. If possible, have your Pre-Law Advisor educate the recommender as to how to write an effective recommendation. You must also pick the right people to recommend you and make sure that you have a diversified list of advisors.


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