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How to Get Into Stanford Law School

February 14, 2023


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 01/02/23

This ultimate guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to get into Stanford Law School, admissions requirements, writing the Stanford Law essays, and more. 

Ranked as the nation’s second-best law school by U.S. News World and Report, Stanford Law is one of the most sought-after institutions for future lawyers. We’ll outline how to get into Stanford Law, the school’s requirements, how to write the Stanford Law essays, and how to maximize your chances of acceptance.

Programs Offered 

Alongside the traditional JD program, Stanford offers numerous law degrees pathways at the graduate and doctorate levels

  • The Masters of Law (LLM) Program 
  • The Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS)
  • The Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
  • Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD)

Joint degrees, including JD/Master’s, JD/MD, and JD/PhD in 21 subject areas

Stanford Law School Requirements 

You can apply to Stanford Law using the LSAC application. The Stanford Law School requirements are as follows: 

Stanford Law School Requirements

1. Application Fee: An $85 application fee or a Stanford Law School (SLS) fee waiver. 

2. Resume: A one or two-page resume detailing your academic, extracurricular, and professional experiences. 

3. Personal Statement: A personal statement (approximately two pages) sharing important or unusual information not stated in your LSAC application. 

4. Optional Diversity Statement: Although admission is primarily based on your academic achievement, Stanford Law accepts a diversity essay if you want the admissions committee to learn more about how you'd contribute to the class through your: 

  • Background 
  • Life/work experiences 
  • Advanced studies 
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Culture  
  • Socio-economic status 
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Other factors

5. Optional Short Essays: If you wish, you can choose two essay prompts from a list of four: each response may be 100 to 250 words. 

6. Two Recommendation Letters: You must send at least two letters and no more than four recommendations with your application. Stanford Law prefers academic recommendations, or you can substitute them with professional recommendations if you've been out of school for a while.

Stanford highly appreciates school-specific recommendations: we suggest finding at least one recommendation meant directly for Stanford 

7. LSAT or GRE Scores: You must submit either LSAT or GRE scores. You must report your LSAT scores if you've taken the LSAT and GRE. 

8. Credit Assembly Service Report: You must register for the CAS via LSAC to have your transcripts sent to LSAC. 

Your application is considered complete once you've fulfilled all of these Stanford Law admissions requirements. 

What GPA Do You Need for Stanford Law School?

While there are no concrete Stanford Law School GPA requirements or cutoffs, a high GPA gives you a better chance at admission. The undergraduate GPA of first-year students at Stanford Law is: 

  • 25th Percentile: 3.81
  • 50th Percentile: 3.91
  • 75th Percentile: 3.99

Based on these three data points, we can estimate that the Stanford Law School average GPA is approximately 3.9 (although it may be slightly higher or lower depending on all student GPAs). 

If your sights are set on Stanford Law, your GPA should be as close to 3.9 or 4.0 as possible for your best shot at acceptance. 

Stanford Law LSAT

Most of Stanford Law’s incoming class submitted LSAT scores for consideration: 

  • 25th Percentile: 170
  • 50th Percentile: 172
  • 75th Percentile: 175

Based on these three data points, the Stanford average LSAT score would be approximately 172, but this number may be higher or lower since we don't have access to all student scores. 

Stanford Law GRE

Stanford Law’s class profile data shows no data points for students who submitted GRE scores. However, the ETS has an online tool to predict LSAT scores based on GRE scores. Using this tool, scoring 166 on each GRE section predicts a score of 172 (Stanford’s median score) on the LSAT.

How to Write the Stanford Law School Essays (Prompts & Tips) 

The Stanford Law essays and personal statement are your application's most critical qualitative elements. Getting into Stanford Law School requires essays to show why you're an excellent candidate by demonstrating your motivations, passions, and providing the admissions committee the opportunity to learn more about you. 

Tips for writing Stanford Law School Essays

Stanford Law School Personal Statement 

Stanford’s personal statement prompt is: “Enclose a statement of about two pages sharing important or unusual information about yourself that is not otherwise apparent in your application.” 

Writing law school personal statements can be challenging, but these tips can help your writing be more concise, creative, and compelling. 

Brainstorm to Get Ideas 

Brainstorming is a great way to start gathering some creative ideas that can be used to tell your unique story. You might want to jot down answers to some big questions like: 

  • What was a defining moment in your life so far? 
  • When did you realize you wanted to become a lawyer? How did you explore your interests afterward? 
  • What are you most passionate about? 
  • What major obstacles have you had to overcome in your journey? How did you move past it? 
  • What is your greatest personal/professional accomplishment? 
  • Was there ever a time you changed your perspective based on a new situation or information? 
  • What’s something not discussed in your resume or the rest of your application that’s central to your story?

Your answers can help you pull out relevant events in your life before law school that can make a compelling application narrative. 

Answer the Main Questions 

While you may not explicitly answer these questions in your personal statement, your writing should show the Stanford Law admissions committee: 

  • What facilitated your interest in law/how did you cultivate your interest? 
  • What’s your motivation for applying to law school?
  • Why is now the right time for you to go to law school? 

Show, Don’t Tell (Experiences and Qualities) 

Think about the traits you believe a good lawyer should possess. Are they fair? Compassionate? Knowledgeable? Whatever qualities you choose, try to identify experiences where you emulate them. 

It's one thing to say you have a strong commitment to justice; it's another to show it. Remember, use your experiences to demonstrate qualities found in great lawyers! 

Quality Over Quantity, But Try to Have Some Chronology

There are many directions you can take a personal statement; there really is no "correct" way to write one. However, you should emphasize quality over quantity where you can: simply rehashing your resume with one experience after another doesn't make writing compelling. 

Quality experiences can include “life-changing and impressive personal experiences such as military service, outstanding extracurricular accomplishments, meaningful employment, significant leadership, and success coping with adversity.” 

At the same time, try to have some chronology to your story: some applicants like to focus mainly on the past (their background, identity, and what inspired them to go to law school) or the present (their current projects, work, educational pursuits). Stellar personal statements mix past, present, and/or future!

Relate Your Statement to Stanford Law 

Although some law schools, such as Yale Law School, say there’s no need to make your personal statement school-specific, there is no statement like that on Stanford’s website. 

Getting into Stanford Law School requires research: your penultimate or final paragraph can be a great place to show you Stanford will help you further your career and how you hope to contribute and explore if accepted. 

Stanford Law Optional Essays

Stanford Law tends to change its optional essay topics annually. The recent prompts are: 

  • You are given the chance to travel back in time. Think of your destination. Where, when, and why?
  • You're given the opportunity to teach a one-day class to your fellow students at Stanford Law School. Based on your particular skills and talents, what would you teach?
  • The library in the town where you grew up has been destroyed. Choose three books to contribute to rebuilding the library's collection.
  • Music has a way of setting tone and mood for any occasion. With this in mind, pick three songs or musical works to be playing in the background as the Admissions Committee reviews your materials.

You can choose up to two prompts to show the admissions committee more about you. These tips can help you select a topic and ensure your optional essays are well-received. 

Keep Your Writing Concise 

Stanford Law will notice if your essays are less than 100 words or more than 250. Keep your writing focused and edit for concision when you’re finished. To ensure your response is over 100 words, reflect on your answers: don’t just answer the prompt! 

Choose Which Topics Would Add to Your Application Narrative 

Consider your application narrative before approaching these topics. What is the overall theme of your application? Is it overcoming hardship? Or did your application focus mainly on your leadership and resilience? 

While you don't have to state a connection explicitly, consider which experiences and qualities you referenced in your personal statement and see if there is any way you can use these optional Stanford Law essays to build upon that common thread. 

Don’t Write What You Think the Admissions Committee Wants to Hear 

While these Stanford law essays may seem more light-hearted than your personal statement, don't construct your answers based on what you think admissions officers want to hear. Admissions committee members are individuals: it's difficult to predict what they want to see. 

The best writing is honest, professional, and meaningful to you. For example, don't write that you would add Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Great Gatsby to a library if you don't much care for classics. Remember, be honest but make the content meaningful!

Stanford Law Admissions Statistics 

A snapshot of the Stanford Law class profile can show the school's selectivity and diversity. Stanford Law released the following information about the ethnicities of incoming students:

Stanford law class statistics
Stanford Law class profile

Stanford Law School Acceptance Rate 

Stanford Law received 5,685 applications and offered admission to 357 applicants in a recent admissions cycle. The Stanford Law acceptance rate is 6.28%. 

How Hard Is It to Get Into Stanford Law School? 

The national law school average acceptance rate is 44%. Stanford Law’s acceptance rate is exceptionally low in comparison to this average. It’s hard to get into Stanford Law School, but try not to get too hung up on the acceptance rate. A polished application will always boost your chances!

Stanford Law Admissions Timeline & Application Process 

To apply to Stanford Law, you must apply through LSAC and register for the CAS. These are the important dates you should know, including the Stanford Law School application deadline.

Stanford Law application deadlines
Stanford Law Application Deadlines

How to Get Into Stanford Law School: FAQs 

These FAQs can provide more information about the school and how to get into Stanford Law School. 

1. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Stanford Law? 

While there is no exact Stanford Law GPA that you need to gain admission, you should shoot for an undergraduate GPA close to 3.9 - 4.0 for a stronger profile. 

2. How Do I Get Admission Into Stanford Law School? 

While there’s no surefire way to guarantee your acceptance, a high GPA, solid test scores, and a well-written personal statement can help you gain admission to Stanford Law. 

3. What LSAT Score Do I Need for Stanford Law?

While there are no exact LSAT score cutoffs, you should aim for an LSAT score between 172 - 180 to be a more competitive applicant. 

4. Does Stanford Law Accept the GRE? 

Yes, Stanford Law accepts GRE scores; however, you'll also need to submit your LSAT scores if you've taken the GRE and the LSAT. 

5. How Do I Improve My Chances of Acceptance to Stanford Law?

Beyond academic excellence, good writing skills, passion, and displaying your motivation for attending law school can help improve your chances. 

6. Does Stanford Law Have Rolling Admissions?

Yes, Stanford Law has rolling admissions. While the admissions committee reviews applications as they receive them, some applications are held until they can review all applicants. The second review occurs in April, although some students may be admitted as late as the summer before the cycle starts.

Getting Into Stanford Law is Within Your Reach

Even if Stanford Law is one of your “reach” schools, admission is within your grasp. While admission is competitive, there are ways to ensure your application reaches the top of the pile. 

Remember to spend extra time on your personal statement, complete the Stanford law essays, and ensure your application is polished to perfection. Good luck with your Stanford Law application!

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