On this page, you will find information regarding how the current COVID-19 pandemic may affect applying to law school. First and foremost, we at the Preprofessional Advising Center remain ready and able to aid your pursuit of a legal education. Although we are operating remotely we are happy to schedule individual appointments via Zoom, phone, or other means. If you have additional questions or need clarification please email email@example.com. As events are changing rapidly we aim to continuously update this page with new information. Accordingly, we also encourage you to review the Law School Admissions Council website for updates on the LSAT administration.
LSAT Changes: Introduction to the LSAT Flex
The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) has begun offering an online and remotely proctored version of the LSAT called the LSAT-Flex. The LSAT-Flex test dates do not follow the original in person LSAT test dates. As such, please check the LSAT-Flex test dates frequently and plan accordingly.
The LSAT-Flex test has three sections instead of the previous five sections. The LSAC has removed the experimental section and one of the logical reasoning sections. Still, the scoring scale remains the same (i.e. you will receive a score on the standard 120-180 LSAT range, as well as a percentile ranking).
The LSAT-Flex is accessible with a laptop or desktop computer with either a Windows or Mac operating system (but excludes taking the test on a tablet). The LSAT-Flex is proctored through a software called ProctorU. We encourage test takers to review the requirements for your computer on LSAC’s website and reach out to LSAC if you have any questions or concerns.
Law School Application Review Remains Holistic
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding circumstances will play a role in the admissions process and consideration of your application in the coming year. However, Law school admissions professionals are people living through these uncertain and challenging times as well. In short, while your GPA and LSAT weigh heavily in consideration of your application, admissions committees always consider each part of your application in their holistic review. Please note that there is a high volume of law school applications this year, so there might be a delay in the review of your application. Expect to hear back from schools in late winter or early spring.
Pass/Fail Grades on Your Undergraduate Transcript During the Pandemic
According to the LSAC, “law schools are fully aware of and understand that many undergraduate schools are going to [implement] some version of a pass/fail grading system for Spring 2020. In fact, many law schools are making the same decision for their current students. Law schools will be understanding of the situation and will not penalize any applicant for having Pass/Fail grades. LSAC will place a letter in the [Credential Assembly Service] CAS report of every applicant enrolled during Spring 2020, to remind law schools going forward that the semester was one in which many schools changed their grading system in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Specifically, pass/fail grades for the Spring 2020 semester are a handful of grades in the overall picture of your transcript. Law school admissions professionals will continue to review your transcript holistically to determine your academic readiness. In some instances, it might be appropriate to provide a short addendum explaining the pass/fails for the Spring 2020 semester. If you are unsure we encourage you to consult with one of our prelaw advisors.
Law School Deposit Deadlines
If you’ve been admitted to one or more law schools and are deciding which offer to accept you may face a difficult situation regarding the seat deposit deadlines. The earliest deadlines are typically in April. Currently, law schools do not appear to be extending their deadlines for seat deposits. However, admissions officials are always open to considering extensions on a case-by-case basis. If there are specific reasons your decision has been impacted by the crisis (apart from inability to visit schools—see below) feel free to contact the schools to ask about their flexibility.
Choosing the Right Law School When You Cannot Visit in Person
While in person law school visits are not currently feasible there are a few options to help you get a “feel” for the school.
- Virtual Tours and Video Chats: Spring tends to be the season for Admitted Students Weekends. Still, most ASWs have been canceled. Law schools are adjusting by providing virtual content to help students learn more about the school. This may include virtual tours, video panels, and other remote experiences.
- Connecting with Current Students or Graduates: You should ask admissions offices to put you in contact with current students (especially those with matching interests or backgrounds). In addition, NYU alums who are either current students or recent graduates of particular law schools are available through search functions on LinkedIn.
However, do not expect law schools to extend their seat deposit deadlines if you haven’t had a chance to visit. An extension is unlikely to help without a clear resolution to the pandemic.
Summer Internships During the Pandemic
Law-related internships will not make or break your application. In fact, admissions committees are not too concerned with completing a specific internship or job. Instead, admissions committees are interested in learning about your total experiences and what you’ve received from them. As a course of action you should continue to pursue available opportunities that are meaningful to you. This could include finding an ad hoc job to replace some of your lost income, joining a political campaign, volunteering to help folks more seriously impacted by the epidemic, or caring for family members. Whatever the experience, it will add to the overall portrait you will be able to present in your application.
Still, law-related internships and job opportunities are important for helping you decide whether a legal career is right for you. If a summer internship was going to be the thing that helped you decide whether to apply in the fall semester you might want to consider delaying your application. There are no downsides working indefinitely between college and law school. For those of you who are ambivalent whether this is the right path a post-grad law-related job could help you decide.
Deferments are always at the discretion of the individual school. Even so, law school admissions professionals have expressed a willingness to accommodate students who have been greatly affected by this crisis. If you are interested in deferment, we encourage you to reach out to the law school ASAP.
Affording Law School During the Pandemic
As always, it’s important to think about the financial implications of a law school education. Law schools are aware that this crisis has heightened financial concerns for many students and exacerbated existing inequalities within many minority and low income communities. We encourage students who are concerned about the financial burden of law school to consult with AccessLex’s Center for Education and Financial Capability.