Preparing for Law School

Law schools are looking for students with a broad, liberal-arts education. What your major is matters less than what you have accomplished in your studies. Law schools will accept students who majored in anything offered at Lake Forest.

It is important, however, that you develop the skills needed to study and practice law effectively. Not surprisingly, these skills are a focus of the LSAT. They include: reading comprehension (of varied materials), analytical and logical reasoning, and writing.

Plan to visit an area law school (Chicago-Kent, John Marshall, DePaul, University of Chicago, Marquette, Loyola, or Northwestern.) Talk to an assistant dean, meet peer groups and visit a class.

The annual Chicago area Law School Forum, held in the fall, often includes representatives from around 100 law schools. This session provides an excellent opportunity to learn about many schools, talk to admission staff, and collect information.

The Admission Process

Two numbers have an enormous impact on law school admissions: (1) your grade point average and (2) your LSAT score. To be sure, other factors (like letters of recommendation, your personal statement, personal experiences, and co-curricular activities) can have an influence, but GPA and LSAT score are crucial factors. Thus, focusing on your course work beginning with your first semester is essential.  For the LSAT, preparation is necessary. (See the LSAT page.)

Once you’ve decided to apply to law school, spend some time researching schools. A valuable source of information about the schools and your admission prospects is the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. This volume is in the Pre-Law reference section of the library. Included there is information about recent entering classes in terms of likelihood of acceptance given various GPA/LSAT scores. School web pages provide detailed information. 

ILRG: Online law school profiles: Acceptance Rates, Costs, etc. 
ILRG: Index to Law School Rankings
Leiter Law School Rankings
Leiter Law School Reports

Best dates for taking the LSAT, assuming application in the fall: June or October—December is late. Law schools generally use a ‘rolling admission’ system; thus by the time your December score is reported, many people will already have been admitted.

So apply as early as you can—preferably by November.

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