Sunday, January 11, 2009

Law School Expert's 250th Blog Post

I have been very busy assisting clients through the application process and have not had as much time as I would have liked to share my thoughts on the blog and/or respond individually to as many comments. I am reading everything and responding when I am able, and I do not want to post fluff, but only share information that will truly be useful to law school applicants. I have some fairly random thoughts for this time in the admission cycle that I would like to share.

Some housekeeping:
First, this is my 250th blog post. Thank you for reading with me along the journey, and thank you especially for telling your friends about the blog (especially friends considering applying to law school for the Fall 2010 admission cycle).

Second, I just re-launched a new design of and would love any thoughts you have about the new look.

Third, I will soon be migrating this blog onto my own domain. Please don't be afraid if you come to read the blog and it suddenly looks professional and/or "pretty" - I promise it's still me, just a version of me planning to join 2009.

Fourth, many of you ask very specific questions about your situations - schools to apply to, your chances for admission, etc. I know these are the questions most pressing on your minds, and I do my best to answer them to the extent that I am able. Please be understanding about the fact that these are not questions that are amenable to simple answers; responding appropriately would require significant time to evaluate and consider all of the relevant issues. The blog format is not conducive to this, and -after all - I do give this kind of advice for a living and my clients must continue to be my first priority. Thanks so much to everyone who takes the time to leave positive feedback about the blog being helpful to you; that means a great deal to me and is the reason I spend the time to do this.

Lastly, I do want to tell you I am working on a book based on this blog and it will feature (anonymously) many of the questions I've been asked throughout the last 250 posts. Please stay tuned. It may not come out in time to help Fall 2009 applicants, but Fall 2010 applicants will benefit from all of your experiences and any kernels of wisdom I might have shared in response. Keep an eye out for that announcement in the next few months.

Ok, Now let's talk about law school admission trends/recent observations:

1. Applying late. It feels like more of you are applying later than ever before. This might just be because the December LSAT was a week later (and hence scores were a week later being released) but it definitely concerns me that so many people are still working on applications in mid-January. This is especially true for those of you retaking (or taking) the LSAT in February. I don't want anyone to panic reading this, but I do want you to have a Plan B in the back of your head. Plan B is retaking the LSAT in June/October and applying in September/October of Fall 2010. Of course, this only works if you have gainful employment or no need for gainful employment, but I just want to put this out there.

2. The waitlists haven't gone crazy yet, but they will. Don't get upset about a waitlist decision, just do something about it! If you sit around twiddling your thumbs instead of campaigning to get into a school, then you don't deserve the precious acceptance letter in the first place.

3. General impatience is an unfortunate trend. Please be polite to people who work at law schools. Most of them are not paid well, they are overworked, trying to do a good job, but mistakes do happen. Be professional in all of your dealings; remember that if you act like a jerk (or spoiled brat) these people have the power to walk right into the Dean of Admissions and share a story about the unkind applicant. (An important lesson for aspiring lawyers- treat secretaries/assistants very, very well.)

4. Overestimating your soft factors. I have heard from a lot of people this year touting their extensive, impressive work experience that - after reading 20-some-odd-thousand law school applications- is just not that impressive. This happens with diversity factors too - people who write diversity statements about things that have very little to do with the diversity they bring to the table and more about their parents, grandparents, brother, or best friends or neighbors.

The good news:
1. Law schools are acting predictably, and not crazily, this year.
2. Application rates are not as crazy as people predicted either.
3. I will still be here in the coming months to write about these issues, to share the trends I'm seeing, and to entertain your comments, questions and concerns.


  1. Hey Ann

    How are you? Thank you so much for this blog. This has been such a help during the stressful process of applications.

    I recently received my second LSAT score. I increased my score by 6 points and some of the schools I applied to suggested I write an addendum. I did so and sent it in except I just realized that I forgot a period at the end of one of my paragraphs. I know this is a very small detail but I am sincerely worried

    Please tell me this is not the end of the world and law schools are not questioning my credibility.



  2. Maanasa,
    Congrats on the score increase. The period mistake is unfortunate but will not be the reason you aren't admitted. It's a silly mistake, but not the end of the world. It depends a bit on where you were applying, but no reason to beat yourself up over this.
    Good luck!

  3. Ann,

    Love the blog. I think it's a great service for all of us nervous pre-laws out there.

    I'm sure you hate getting these questions on your site, but I am curious if you could provide a little more information on the number of applications going into law schools this year. Specifically, I am *really* curious about the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Law School Numbers amongst other online sources has shown little movement at the school. Are they trying to change the medians?

    I'm an in-state resident with a 161/3.63, so I am quite nervous as that I am right around the middle 50%. Even in this economy, any chance for me? Any thoughts on residency mattering?

    Many thanks, 100x.

  4. Hi Wisc Question,
    You know, it looks like applications are not up overall across the country (although they probably are at "top" law schools because of increased demand for a name brand law school). Its too soon to really know, but generally -yes- residency matters at public schools and (also generally) public universities take longer to respond to applications.
    Just hang tight, and I wish you the best of luck.
    Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi Ann,
    I just read your recent entry and it got me thinking whether or not I should send my last application. As you said, it is really late in the cycle, and my lsat score is not in the 75th percentile. Should I just save my $75?


  6. Hi Yesenia,
    If it's a school you really would like to attend then give it a shot, but if you think your bases are covered with other schools you've applied to, treat yourself to a massage instead ; )

  7. I want to specialize in environmental law and have been accepted to Lewis and Clark with a $12,000 a year scholarship and to Pace with a $33,000 a year scholarship. Any expenses not covered by scholarships I would have to take out in loans. Lewis and Clark are both ranked in the top 10 for environmental law schools but Lewis and Clark has a much higher overall rating. Any advice?

  8. Hi Sarah,
    You don't mention where you live, and how you feel about moving far away. You also don't mention the likelihood of getting the scholarship renewed each year (grade requirements, etc.). These are all important factors to consider.
    Congratulations on having such great options.