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How to Get Into Stanford Law School - Acceptance Rates + Tips

November 2, 2023
7 min read
Contents

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Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 10/30/23

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. 

Source: Stanford Law School

The prestigious Stanford Law School is one of the most sought-after institutions for future lawyers. If Stanford is your dream school, we'll outline the requirements, how to write Stanford Law essays, and how to maximize your chances of acceptance. 

Stanford Law Acceptance Rate

The Stanford Law School acceptance rate is 6.88%. Stanford Law received 5,685 applications and offered admission to 357 applicants in a recent admissions cycle. 

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 Unavailable Unavailable 6.88%
2022 4,882 336 6.88%
2021 5,685 357 6.28%
2020 3,807 399 10.48%
2019 3,908 380 9.72%

Source: Stanford Law School

How Hard Is It to Get Into Stanford Law School? 

It’s very difficult to get into Stanford Law School. In comparison to the national average acceptance rate, which is 41%, Stanford Law’s acceptance rate is exceptionally low. 

However, try not to get too hung up on the acceptance rate. A polished application will always boost your chances! 

Stanford Law School Programs Offered 

Alongside the traditional JD program, Stanford offers numerous law degree pathways at the graduate and doctorate levels to help you advance in your career: 

Programs Offered Length of Program Key Information
Juris Doctor (JD) 3 years Traditional JD degree
Masters of Law (LLM) 1 year Four available specialties:
1) Corporate Governance & Practice
2) Environmental Law & Policy
3) Law, Science & Technology
4) International Economic Law, Business, & Policy
Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS) 1 year Interdisciplinary, socio-legal research-based program
Master of Legal Studies (MLS) 1 year Non-professional degree designed to introduce graduate students to foundational legal procedures
Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) 1 year in addition to time spent in an LLM or SPILS program Degree designed for students wishing to become scholars and teachers of law

Stanford Law also offers joint degrees, including JD/Master’s, JD/MD, and JD/PhD in 21 subject areas. 

Stanford Law Ranking

Stanford Law School is currently ranked #1 in Best Law Schools in the nation by U.S. News, tied with Yale. It also ranks #5 in Above the Law’s top 50 list.

Other Stanford Law rankings include: 

  • #1 in Intellectual Property Law
  • #2 in Criminal Law
  • #3 in Constitutional Law and Contracts/Commercial Law
  • #4 in Business/Corporate Law
  • #5 in Health Care Law

Based on these rankings, it’s clear to see that Stanford is a top-notch law school! 

Two male students on college campus lawn looking at computer

Stanford Law School Admission Statistics

To increase your chances of getting into such a prestigious school, it can be helpful to look at the average GPA and LSAT scores of incoming students. Check out some Stanford Law admission stats below. 

Stanford Law School Average GPA: 3.9

Stanford Law School has an average GPA of about 3.9, according to the average GPA scores of first-year students in the 50th percentile. 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. 

Here is some more information regarding Stanford Law’s GPA scores: 

  • 25th Percentile: 3.84
  • 50th Percentile: 3.92
  • 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 you have a lower GPA, don’t lose heart. You may still stand a chance at getting in if you put together an incredible application. 

Stanford Law School Average LSAT Score: 173

The Stanford average LSAT score is approximately 173, based on the scores of the 50th percentile of incoming students. This means that to be a competitive applicant, you’ll need to study hard for the LSAT and achieve a similar or higher score.

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

  • 25th Percentile: 170
  • 50th Percentile: 173
  • 75th Percentile: 176

Stanford Law GRE

According to Stanford Law’s most recent ABA information report, the 50th percentile scores of admitted students for each GRE section are as follows: 

  • Verbal Reasoning: 167
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 165
  • Analytical Writing: 5

If you’d like to compare the GRE and the LSAT, the ETS has an online tool to predict LSAT scores based on GRE scores. Using this tool, scoring 167 on each GRE section predicts a score of 173 (Stanford’s median score) on the LSAT. 

Female student studying from textbook on picnic table

Stanford Law School Requirements 

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

  • $85 Application Fee
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Optional Diversity Statement
  • Optional Short Essays
  • Two Recommendation Letters: 
  • LSAT/GRE Scores
  • Credit Assembly Service Report (CAS)

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

Stanford Law School Letters of Recommendation

You’ll need to submit at least two and no more than four recommendation letters with your application. Stanford 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. This will show the admissions committee that you put extra effort into your application. 

female student on laptop

Stanford Law School Personal Statement

The Stanford Law personal statement is arguably your application's most critical qualitative element. The Stanford Law essay shows why you're an excellent candidate, demonstrates your motivations and passions, and provides an opportunity for admissions committees to learn more about you. 

Stanford’s personal statement prompt for the next application cycle is: 

“Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests, and character would help you make a distinctive contribution to Stanford Law School.” 

This may be a challenging prompt to answer because of its open-endedness. 

Take a look at the tips below to 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 obstacle 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? 
head and with lightbulb drawn on chalkboard

Show, Don’t Tell (Experiences, 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!

female student writing in notebook

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. 

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

Stanford Law Optional Essays

In addition to the personal statement, you have the chance to write an optional essay responding to the following prompt: 

“At Stanford Law School, we value the ability to communicate constructively across differences – even when the stakes are high or the differences significant. Please discuss a time when you encountered a viewpoint that contrasted with your own and explain how you responded. Would you do anything different if the same thing happened today?” 
male student sitting outside on college campus with pen and paper

For this essay, it’s important to be genuine in your answer. Reflect on your past experiences and think deeply about how they have shaped you. Be honest about things you may have done or said in the past and discuss how you’ve changed. Stanford wants to see that you are open to self-reflection and growth. 

A quality that every good lawyer should have is the ability to see other perspectives and put themselves in others’ shoes. This prompt provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate empathy, humility, self-awareness, and a willingness to learn. 

Optional Short Essays

You’ll also have the option to write some additional short essays. If you want to maximize your chances of getting into Stanford Law, you should take advantage of this opportunity! It will help the admissions committee know more about your personality and interests. 

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

1. You are given the chance to travel back in time. Think of your destination. Where, when, and why?
2. 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?
3. The library in the town where you grew up has been destroyed. Choose three books to contribute to rebuilding the library's collection.
4. Music has a way of setting the 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.

If you’re having trouble approaching these short essays, here are some tips to help you out: 

  • Keep Your Writing Concise: Less is more! Your answers should only be between 100-250 words, so choose the most important information to share. 
  • Choose Topics Wisely: The topics you choose to answer should connect to your application narrative in some way. Consider the overall theme of your application!
  • Be Genuine: Don’t just write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. The best writing is honest, professional, and meaningful to you. 
female student studying on picnic table

Stanford Law School Tuition and Scholarships

The total tuition cost for a year at Stanford Law School comes to $71,610. However, including personal expenses, fees, and other costs, law students at Stanford can expect to pay about $114,417 per year. 

For more information about Stanford Law School’s tuition and fees, take a look at this cost breakdown: 

Single On-Campus Students Single Off-Campus Students
Tuition $71,610 $71,610
Housing $20,081 $19,785
Food $7,080 $7,080
Personal Expenses $8,430 $8,430
Books and Supplies $1,530 $1,530
Student Services Fee $1,350 $1,350
Health Services Fee $753 $753
Local Transportation $1,800 $3,879
Total $112,634 $114,417

Source: Stanford Law School

Stanford also offers medical insurance who students who require it, although it is waivable. If you would like to use the insurance, the annual cost comes to $7,128. 

Scholarships 

If you’re concerned about being able to afford the cost of Stanford Law, then you can take advantage of Stanford’s financial aid options. You can apply for several programs, including: 

  • Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Graduate Family Grant Program
  • Flywheel Fund for Career Choice
  • LRAP
  • Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

You also have the option to get a job on Stanford’s campus to help pay for your schooling. 

Stanford Law School Application Deadlines 

The final application deadline for Stanford Law School is February 15, 2024. You’ll need to make sure all your application materials are in order well before that date. Be sure that you apply through LSAC and register for the CAS. 

These are the important dates you should know regarding Stanford Law School’s application deadlines

Dates & Deadlines Application Stage
September 15 The Stanford Law application becomes available
December 1 The application deadline (with test scores) for Stanford Law if applying for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program
January Last month to take the LSAT/GRE
February 15 Application deadline for all Stanford Law School applicants

Source: Stanford Law

Stanford Law Bar Passage Rate: 94.41%

Stanford Law School’s first-time bar passage rate is 94.41%. This is exceptionally high and speaks to why Stanford is ranked as the best law school in the U.S.! 

How to Get Into Stanford Law School: Tips to Improve Your Chances

person giving thumbs up

If you’re overwhelmed by all the work it’s going to take to apply, don’t worry. Here are some tips to increase your chances of admission to Stanford Law School.

  • Put Effort Into Your Essays: Stanford values your application essays because it’s a chance for them to get to know you beyond your application materials. The Stanford Law blog urges students to tell a story, not just a “statement.” Think carefully about what to share and how to say it. 
  • Study Hard: You’ll need high LSAT scores and an impressive GPA to have a good chance of admission. Make sure you study hard and create good habits! 
  • Build Strong Connections: Recommendation letters are a valuable addition to your application if they come from a good source. Build strong relationships with professors and legal mentors to ensure high-quality recommendations. 

Make sure to follow these tips to get into Stanford Law School, and you’ll find the application process more manageable! 

What Does Stanford Law School Look For? 

In Stanford Law School’s own words, they are a school that is “characterized by excellence.” This means that they value academic achievement and a passion for learning very highly. 

However, Stanford does use a holistic admissions process, meaning that they’ll take all aspects of your application into account. Don’t forget

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 GPA that you need to gain admission to Stanford Law, 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 173-180 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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