Review Process and Timeline

Applications for admission as a first-year J.D. student become available on September 1 each year. The deadline to apply is February 1 of the following year.

Application Review Process

You are encouraged to complete your application file as early as possible and are responsible for making sure that your application reaches the admissions office by the deadline.  We do not accept late applications. 

 

Notification of Application Status

We will take no action until your application is complete.  Applications are considered complete when we have received and processed the following:  Your application, the application fee (or fee waiver), a transcript analysis from LSAC (as part of your CAS report), an LSAT score (the most recent one reported on your application), and a personal statement.  Completion of your file may require additonal action on your part, such as payment to LSAC for sending CAS reports.  Once you apply, it is your responsibility to ensure that all materials are received in a timely manner and that your application is complete. 

Once your file is complete, you will receive an email confirming that your application is under review and instructions on how to access an online status checker to monitor your application progress and status.  The status checker also will be used to reflect your admission decision.

Due to the large number of applications we receive, some time may elapse between your submission of an application, receipt of notification that it is under review, and a final decision.  Until you receive notice that your file is under review, you should assume that it is incomplete and that no action is being taken.

If you have questions please email us at admissions@law.berkeley.edu rather than calling the office.  Inquiries other than those prompted by a special concern only delay the processing of applications.

Contacting Applicants

Our concern for confidentiality precludes discussion of individual files with anyone other than the applicant.  If you expect to be unavailable at any point during the review process, please appoint someone to act on your behalf and inform the Admissions Office via email of the appointee's name and contact information.

Factors in Admission Decisions

Files are reviewed as they become complete.  For information about the criteria used for reviewing applications, you may review our Faculty Policy Governing Admissions.  An overview of some of the main admission factors that we consider follows:

Letters of Recommendation

We suggest that you provide letters of recommendation from two academic sources who are familiar with your classroom performance and who are able to assess your potential for the study of law.  The letters may be from either professors or teaching assistants.  If you have been away from academia for some time, a letter from a work supervisor or colleague may be substituted.  We reserve the right to review your application without letters of recommendation if waiting longer for them will hurt your admission chances. 

If you apply as a transfer student, we require letters of recommendation from two law professors with whom you have studied. 

If you wish to waive your access to any of your recommendation letters, sign the waiver form before giving it to your recommender.  In evaluating your letters, no weight is given to whether or not you waive access to them.

Grade Point Average

In evaluating your undergraduate GPA, we will consider your overall academic record, including the age of the grades, exceptionally high grades, the difficulty of coursework, time commitments while attending college, grading patterns at the school attended, and grade trends or discrepancies.

Socioeconomic Questionnaire

If you have experienced disadvantages that adversely affected past performance, and if you have successfully overcome such disadvantages, then this information will be considered when assessing your potential to be successful in the classroom and to contribute to the educational process and the legal profession.  To this end, you are invited to complete the socioeconomic questionnaire included with the application.  Completion of the questionnaire is optional.  If the questionnaire is submitted, the information will be used to augment the other factors considered during the evaluation process.

Other Factors

In making admission decisions, substantial weight is given to the undergraduate GPA and LSAT score. Many other factors also are considered, but race, religion, sex, ethnicity, and national origin are not used as admission criteria.  No weight is given to your political or ideological views, how you intend to use your legal education, nor to your need for financial aid or employment during law school.

Evaluation

Administrative Review

Once an application file is complete, it is evaluated on the basis of the admissions criteria by the Dean of Admissions.  He admits a certain number of applicants who, under the governing criteria and on the basis of his experience, would have a high likelihood of admission if referred to the Admissions Committee.  Similarly, applicants who would have a high likelihood of being denied if referred to the Committee are denied by the Dean of Admissions.

Committee Review

The remaining applicants are given more extended consideration by the Admissions Committee which is composed of faculty and students.

The student role is consultative and the faculty members' decisions are final.  Only students who are members of the Admissions Committee are permitted to read files. You may indicate on the application form whether or not you consent to have your file read by a student member of the Committee.  In the evaluation of your application, no weight is given to whether or not you consent to student review.  In every case complete confidentiality of all materials is maintained.

As a result of the Committee's consideration, some applicants are admitted, some are placed on a waiting list, and the remaining applicants are denied.  The total number admitted is that which experience has indicated will fill the places available in the entering class.  If the number of admitted students who accept an offer of admission falls below the number necessary to fill the class, a waiting list is used to fill the remaining places.

Notification of Decision

Decision notifications are sent to applicants as decisions are made.  For the majority of applicants, this is usually by early April.  An admitted applicant has several weeks to respond to the offer, but in no case is an applicant required to respond before April 1.

Acceptance/Seat Deposit

Berkeley Law School does not require an acceptance deposit.  Instead, we rely on the good faith of those who are admitted to provide candid and honest responses about accepting the offer of admission.  The absence of a deposit may necessitate reconfirmation of an accepted applicant's declaration to enroll.

Reconsideration

Once an applicant has been denied admission the decision is final.  There is no reconsideration.  Exceptions are made only in unusual cases in which an error for which the applicant was not responsible, and which the applicant promptly brought to the law school's attention, may have affected the decision.  Because files are considered on a comparative basis, reconsideration would lay open the possibility of unfairly granting attention to individual applicants.  It is therefore avoided.

Deferment of Admission

Students are expected to enroll for the year for which they have been admitted.  However, deferment requests may be granted at the discretion of the Dean of Admissions.  Some reasons a deferment might be granted include admission to a concurrent degree program, serious illness in the family, award of a fellowship, or some other extraordinary opportunity.