Applying for the J.D. Degree

 

The Application Process to Become a First-Year Student

The application process begins when you visit the Law School Admission Council website, where you must establish an account, register for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and submit an application, a personal statement, a resume, transcripts from all of your college or university-level schools, and 2-4 recommendation letters.

You must meet the following requirements to be considered for admission:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university before you begin law school. You may complete undergraduate coursework during the application process. It is not advisable to wait until after your fall grades are posted before you apply if you are a current senior. International students must hold the equivalent of an American bachelor’s degree.
  2. Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) with valid writing sample or be eligible to apply with a GRE or GMAT score.  The test must have been taken within the past five years. We will not accept March or June LSAT scores for admission consideration in the same year.
  3. Submit an application form and the $75 application fee. The form is available online via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).  It becomes available each year on September 1. The deadline for the regular decision application is February 15, 2020 and the deadline for the binding early decision application is November 17, 2019. We advise that you apply as early as possible, ideally in October or November. New students are admitted to enter in the fall term only. We do not offer a spring admission program.
  4. Submit transcripts from all of the college-level schools you attended, including graduate school if applicable, to LSAC.
  5. Supply 2 -4 recommendations to LSAC, ideally from academic sources.

Although you may submit documents to your LSAC account before you take the LSAT,  your application will not be evaluated until your LSAT score becomes available. An LSAT score will no longer be transmitted to an institution if a current writing sample is not on file. 

Substantial weight will be placed on your LSAT score and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) when we evaluate your academic potential to study law. The median LSAT and undergraduate GPA of recently admitted applicant pools hover around 168 and 3.8o, respectively.  However, because several factors are considered when we make admission decisions, higher or lower scores and grades neither ensure nor preclude admission. By definition the medians represent only the center point of the admitted pool distribution.

Application Checklist

  • An application form submitted online via the LSAC website
  • Supplemental socio-economic questionnaire (part of the application – optional but recommended)
  • $75 non-refundable application fee. The fee cannot be used for processing applications to other law schools within the University of California System.
  • 2-4 letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement (ideally four, double-spaced pages)
  • A resume (no page limit)
  • Optional diversity and “why Berkeley” essays (ideally one page each)
  • An LSAT score taken within the last five years and no later than the January test (including a current writing sample)
  • A Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report (i.e., your transcript summary) from LSAC

See Preparing to Apply for more information about how to prepare and submit your application.

Application Fee Waivers

We do not offer merit-based waivers.

A need-based fee waiver program is administered by Law Services (LSAC). Information about their fee waiver program and how to apply for one is available here. If you obtain an LSAC fee waiver, our application fee will be waived automatically when you apply. 

In addition, Berkeley Law offers a separate fee waiver program for applicants who participated in a program that is included in one of the three broad categories listed below. If you believe you qualify, submit a Berkeley Law Fee Waiver Request Form and be sure to attach proof of your participation:  

  • Honors/Research (e.g., Fulbright, Truman, Rhodes, Marshall)
  • Public Service (e.g., Teach for America, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, current military or veteran)
  • Educational/Socio-Economic Disadvantage (e.g., CYDL participant, Gates Scholar, Pell Grant recipient)

Details and a list of qualifying programs are found on the form, which becomes available each year on September 1.  If your request does not fall under the categories above, please see the form for further instructions.

The deadline to submit either fee waiver application is 5pm PDT on January 1.  Applicants who do not receive a waiver or who miss the deadline must pay the fee.

Reapplying to the School

In order to reapply, you must submit a new application, renew your CAS account, and resubmit transcripts and recommendations if your account has expired. Contact LSAC to determine your status and then use their system to reapply online.

A decision from a previous year has no bearing on a subsequent application. However, we do not recommend that you submit the identical application again. This may require that you revise your personal statement, obtain additional work or other experiences, pursue a graduate degree in the interim period, and/or retake the LSAT. We will use the highest of multiple LSAT scores. If you took the LSAT more than five years ago, then you must take the test again.