Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions for Law School Applicants

Here is a link to one of my favorite LawSchoolExpert posts ever - New Year Resolutions for Law School Applicants. I posted it a year ago, and I hope this year's class of law school applicants finds it just as comforting as last year's.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Law School Expert's Best of 2008

Thanks to all of my readers for your wonderful comments and feedback this year.

Over 63,547 of you visited the Law School Expert blog 93,719 times. WOW. Thank you. I love how many of you left comments and sent me e-mails about how the blog has helped you through the law school admission process.

I'd like to share with you my favorite posts from this year: (There were 122 posts, so choosing them proved difficult)

January: The benefits of attending law school part time. and 5 Things You Can Do To Be Admitted Off the Waitlisted

February: Law School Discussion Driving You Crazy

October: Are You Suffering From Application Panic Syndrome? (my personal favorite post of the year!)

November: Mistakes to Avoid in Law School Applications (with a whopping 32 comments!)

December: How Binding is Binding Early Decision?

Thanks so much for the great inspiration - many of my topics come from questions and comments posted to the blog and things that my law school admission consulting clients express concern regarding.

Wishing you all a wonderful and happy New Year in 2009.

December LSAT Scores Out Today!

Just heard back from my first client about December LSAT scores - Congrats on the big increase, B! Looking forward to hearing more news..... Check your email.... (not to make you totally paranoid, but keep your eyes out!)
Good luck!
And for those of you who haven't yet applied, let's get started ASAP. I'm here to help.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Cheer

Hello Everyone! In honor of the holiday season, today's blog post exists to congratulate some of my law school admission consulting clients who have heard good news from the following schools:

M - Miami, PSU, Drexel (with scholarship)
R - Cornell, Georgetown
S - UCLA, Georgetown, Berkeley
D - William & Mary
B - Richmond
H - Georgetown
K - Wisconsin, BU, W&M (with scholarship!)
J - Georgetown, Washington University, Fordham (with scholarship!), USC (with scholarship!)
M- Baltimore, Rutgers Newark, Suffolk, Catholic
K - Rutgers Newark
E - U. Texas and UCLA (with scholarship!)
E - U. of Miami
T- Marquette (with scholarship!), DePaul, University of Miami
A- Rutgers Newark (with scholarship), Maryland, Catholic (with scholarship!)
L- Iowa (full tuition scholarship!), George Mason
J - NIU, DePaul, Marquette, John Marshall
M - Whittier (after applying last year to a bunch of schools and not getting in anywhere!)
K - U. Illinois (with scholarship!), W&M (with scholarship!)
A- Quinnipiac, Catholic, Widener (with scholarship!)
N- Case Western (early decision!)
J- St. Thomas
C- Nova
J- U. Miami

I love to hear about your success stories. Please continue to keep me posted. Happy Holidays to everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Binding is "Binding Early Decision"?

"Exactly how binding is early decision?"

Thanks to Nathaniel for this great (and timely) question.

LSAC lists obligations of the law schools and obligations of law school applicants in the admission process, and one of the key obligations of a law school applicant is in regard to binding early decision programs. I urge all law school applicants to read this one-page fact sheet.

The bottom line is that, after June 15th, law schools will be able to see where you've submitted seat deposits. If a school sees that you have multiple deposits, the school enforce any policy it has with regard to withdrawing offers of admission.

My personal advice:
You're entering a profession where your success will be based largely upon whether others regard you as being good for what you promise. It's a little early to start playing games with your reputation. Plus, you'll learn in law school that although it's not against the law to break a contract, there are certain liabilities and downsides for breaching a contract. While a law school won't send the police to cuff you, bring you to their campus, and make you pay the tuition, a law school very well might say "Nevermind" to your admission offer, as could the other school where you've submitted a deposit. Then where would you be? And would all of this trouble have been worth it?

For those of you applying for Fall 2010 admission and wondering about Early Decision admission to law school, this link should answer your questions.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Your Law School Admission Questions Answered!

Hello law school applicants! I am currently accepting suggestions for blog topics..... Fire away by leaving a new comment here - and please give yourself a name (rather than "Anonymous").

I look forward to answering your questions.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

101 Ways to A Higher LSAT: Featuring Law School Expert!

I am very excited to announce that I am a featured case study in the book: 101 Ways to Score Higher on Your LSAT: What You Need to Know About the Law School Admission Test Explained Simply by Linda C. Ashar.

If you're just starting to think about the LSAT (especially those of you applying for Fall 2010 admission and beyond), this book is a great, unbiased resource from a company that's not trying to sell you anything.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

After taking the December LSAT - 3 tips

You took the December LSAT today? My three most important tips:

1. DO NOT SPEND TIME TODAY ON DISCUSSION BOARDS. If you feel good walking out of the test, don't change your opinion of your own performance based on what the mob says on discussion boards. Why would you trust total (anonymous) strangers over your own instincts? Instead of fueling hits to Law School Discussion and Top-Law-Schools today, rent a guilty pleasure movie (or download it, I'm sounding my age by saying you have to "rent" it), enjoy a glass of wine, and only surround yourself with people who are supportive of your endeavors.

2. Thinking about canceling your LSAT score? I've written quite a bit on that topic since starting this blog. (I can answer a few questions in the comments section, but can't give specific advice about whether you should cancel within the blog format. There are just too many factors to consider.) Please also remember that taking the February LSAT is less than ideal for Fall admission.

3. I know that LSAC said you'd get your scores in January. And they might be telling you the truth. But last year scores were released on Dec. 21st. Just keep this in mind so you're mentally prepared to submit all of your apps before the end of the month.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and tell your friends who plan to apply for Fall 2010 admission to take the June or October LSAT so they don't have to go through this agony.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December or February LSAT? 6 Tips for LSAT Test Day.

Here are the 4 most common questions that I'm hearing this week from people scheduled to take the December LSAT:

1. I have the flu. What do I do?
2. This is my first time taking the LSAT and I'm not ready. What do I do?
3. If I postpone until February, is that too late in the rolling admission process?
4. Why do law schools say they will accept February LSAT scores?

If December would be your first time taking the LSAT and you're feeling unprepared or ill, then you have 2 options: (1) take the LSAT and see how you feel about it, keeping in mind you can cancel it if you really feel terrible during the exam, or (2) wait until the February LSAT.

If it's not your first time, you have to decide how you feel about relying on your previous score(s). If you are ok with the options that score will leave you in terms of a schools list, then go ahead and submit your applications and see what happens. If you aren't happy with your results, you can take the LSAT next June or October and apply early in the cycle for Fall 2010.

If you are someone who is scoring in the 140s on practice tests, please don't take the exam when you're sick. You'll come back with a score that won't get you serious consideration at any school, and this is especially true if your GPA is not strong. Plus, you'll have to deal with the ego blow that will haunt you whenever you do retake the test, and you'll have to write a pathetic "Boy, I sure do wish I'd done better on the LSAT" Addendum.

Waiting until February is not ideal, but if you get your applications submitted in the next few weeks you may be able to mitigate some of the disadvantage from applying so late in the cycle. Of course, it's always a gamble to come up with a schools list without a final LSAT score. You can create a schools list based on the range of practice LSAT results you've gotten, erring on the side of your lower scores to be safe and to make up for applying late in the cycle.

Lastly, I know schools say they "accept" February LSAT scores. However, you need to understand what that means. The earliest your application will be reviewed is March, at which point most schools will already have dozens or hundreds of applicants on their waitlists. So, in order for you to be admitted you would need to have an LSAT score that makes them want to take you over the others already on the waitlist. When schools say they "accept" February LSATs, it means they hold out for those really competitive candidates.


I hope those of you taking the LSAT this weekend are ready, healthy, and well rested.
1. Go in with the attitude of proving what you can do.
2. Don't think about your final score.
3. Look at each question as a challenge that you welcome.
4. Don't worry about the guy next to you.
5. Don't talk to anyone during breaks (especially people who talk about already having a 172 but trying for a 179).
6. Do what works for you - eat the snacks that work for you, entertain your own superstitions, and try not to get distracted by rude proctors or clicking pencils. After all, those factors will be present in law school and during the bar exam - get used to them now.

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Note to My Readers

Just a quick note to my loyal readers - I just started running Google Ads as an experiment. For the first 18 months of this blog, I did not run any advertisements. I have decided, however, that I'm not scared that you might learn about my "competition" - rather, I welcome you to learn about other law school admission consulting options. I think, after exploring the options, you'll be rather impressed by all that I offer - particularly my accessibility, affordability, and the quality of the coaching you receive. I welcome your comments about having Google Ads on the blog, as this is an experiment and I want the blog to offer valuable information to law school applicants.

And, yes, I am currently accepting clients who are taking the December 2008 LSAT. I always offer a free initial consultation if you have questions about how we could work together.

If you sign up for my Option A "The Works" package between today and December 15th, you can get 10% off the total price by entering the coupon code DECLSAT.

Good luck on the December LSAT!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Choosing an Area of Law as a Specialty

You've probably heard (or read) my speech about not "picking a major" when applying to law school unless you can really, really, really back it up.

Anna Ivey's recent post about the downside of choosing International Law as an area of specialization when applying to law school is extremely relevant and I hope you'll find it helpful (although I'm sure a portion of my audience will find it discouraging).

I do agree with Anna on this point: most people applying to law school really have no idea what being a lawyer is really all about. I think that Anna has a great idea - if you're interested primarily in a specific area of law, you should try out that area as your profession before trying out the law part. (For example, try out the Entertainment Industry before trying out the Entertainment Law Industry).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

LSAT Advice

I'm not an LSAT tutor, but sometimes my clients give me great tips to pass on. Here are a sampling:

From S:

I am feeling much better about my LSAT progress ever since I finished the PowerScore books and utilized the materials at: .

Back when I was in college my favorite calculus professor used to say, "If you don't understand a particular concept in your text book, don't give up . . . just get a different text book." He was right. Often times a different text author would explain something in a way that even a knucklehead like me could understand. Eventually I would find that author.

The games were still killing me so with my teacher's words in mind I went online looking for a different explanation, and I found TestSherpa. The owner of TestSherpa gave me links to his four-hour long "Logic Games Workshop" and I'll be doing that tonight at home, after I leave work. I have a feeling that's going to solidify things a lot for me and then I'll resume taking practice tests tomorrow. The material's good and helpful. Why does he charge so little? I'm thinking maybe he's a disgruntled ex-LSAC employee or something.

Anyway, I think is a wonderful little find. I'll let you know how much I improve. I have a feeling I'll have some good news about TestSherpa to share with others.

From J:

By the way, the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible is also good. I liked the Logic Games one so much I decided to order another to try to further improve my Logical Reasoning scores, and I'm glad I did. Both books include good information and techniques for approaching formal logic and conditional reasoning, and they interact well with each other. I was in the US for the last few weeks and skimmed through a few of the general-purpose LSAT prep books (Princeton Review, Barrons etc) in a bookstore, and I was amazed at how superficial and generic they were in their advice. I've always been quite suspicious of the whole standardized-test-prep racket, so I feel strange writing these gushy testimonials, but Powerscore really does offer exceptionally effective methods.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Applying to Yale Law, and Applying ED t o Another School?

A very interesting (and a tiny bit self-serving) post from the Yale Law Admissions blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why I Help People Apply to Law School

I got a great phone call today from a client I helped 3 years ago in her law school application process. She had a REALLY low LSAT score - I think it was a 140 or something. And she has sent me a new client every year for the last 3 years. And today she called to tell me she's graduating from law school - and graduating as a member of the law review and on the moot court board. And she wanted my address to send me an invitation to her graduation!

Calls like this make my whole day! And they only emphasize that the LSAT isn't everything, and that if you really submit the best possible application materials, there is hope.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Concluding a Personal Statement

Most of my law school admission consulting clients struggle to state the reasons why they are applying to a certain law school. I want to offer some hints and tricks in this regard:

1. Do I have to say why I want to go to Law School X?
No. You don't. Unless X Law School asks you to, and then - yes - you do.
And if they offer this as an optional essay topic, and you don't do it, then - yes- I think (as a former director of admissions) that you're being lazy.

2. Is there some advantage to saying why I want to go to Law School X?
Yes. If you can convince them, they'll be more likely to admit you rather than wait list you and make you prove you deserve a coveted admission letter that they'll then have to report for rankings purposes.

3. So, what can I possibly say?
It's true - sometimes law schools just don't seem to be that different from one another, especially when they are ranked similarly.

Here are some tips:
a. Don't say you love their Environmental Law program if nothing in your application supports your interest in Environmental Law.
b. Don't pick a study abroad program as your reason; you can do any ABA school's study abroad summer program and transfer the credits (generally).
c. Don't list reasons that could be applied to any law school equally like 'esteemed faculty' or 'national reputation' or 'bar passage rate.' Be specific.
d. If you're applying part time, tell them why. Otherwise they'll think you're just using the part time program to be admitted through the "back door."

Good luck, and I hope I've inspired you to do a little more research and critical thinking about why you're choosing each law school on your list.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Best Personal Statement Samples

BU has posted some amazing personal statement samples. They are the best I've seen on the Internet. So, this is for all of you who love to beg me for examples of law school personal statements.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Law School

Don West, Jr. is THE guy. I admit, I was his unofficial campaign manager when he ran for SBA president 10 years ago, and the first in line for a hug when he won. And so it is no surprise to me that he is now SuperLawyer of the Universe. So, I asked Don to share with my readers his thoughts on the "Five Things I Wish I'd Known Before Law School." As someone who went to law school with Don, I can tell you he put a lot of thought into this and into his own experience during those very important 3 years. And, I think our continuing friendship proves his point about the importance of networking while in law school. So, without further ado..... Here's Don:

When Ann asked me to write a posting for her, my first response was, “Sure, no problem.” But upon further review of the question she posed, “What are five things you wished you knew before applying to law school?” That question ultimately caused me a severe case of writer’s block. There were so many unknowns and variables that I simply did not understand before I attended law school in 1997 that I was not sure what was valuable and what could be trimmed as trivial or inconsequential. I share all of that in part to apologize to my great friend Ann for the extreme delay in comprising this list of “Five things I wished I knew before I applied to law school”, so here it goes:

1) An understanding of the business principles of the legal practice. In most law schools excellent instruction is provided on legal reasoning, legal theory, research and writing. However, in many instances we are acquiring these skills for the purpose of generating an income to support ourselves and our families. Most law schools fall short in preparing students for handling the business behind the practice of law. It is important for all of us as legal practitioners to also be astute business men and women as it is a foundational element to our professional craft. I wish I had a more thorough understanding of this point going into law school.

2) An understanding of the value of networking. Law School Campus. In a way your law school becomes a part of your extended family. I say this because once you graduate with your Juris Doctor degree you are essentially married to that particular institution. So, no matter what your experience or opinion of the place, when people ask, “where you went to law school?” your alma mater is a name you cannot escape. I suppose you can get a new JD, but I have not met that person in my journeys just yet. With these facts in mind, the individuals that attend law school with you will be your life-long “partners” as you all progress from a common starting point. Understanding the basic principles of professional networking and utilizing the knowledge while on your law school campuses will reap a lifetime of rewards and many genuinely enhancing relationships.

3) An understanding of the value of networking. American Bar Association, Local Bar Associations & other Professional Organizations. Many people say, “You should go to law school where you intend to practice law.” I believe that one of the reasons that this is mentioned is because of the network you build in that local community in addition to the benefits of learning the laws of the local jurisdiction in your classes. The American Bar Association and your local bar association(s) can also be career long partners for your professional growth and development. Getting involved early allows you to explore the plethora of committees and sections throughout these organizations. Active participation will allow the astute networker to build meaningful national and local contacts to aid in your career’s numerous twists and turns.

4) A greater appreciation for academic excellence. As most law students know, grades are an important part of the law school process. I knew this fact going in, but I really could not articulate all the reasons why they were important. During my first year in law school I had the privilege of meeting Mary Ann Connors and she shared this insight, “Law students with superior academic records correlate into faster producing workers on the job. The skills they mastered in keeping up with their classroom assignments amidst all of life’s challenges are the same skills a law firm needs from its associates.” In addition to the great benefits of post-graduation employment, many law firms will ask to see your law transcripts five, ten and even fifteen years after you have graduated.

5) An understanding of the globalizing economy. Our next generation of super lawyers will work in a complex highly international marketplace. Understanding how the world is flattening and how a flat world impacts the legal sectors is an essential tool for the millennial lawyer.

Thanks, Don!!!!!!! I know this is really important and sage advice for all law school applicants and pre-law students and truly appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts with my readers.For more about Don, see

Best Law Schools for Public Interest

National Jurist just picked the Best Law Schools for Public Interest, so check it out....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tips for December LSAT Takers

Here are some previous posts that will offer insight and advice for those of you taking (or retaking) the LSAT in December:

Pre-LSAT Advice (with just a caveat - I am no longer accepting clients with LSATs below the mid-140s because I have not seen them be overwhelmingly successful in their admission attempts recently and I do not want to give anyone false hope - only realistic hope.)

Countdown to the December LSAT
(it's a little early for this pre-Thanksgiving advice but I hope it will still make you feel better)

What if you don't feel ready for the December LSAT? What are your alternatives? When reading this post, remember it's from last year so you have to change the dates in your head.....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mistakes to Avoid in Law School Applications

Ok, been reviewing a lot of applications this weekend so I want to tell you of some common mistakes people have been making:

1. Pay attention to whether a school wants you to list things in chronological order or reverse chronological order.
2. Don't submit a 4 page personal statement when 3 will do. Especially when a school has a 3 page limit.
3. Don't forget to check a school's guidelines for their personal statement topics.
4. Don't try to write a diversity statement if you have nothing to say. If it feels like a stretch, it is a stretch.
5. Be very, very careful about the things you attach electronically. Turn off Track Changes!!!!

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dean's Certification Letters

Ok, what is the deal with these? I know I'm supposed to be answering the questions and not asking them, but they just started really appearing on the scene a few years ago and schools are incredibly inconsistent about what they mean by them, when you need one, whether or not there's a form, who should fill it out, etc. I thought I'd open this up and just let everyone share about their lovely Dean's Cert Letter experiences, any feelings you have about them, anything you've learned about what certain schools mean when they ask for one, etc. Have a good time.
(This is an experiment in my blogging career... Let's see what happens! Besides, I don't have time to keep answering all of these wonderful comments so have fun answering each other!!! I look forward to reading them myself)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thank You!

I just wanted to say thanks to all of my readers - we hit some major records this weekend.
More than 10,000 people read my blog this month!
On Friday alone, almost 2,000 of you checked my site!

In appreciation of your readership and Loyalty, I'm offering 2 rewards:
1. If you sign up for my Option A "The Works" package on or before Friday, October 31st, 2008, I will honor the following coupon code for a surprise discount at checkout. (Enter Coupon Code: Blog Reader)

2. I will entertain any blog post topics you would like me to write about, and will try to write about then in the next week or two. Just leave comments to this post with your suggestions.

Now, since my blog readership has grown so much answering the comments has been getting a bit overwhelming. So, I'm going to ask everyone to abide by the following courtesies:

1. Please use a name when commenting, even it's a pretend name. It's way too confusing to answer to "Anonymous" because it is unclear which anonymous reader I'm responding to.

2. There are certain questions that are not conducive to being answered in a blog format. These include your chances at particular schools, whether or not you should retake the LSAT, and what you should write your personal statement about. These are the kinds of questions you need a law school admission counselor to answer, and I always offer free initial consultations to anyone considering using my services. See for more information.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. And thank you so much for all of the nice comments about how much you appreciate my blog!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

More about Retaking the LSAT in December

One of my former clients who writes the pithy postings about her 1L year has a funny scenario that is very typical law school classroom fare so definitely check it out. She also read my posting yesterday about people who improved their LSATs in December and reminded me of the following:

"P.S. Regarding LSAT score retaking, don't forget me - 160 in June to 173 in December!
P.P.S. I still think that going through the Admissions process was harder than actual law school.

Have a good weekend everyone!