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).  The test must have been taken within the past five years. We will not accept February nor June 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 to apply is the following February 1. 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.

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)
  • An LSAT score taken within the last five years and no later than the December test
  • A Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report (i.e., your transcript summary) from LSAC

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

Application Fee Waivers

We offer a need-based application fee waiver program that is administered by the LSAC. We will waive your application fee automatically if you are approved for an LSAC fee waiver. Visit their website for information about obtaining one. 

Application fee waivers also are available to applicants who are active participants in or graduates of a public service program (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America), current members and veterans of the military, and graduates of a PPIA program. 

You must submit a Fee Waiver Request Form, which may be found online after September 1 here. The deadline to submit a fee waiver application is January 1.