The Blog


I'm a new college freshman, planning on law school in the future. What do I do now?

The short answer, one that eventually will greatly distinguish you down the road, is....get great grades. Get great grades. The common pattern of GPAs of college students seeking law school admission in the future, is a bumpy first year, with relatively lower grades, followed by progressively improving grades in the second, third and fourth years of college. But it is clearly those applicants with the very highest GPAs (meaning high grades during the freshman year, as well as the rest of their college years) who break into the top ten--especially the top five--elite law schools. If Yale, Stanford and Harvard have law schools with enrolling student classes in the 3.8 GPA range, you can't afford too many grades lower than an "A".

So, if you want to be the most effective future competitor for a spot at an elite law school, stay focused now, in your freshman year, on all your courses. Do what gets measured. Attend all your classes. Get to know your professors. Do all your reading. Contribute positively to class discussions. Prepare thoroughly for each exam. Seek to discover what your professors' old exams are like. Perhaps they are on file at your school in a way that is accessible to you, such as at your school's library.

In addition, move forward in other ways. Engage your college's community in a creative way. Get involved in activities and projects of interest to you, especially if they can be law-related. Some examples: offer volunteer service to a local legal aid clinic. Just walk in, introduce yourself, and use the magic "v" word: "I'm a new college freshman at (name your school) and I want to volunteer some time to your organization." The doors will spring open. You may be doing low-level clerical work at first, but stay with it, and you will climb the learning curve, and begin to learn the work of the lawyers there. Make yourself indispensable there, with the time you have to give.

Or pick a political or social cause of interest to you, on campus or in the surrounding community. What are you passionate about? What changes would you like to see made to society? What are the organization's lawyers doing? How does the current state of the law affect things? Join in and help out. In the internet age, your potential field of influence is global.

For more assistance in making your plans for law school, please see my website


I'm planning on applying to law school, but I have a criminal record. What should I do?

I frequently deal with law school advisees who have had a brush with the law in their past. It might have been underage drinking, with the use of a false ID card. It might have been a speeding ticket, or one for violation of some other motor vehicle law, such as curfew violation or failure to use a seatbelt. It could have been a noise violation in your college setting.

Here's how to handle the issue of disclosing a criminal record in a law school application.

1. Don't hide anything. Make a full disclosure. Answer the law school's question fully and with complete honesty. Some law schools require the disclosure of matters officially expunged from the criminal record. Disclose them. I actually recommend that you disclose all matters, including expunged convictions.

2. "Fall on your sword." In other words, "Admit your mistake(s) emphatically." What was wrong is wrong. Don't try to justify bad behavior or let yourself off the hook. Don't make the argument that "Everybody was doing it." Convince them now that you would never engage in such behavior again.

3. Remember that you will have to make a full disclosure as well--down the road--to the state bar of the state where you will want to practice law. State bars may look back to your law school application to see what you said about your criminal record. It had better be a full, complete and entirely honest disclosure, conforming precisely to the disclosure you make on your bar exam, or--frankly--you may not be admitted to the bar. So don't cut any corners in this extremely important area of your law school applications.

If you need help in this area, please see my website, or send an e-mail to


How to Find the Right Law School for You

“What’s the right law school for me?”

I am regularly asked this question. I can help you determine the right answer.

Let me begin by asking you a series of non-stressful questions, the answers to which will narrow down the vast range of law schools to some appropriate choices for our further consideration.

1. First, let's think about physical location. Do you envision going to law school in an urban, suburban or rural setting?

2. Do you want to remain in such a setting after law school is over for you?

3. Do you think you want a national, regional, or local law school? National law schools are the toughest in terms of admission challenge, but offer the greatest access to the national job market. However, they are likely to be the most expensive. Regional law schools, often public, can be quite respected in their region or state, and can be less expensive than private law schools, but they often lack a national reach in terms of the job market. Local law schools are the easiest challenge in terms of admission, but typically receive only limited interest from legal employers beyond the local market. And private local law schools can be very expensive.

4. Consider the reach of the school in the job market. Begin to get a sense of who recruits there by checking the NALP Directory.

5. Do you want a law school that is cooperative in its culture? Or competitive?

6. How harsh or friendly is the school's grading policy? Does the school provide class ranking data? Or does it refrain from doing so? An excellent source of information on these issues is The 2008 BCG Attorney Search Guide to America’s Top 50 Law Schools.

7. How diverse is the student body there? Are you going to feel comfortable there, and part of the community?

8. What about the political character of the professors and students? Does the law school have what you are looking for?

9. Does the law school have a religious affiliation that you might want?

10. What about the law school's cost? Do students really pay the stated tuition cost, or do many receive discounts through aid, grants and scholarships?

11. Does the area surrounding the law school offer you some of the things that you want for recreation, personal growth, fun, learning, meeting people, jobs, and institutions that matter to you?

12. As you visit a potential school's website--or better the actual physical setting of a potential law school--what is your reaction to their facilities? Are they new, or old? How comfortable are the students? Is there convenient internet access for everyone? Adequate library and study space? What about parking? Public transportation? And what about personal safety, in the school and neighborhood?

13. If you are physically there, stroll into a public bathroom for a quick look. This might sound odd to you, but it can reveal something important about the culture of the school. Are the bathrooms dirty or clean? Supplied adequately, or missing important things? Are the bathrooms covered with angry student graffiti, or are the walls and stalls clean?

14. Consider the average age and life experience of students at this law school. Are they mostly fresh from college, or do they have some work experience? Which do you want?

Also consider the information at as you begin to make your law school plans. For more information on how I can assist you, or to answer your questions, please send an e-mail to

Sep092008 Advisee Admission Successes, 2006-2008 advisees earned admission offers from the following schools during the 2006-2008 admission cycles. These two cycles appears to me to have been among the very most challenging for applicants since I began working in law school admissions in 1996. Plan carefully as you think about application efforts this fall for a 2009 law school start, or if you are considering an effort to transfer upward from your current law school. Feel free to contact me at Please see my website for more information about my approach to assisting law school and graduate school applicants.

  1. American University, Washington College of Law.
  2. Boston College Law School.
  3. Boston University School of Law.
  4. Brooklyn Law School.
  5. University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).
  6. University of California, Davis School of Law (King Hall).
  7. California Western School of Law.
  8. Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.
  9. Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.
  10. The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.
  11. The University of Chicago Law School.
  12. Columbia University School of Law.
  13. Cornell Law School.
  14. University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
  15. Duke University School of Law.
  16. Fordham University School of Law.
  17. George Mason University School of Law.
  18. George Washington University Law School.
  19. Georgetown University Law Center.
  20. Georgetown University, Paralegal Studies Program.
  21. University of Michigan Law School.
  22. New York University School of Law.
  23. Northwestern University School of Law.
  24. Ohio Northern University-Claude W. Petit College of Law (with a major scholarship offer).
  25. University of Pennsylvania Law School.
  26. Regent University School of Law.
  27. St. John’s University School of Law (with a full-tuition scholarship offer).
  28. Santa Clara University School of Law.
  29. Seton Hall University School of Law.
  30. Stanford University Law School.
  31. Thomas Jefferson School of Law (with a major scholarship offer).
  32. University of Virginia School of Law.
  33. University of Washington School of Law.
  34. Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.
  35. West Virginia University College of Law.
  36. William & Mary Law School.


Outstanding Advice for the Potential Law School Applicant

I want to draw your attention to some exceptionally insightful writing of Central Michigan University Professor Emeritus David Guenther. I recently came across his internet work "To Be Or Not To Be [A Lawyer], That Is The Question." In it, Professor Guenther offered his top ten reasons as to why someone should not want to become a lawyer, followed by his top ten reasons as to why someone should want to become a lawyer.

In my opinion, Professor Guenther generously shared from his life and professional experience valuable nuggets of information enormously useful to the potential law school applicant. If you are stuck in trying to craft a personal statement for your target law school, see if Professor Guenther's ideas stimulate your thinking. Notice his balanced use of life learning, humor, advice sensitively proffered, and tight, effective writing. He models what the serious law school applicant should strive for in his or her written work for a law school admissions committee.

Thank you, Professor Guenther.

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