Friday, July 27, 2007

Re-Applying to Law School & the LSAT

I just received this comment on another posting and wanted more readers to benefit from the response:
"I am in the 30+ range and did the LSAT years ago and got a 144 and did not get into the schools I wanted. I am going to do it agin this fall (September). What would you suggest that I do to get to at least 150 or more?"

This comment raises a number of issues - more than meets the surface - and I will try to address them here.
1. Something that's important to remember about the LSAT is that it's an aptitude test. Anyone who tells you to shoot for a certain score and not take the test until you're sure you're going to get that score does not understand this exam. As I've said before, I could study for a year and still not get a 180. So, while it's possible for you to get a 150, and a 150 might even be the right score for you, having a specific goal in your head isn't the right way to go about it.

2. What is the right way to go about it? If a client asked me this question, I'd first want to know what you did to prepare last time. Did you study on your own? Take a prep course? Which prep course? How dedicated were you? How much time did you spend? If you did everything the "right" way, what is your standardized testing history? I would try to determine, based on statistics and on my experience with similar applicants, whether you are a good candidate to re-take the exam. If you are, I would suggest strategies that fit your lifestyle, budget, and abilities.

3. Where did you apply? I'd want to see whether you applied to schools that are right for you given your qualifications, experiences, and goals. After all, if you applied to Top 10 schools then even getting your score above 150 isn't going to be productive. One thing I do with people in your situation is evaluate the schools you're considering and suggest others that I've seen exhibit a little more flexibility around the LSAT.

4. How strong was the rest of your application? You have to give them a reason to look beyond your LSAT score. This reason is different for every candidate, and it's why I urge applicants to stay away from "one size fits all" advice. (which leads to #5...)

5. Brett McKay at Frugal Law Student asked me how a law school applicant might save money by working with me. (The full interview will be posted on his blog early next week). Applying the right way, to the right schools, and preparing adequately for the LSAT the first time you take it are all things that will save you money (and time and agony) in the long run.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is this: Call me! Let's talk about how I can help you meet your goals. Check out testimonials on my web site from people who were in similar circumstances. And, please check out previous postings about low LSAT scores so you know that things are not hopeless.


  1. Please help me understand this: I constantly hear that the LSAT score isn't the only thing schools look at when considering applicants. How is that possible? My husband graduated with a 3.75 GPA and scored in the low 150s on the LSAT. He was rejected. The next cycle he had the SAME GPA, the SAME personal statement, the SAME letters of recommendation, the SAME work and life experiences, but after retaking the LSAT and raising his score by 5 pts. he was accepted. Is the LSAT score really the only thing that matters?

  2. Remember there is a big percentile jump between 150 and 155- from about 49th percentile to 67th. It's more than just "five points."

  3. So all it takes is getting 9 more questions right and suddenly I'm a more acceptable law student? Never mind every other soft factor hasn't changed. Just 9 questions.....

  4. And doing so should pay off, so it was worthwhile.

    I know a higher LSAT score doesn't make you a better person or a better lawyer. But law schools are pretty convinced it makes you a better candidate and a better bet on performance in school and performance on the Bar Exam. It's not a perfect system.