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Law School for International Students: Your Guide

October 23, 2023
7 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 10/23/23

Are you going to law school as an international student? We’ll break down everything you need to know below. 

Small globe above hand with mountains in background

Gaining admission into a US law school can be challenging. Recent American Bar Association (ABA) data shows that approximately 117,305 students apply to law school each year. However, despite the competitive nature of the process, embarking on this journey is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. 

To facilitate your pursuit of legal education in the United States, we've put together this article to serve as your comprehensive guide, addressing all the questions you may have about the application process for law schools in the USA.

Law schools always set application deadlines, which vary from institution to institution. Therefore, applicants should submit all requirements on time before the deadline. 

Steps to Take and Tips for Foreign Students Applying to Law School in the US

Applying to a foreign school can be exciting and requires proper planning and research. Application to a US law school can be challenging. But worry less. We have some tips for you that will help you ease your journey. Below are some tips and steps to take wDo Law Schools Accept International Students?

Are international students allowed to study law in the USA? The answer is yes! The United States has become one of the top choices for those seeking legal education abroad.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why American law schools accept international students:

Promoting Cross-Cultural Learning Experience

US law schools encourage and promote cross-cultural learning by accepting international students. Schools encourage cultural diversity within their student body as it enriches their learning environment and promotes unity. 

Additionally, these schools encourage international students to bring diverse perspectives and experiences from their home country to build robust discussions about worldwide legal issues.

Promoting Unity and Building a Global Network

International students play a major role in fostering relationships between people of diverse backgrounds. This improves students’ overall learning experience and benefits their academic and professional experiences. 

Attracting Talented Individuals

Every organization wants bright minds, and US law schools are no exception. They attract top talent when they accept international students with different academic and professional backgrounds. Consequently, these students enhance the reputation of the school they are admitted to.

Promoting Global Legal Knowledge

Some international students return to their home country after law school to contribute their quota to the legal system. They use their acquired skills and experiences to build their legal system, bridging knowledge gaps between nations.

Conclusively, US law schools accept international students from different countries worldwide. They recognize international students' benefit to their institution and how diversity can enhance cross-cultural learning and build global networks.

Applying to Law School as an International Student

Going to law school as an international student can be challenging but a worthwhile experience. Some benefits of pursuing law school include:

  • Acquiring knowledge and skills in a different legal system
  • Fostering communication skills among people of diverse cultures
  • Promote international network
  • Promote access to international career opportunities.

These pros make most international students seek to study law in the United States: 

Law School Requirements for International Students

The law school requirements for students who want to study in the US can vary depending on the school you’re applying to. 

Some specific requirements will be needed, especially visa status and credentials. Hence, applicants should be familiar with these requirements to ensure a smooth and successful application process. Below are some of the standard requirements:

Previous Academic Qualification

Oftentimes, law schools require applicants to have completed a degree from an accredited institution in their home country. 

This degree will enable them to check the equivalence in the US system because educational systems are peculiar to each country. The major organizations that evaluate these applicants' academic qualifications include the World Education Services and the Educational Credential Evaluators.

Female student in Panama holding diploma while wearing cap and gown

Language Proficiency

The English language is the major language in US law schools. Hence, applicants are to demonstrate proficiency in the language through standardized tests. 

The standardized tests include the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants must have good scores on these tests to increase their chances of admission. 

Law School Admission Test

Apart from the English language proficiency tests, applicants applying to law school must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT assesses an applicant’s skills required to succeed in law school. 

Academic Transcripts and Letters of Recommendation

International applicants need to provide transcripts from their previous institutions. The applicant must add a certified English translation to the document if the transcripts aren't in English. 

US law schools also require international students to submit letters of recommendation from previous employers or professors from recognized institutions.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is an essential part of any law school application. This is your chance to highlight your personality, passions, experiences, and motivation for pursuing a law degree in the United States. 

Well-crafted personal statements can give the applicant an edge and significantly impact the chances of being admitted.

Here are some tips for crafting a standout personal statement:

  • Start Early and Plan the Structure: Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm and draft your personal statement. Having a well-organized structure will make your essay more compelling and easier to read. This preparation phase will allow you to better integrate various aspects of your story cohesively.
  • Be Authentic and Specific: Authenticity makes your statement resonate more effectively. Use specific examples and stories to showcase your unique qualities and experiences, avoiding clichés and generalized statements.
  • Highlight Strengths and Address Weaknesses: Use the essay to showcase the qualities that align with what the law school is looking for. If there are gaps or weaknesses in your application, address them tactfully, focusing on how you've grown or what you’ve learned from those experiences.
  • Edit, Proofread, and Seek Feedback: A well-polished essay is crucial. After drafting, engage in multiple rounds of editing and proofreading to eliminate errors. Secure feedback from trusted mentors or peers who are familiar with the application process for further refinement.
  • Tailor Content and Adhere to Guidelines: Customize your personal statement to align with each specific law school’s focus or ethos, if possible. Always stick to the word or character limits provided in the application guidelines, demonstrating your ability to express ideas concisely.

Financial Coverage

Applicants must show that they can fund their tuition fees without any problem. Law schools will require applicants to submit their bank statement or sponsor's name and a sponsorship letter.

coins in the shape of a world map

Visa and Migration

After being admitted, students will be required to get an appropriate student visa to study in the United States. The most common student visa is the F-1 visa. Students must contact the law school they are being admitted to to complete their visa application process.

Law School-Specific Requirements

Oftentimes, law schools have requirements that are specific to them. Hence, students must do thorough research on the school they have been admitted to ensure all the specific requirements are met.

Application Deadlines

hen applying to law school in the US. 

In-Depth Research About the School

Researching the prospective law school is the first thing an intending law student should do. The research should be in-depth to give the prospective student key details about the school. It is important to research the school's reputation, the courses it offers, and its admission requirements and processes. 


Language can be a huge barrier for some international students. Before applying for law school as an international student, ensure that any gaps in language are bridged. 

To ensure that language will not be a problem, many schools require intending students to take proficiency tests. Consequently, a successful application is hinged on a student’s resulting score.

Everyday English book

Academic and Professional Qualification

As an international law student, attaining exceptional grades during your undergraduate degree is essential. Also, it is important to start developing good study habits early on. Knowing your school's GPA and LSAT requirements can also help you set academic goals.

Prepare for Standardized Tests

Apart from the common tests like IELTS, applicants must also take standardized tests like the LSAT. It is important to thoroughly research the specific test requirements of the law school you are applying to and prepare for it. 

Check the exam’s website to know the date of the exam and the school website for score standards for your school of choice, exam outline, and other important requirements for the exam. 

Personal Statement and Letter of Recommendation

International students need letters of recommendation from professors and employers to attest to their academic abilities. Also, having a professional and compelling personal statement is a plus. It will help the applicant highlight their experiences and aspirations. A good personal statement should: 

  • Be genuine
  • Be specific to each law school
  • Highlight what makes you unique
  • Be concise and easy to understand

To secure an effective recommendation, selecting a recommender who can speak to your academic and professional qualifications in detail is important. Ideally, this person should understand your capabilities and accomplishments strongly. 

Tailor the focus of the recommendation to align with the specific requirements or expectations of the law school to which you are applying. Also, get in touch with potential recommenders as early as possible to avoid delay. 

Save Up

Studying abroad can be financially draining for international students. With application fees, cost of living, transportation, tuition, visas, textbooks, and more, it’s essential to start saving as soon as possible. 

In addition to saving, aspiring law school students can seek scholarships and other financial aid opportunities. These can include work-study programs or part-time employment options. Just remember to be cautious that you are operating within the rules and restrictions of your student visa. You can also look into assistantships or internships that may offer financial compensation and valuable experience in the legal field.

Prepare for a Change of Environment

One obvious change that comes with studying in a new country is the change in environment and cultural adjustment. Applicants need to prepare for these changes. 

Interestingly, many law schools plan orientation programs for international students to familiarize them with the country's culture and help them adapt to the new environment.

male student walking to class in snowstorm

Prepare Early

Preparing early gives you the luxury of time to gather all the required documents and do all the necessary research. The report says people who study and prepare early tend to get good scores on the standard tests and also have ample time to craft a compelling application.

Seek Financial Assistants

While applying for law school in the US, you can also seek financial assistance through scholarships, grants, and fellowships. This financial aid will help lessen your financial burden and help you save.

Show Commitment and Interest

While applying for admission, you can join law-related communities or volunteer for law-related activities. These activities will help keep your passion burning and also increase your experience.

Avoid Missing Deadlines

Ensure you monitor the application deadline for each school you are applying to. Missing a deadline has a severe negative effect on your admission processing.

Plan for Visa and Migration

After you have been accepted into the law school of your choice, you need to plan for a visa and how to migrate. Ensure you are closely familiar with the visa application processes to avoid rejection.

Visa regulations vary by country and are subject to change, so it's imperative to keep yourself updated with the most current information. Start by visiting the embassy or consulate website of your destination country, and don't hesitate to reach out to an expert for clarification on specific visa requirements or procedures.

Be Optimistic

It is not uncommon not to face rejections while applying for law school admission. However, do not be discouraged. Be persistent and continue to work towards achieving your goals.

female student crossing fingers and smiling

FAQs: Law School for International Students

Still have questions? Take a look at our answers to these FAQs:

1. Can an International Student go to Law School in the US?

Yes, international students can go to law school in the US. Many law schools in the US are willing to accept students from other countries and allow them to pursue legal education in their schools. 

2. Can I Go to Law School Internationally?

Yes, you can go to an international law school in another country. However, pursuing a legal education in another country requires more paperwork, documentation, and admissions steps from aspiring students.

3. Which Country Is Best for International Students to Study Law?

The best places for international students to study law are the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Remember that the best place to study law depends on your needs and goals!

4. Can International Students Take the LSAT?

All international students can and must take the LSAT if they attend law school in the US, Canada, or Australia. 

5. Can International Students Practice Law in the US After Attending Law School There?

Yes, international students who complete law school in the US and pass the bar can practice there. 

6. Are There Financial Aid Options Available to International Students?

Yes, however, keep in mind that the amount of financial aid available to international students depends on the law schools you choose to apply to

Going to Law School as an International Student

Embarking on the journey to law school as an international student is undoubtedly a challenging endeavor, but it's one that offers rich rewards both academically and personally.

The first step to a successful law school experience in the US or any other country starts with thorough research and planning. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of each school you're considering, including academic prerequisites, standardized tests, and application deadlines. 

Don't overlook opportunities for financial aid, scholarships, and grants tailored for international students, as these can substantially offset the high costs of tuition and living expenses.

While academics are a significant focus, your adjustment to a new culture and legal system is equally important. Take advantage of orientation programs designed for international students when available.

Your international background will also offer valuable networking opportunities, opening doors to unique career paths in international law, immigration law, or roles that involve liaisons between different legal systems. Law firms and organizations increasingly value the global perspective, and your experience can set you apart in a competitive job market.

In summary, attending law school as an international student is a venture filled with both hurdles and opportunities. By approaching it with careful planning, ample research, and an optimistic outlook, you not only set yourself up for academic success but also contribute meaningfully to the legal field through the diverse perspectives and experiences you bring.

Best of luck!

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