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How Many Law Schools Should I Apply to?

December 6, 2023
4 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 12/6/23

Part of your journey to becoming an attorney is choosing the perfect list of law schools to apply to. To learn more about how many law schools you should apply to, read on.

While you may already have your dream law school picked out, it’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket, especially if that one basket is a law school like Harvard, which is extremely competitive to get into. 

This guide will address all of these questions to reveal the perfect number of law schools you should apply to!

How Many Law Schools Should You Apply to?

The best strategy is to apply to three target schools, at least three reach schools, and three safety schools.

confused student applying to law school

Reach Schools

These law schools will be the most competitive on your list and have the highest admission requirements. 

You should apply to at least three reach schools. These schools are extraordinarily difficult to get into, so by applying to several, you increase your chances of gaining acceptance into one. 

Target Schools

Your target schools will be those that you have a higher chance of getting into based on your standardized test scores and GPA. Target schools will have median LSAT scores similar to yours, meaning you have a fair chance of getting into these schools. 

You should apply to three of these schools as well to maximize your chances of admission.

Safety Schools

Finally, you should apply to around three safety schools. Safety schools are lower-ranking schools that have low score requirements. The purpose of applying to these schools is to have options to fall back on if you don’t get into your reach or target schools.

Safety schools should be those that you are almost guaranteed to be accepted into because your scores are significantly higher than their medians. 

There is no need to apply to more than three safety schools because you are most likely going to get accepted into most, if not all, of them.

How Many Law School Applications Are Too Many?

While we’ve suggested you should apply to around nine law schools to give yourself the best chance of gaining admission into at least one, you may choose to apply to less or more, depending on your circumstances and application timelines.

For instance, if you have a very high LSAT score, you may choose to apply to fewer schools because you’ll have a higher chance of gaining admission to all of them. 

On the other hand, if you have an LSAT score that is too low to be considered competitive at mid to high-ranking schools, you may want to only apply to two reach schools and four safety schools. 

Generally, 15 schools is the maximum number of schools you should apply to. If you apply to different types of schools, as we have suggested here, you’ll have good odds of getting into at least one of these 15. 

The key isn’t applying to as many law schools as you can, it’s applying to several good law schools that you have a realistic chance of gaining admission to! Keep in mind your scores and the application requirements of the schools you’re interested in to create the best list of schools to apply to. 

young female student thinking hard

Considerations When Creating a List of Potential Law Schools

When putting together a list of potential law schools, here are some things to think about:

  • Location: Where do you want to study and possibly practice law? Consider if it's close to home or in an area you like.
  • Reputation and Rankings: Check out how each law school is regarded and where it ranks. Rankings can tell you about a school's prestige and program quality.
  • Specializations: See if the law schools on your list offer specialized programs that match your interests and career goals.
  • Costs and Financial Aid: Think about tuition and whether they offer scholarships or financial aid to make it more affordable.
  • Bar Passage Rates: Find out how well their students do on the bar exam, as this affects your chances of becoming a licensed attorney.
  • Alumni Network: A strong alumni network can be a big help in your future legal career.
  • Faculty and Resources: Look into the qualifications of the faculty and what resources like libraries, clinics, and internships they offer.
  • Class Size and Student-to-Faculty Ratio: Smaller classes and lower student-to-faculty ratios can mean more personal attention from professors.
  • Career Services: Check out what kind of support the law school provides for internships, job placement, and networking.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Consider how committed the school is to diversity and inclusion, which can impact your overall experience.
  • Bar Exam Prep: Find out if they offer bar review courses and support to help you get ready for the bar exam.
  • Campus Culture: Visit or research the campus culture to see if it matches your values and what you're looking for.

Considering these factors can help you put together a list of potential law schools that align with your academic and career goals.

Common Mistakes

Let's discuss some common mistakes that individuals often make when applying to or attending law school:

  • Not Researching Schools Thoroughly: One of the biggest mistakes is not thoroughly researching law schools. Applicants should consider factors like location, specialization, reputation, cost, and bar passage rates to find the best fit.
  • Ignoring Costs: Law school can be expensive, and many students take on significant debt. Ignoring the cost aspect and not exploring scholarship opportunities or considering financial aid options can lead to financial struggles post-graduation.
  • Procrastinating on Applications: Waiting until the last minute to complete applications can result in rushed essays and missed deadlines, which can adversely affect your chances of acceptance.
  • Overestimating Entrance Exam Performance: Overconfidence in LSAT or GRE scores can lead to disappointment. It's crucial to have a realistic assessment of your test-taking abilities and consider retaking the exams if necessary.
  • Underestimating Soft Skills: Law schools not only look at academic achievements but also your soft skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. Underestimating the importance of these qualities can be a mistake.
  • Neglecting Recommendations: Writing strong recommendation letters takes time and effort. Neglecting this step or not choosing recommenders who know you well can weaken your application.
  • Focusing Solely on Rankings: Relying solely on law school rankings can be misleading. A lower-ranked school may be a better fit for your goals and provide a quality education.
  • Not Considering Career Goals: Not having a clear understanding of your career goals can lead to choosing the wrong law school or taking courses that don't align with your objectives.
  • Ignoring Mental Health: Law school can be mentally taxing. Neglecting self-care and mental health can result in burnout and decreased academic performance.
  • Not Networking: Building professional relationships and networking is crucial in the legal field. Failing to network with professors, peers, and legal professionals can limit your post-law school opportunities.
  • Skipping Internships and Clerkships: Practical experience is invaluable in the legal profession. Skipping internships or clerkships during law school can limit your exposure to real-world legal practice.
  • Not Seeking Academic Support: Law school is academically demanding. Not seeking help when needed, such as tutoring or academic advising, can lead to academic struggles.
  • Lack of Work-Life Balance: Balancing academics, internships, and personal life is challenging but essential. Neglecting this balance can lead to stress and burnout.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help prospective law students make informed decisions and have a successful law school experience.

FAQs: How Many Law Schools Should I Apply to?

If you have any more questions about applying to law school, read on to find your answers.

1. Should I Apply to Multiple Law Schools?

Yes, you should. Even if you have your heart set on one law school and are unwilling to go to any other, you should still apply to others if you’re ready to start your JD. If you don’t gain admission into your top choice, you will still have other options to fall back on and can always try to transfer into your top choice after your first year!

2. How Many Safety Law Schools Should I Apply to?

You should apply to at least two safety law schools, but can apply to more depending on your application. If you have a low LSAT score or a low GPA you may want to apply to more.

3. What Should I Consider When Applying to Law Schools?

When deciding which law schools to apply to, you should first consider where you want to study or work. If you know you won’t relocate, there is no point applying to schools outside of your state, even if they’re easier to get into. 

After location, the most important factor to consider is how competitive your application is. If you have a strong application, consider applying to more high-ranking reach and target law schools than safety schools. If you have a weaker application, consider doing the opposite.

Luckily, you don’t have to make these big decisions yourself! You can work with an admissions expert for comprehensive support in choosing the right schools and increasing your chances of acceptance at your target schools!

You can also begin with our quiz and select the relevant score, location, and campus environment to find out which schools to apply to!

4. Should I Apply to T14 Law Schools?

Even if you don’t have the exact scores recommended to apply to T14 schools, it’s worth applying if you’re willing to put extra time and effort into your application to avoid common mistakes that can cost you your spot! 

You’ll have to work even harder on the other parts of your application, such as your personal statement, resume, or optional essays, to make up for these lower scores.

5. Should I Apply to 20 Law Schools?

No, applying to 10-15 law schools is typically more than enough to guarantee admission to at least one school.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how many law schools to apply to can make the application process less daunting! By applying to several reach, target, and safety schools, you’ll give yourself the best chances of gaining admission into law school and can officially start your legal journey!

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