Ready to Apply

Ready to apply to our J.D. program? Navigate through these links to learn about the application requirements, individual components, and more. 

  

   

Application Checklist

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.

The following materials are required for an application to Berkeley Law:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. 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. An LSAT score taken within the last five years and no later than the January test (including a current writing sample), unless you are eligible to apply with a GRE or GMAT score

  3. A Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report (i.e., your transcript summary) from LSAC

  4. Written components of the application, including a personal statement (ideally four, double-spaced pages), a resume (no page limit), and optional or required addenda

  5. 2-4 letters of recommendation

  6. A completed online application form. The form is available online via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).  It becomes available each year on September 1. 

  7. $75 non-refundable application fee. The fee cannot be used for processing applications to other law schools within the University of California System.

Continue reading to learn about each component in depth.

Back to top

   

Timeline for Applying

Application timeline, image description below
Image Description of Timeline for Applying

Consult this timeline as you prepare your application. Although the application deadline is not until February, consider applying early as we have a rolling admissions process. 

This timeline does not include steps you may wish to take in the months leading up to the opening of the application. We highly recommend taking time to prepare for the LSAT, write several drafts of your personal statement, ask your letters of recommendation, and gather all of your required transcripts.

Back to top

   

A green header with a white arrow that says, "Early Decision Program"

If you have researched your law school options thoroughly and have determined that Berkeley Law is your first choice law school, then you may wish to apply through the binding early decision (BED) application. Click on the graphic below to read about the requirements, benefits, and important dates for the BED application:

BED graphic, image description belowImage Description of Early Decision Program

Back to top

   

Academic Record

Academic Record: The CAS Report

image of a folder with items in itLSAC operates a service that collects and analyzes data for admission to all ABA-approved law schools, known as the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). You must send transcripts to CAS from all of the schools you attended after high school, including community colleges and graduate programs.

CAS will analyze your undergraduate transcripts (even if you earned your degree in another country), calculate a cumulative undergraduate GPA, and send an academic summary and copies of your transcripts to us as part of their service.

While graduate transcripts are required and included with CAS reports, graduate school grades are not included in the GPA calculation.

What are we looking for in your academic record?

We want to know that you have the ability to succeed academically in law school. When we review your CAS report, we look at your cumulative GPA, but that’s only one factor. We also consider your overall undergraduate academic record. This will include 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. Graduate work will be considered a “plus factor.” We do not have a GPA cut-off, so all are welcome to apply.

 

Back to top

   

Standardized Tests

Applicants to the J.D. program are required to take a standardized test for admission. We accept the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For a limited group of applicants, mainly those applying for a dual degree, we may accept the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Please review our GMAT Policy for eligibility criteria. 

image of someone readingTest Preparation

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are standardized tests offered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is required for admission to the law school. When evaluating your score, we will consider whether similar tests have under-predicted your academic performance in the past. For example, if you can document that you have earned exceptionally high undergraduate grades but performed poorly on the SAT, then this may be taken into account in evaluating your potential to succeed in law school.

 

image of a person at a desk

Create a Timeline

Register early to secure your preferred test date and location and plan your preparation schedule accordingly.  We recommend that you plan to take the test no later than November of the year before you intend to begin law school. Neither March nor June test scores are accepted for admission consideration in the same year.

The LSAC and ETS keep and report LSAT and GRE scores for five years. We accept all past scores reported to us by the LSAC or ETS, up to and including those from the January test. 

image of a diplomaMultiple Test Scores

We advise preparing well so that you perform your best on test day and that you take a standardized test only once. However, if something unexpected occurs that negatively affects your performance, or if you believe you can improve your performance, then you may wish to consider taking the test again.

If you have taken the LSAT or the GRE multiple times, you must report all valid scores (typically those taken within the last five years are considered valid and reportable). We will use the highest score in our evaluation, and we will not penalize you for canceling scores in accordance with LSAC policy. 

Back to top

   

Personal Statement & Resume

Personal Statement

A personal statement is required of all applicants. The statement can be up to four double-spaced pages. There is no required topic for the statement. It is your opportunity to describe the subjective qualities that you will bring to the study of law at Berkeley. Because we do not interview applicants, the personal statement is your only opportunity to introduce yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity to describe your life journey, and what brings you to our door.  

Navigate through the following slides for some tips on writing a personal statement (note that there is no audio):

Resume

In addition to a personal statement we require that you include a resume. The resume may be of any length and should provide chronological information about your work experiences, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, volunteer experience, travels, and accomplishments.

Here are some suggestions for creating a law school resume:

  • The resume is distinct from a C.V.; however, you are welcome to include information about research or any publications in your resume
  • You should not assume that the Admissions Committee knows what a particular organization does or what an acronym means, rather, you should explain these briefly or write out the full name
  • Do not include anything pre-college
  • It is helpful to include the hours and dates you worked or volunteered, as well as your responsibilities – bullet points are perfect!

Back to top

   

Addenda

Addenda are additional, short statements that go into more detail about sections of an application or supplement the application. Some addenda are required, but many are optional. You may choose to attach a response to one or more of the following questions as addenda if you feel the information would be helpful to us when considering your application. Addenda are attached with the application on LSAC.org, or you can email them to us if you have already submitted your application. 

Back to top

   

Letters of Recommendation

We recommend submitting 2 academic letters of recommendation and one from a non-academic source (work experience, volunteer, etc.). Applicants who have been out of school for a number  of years (usually 5+ years) may substitute professional letters of recommendation for academic letters. You may submit a maximum of 4 letters of recommendation total. Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service. Check out this quick video for everything you need to know about letters of recommendation:

Back to top

   

Application Fee Waivers

We do not offer merit-based waivers.

A need-based fee waiver program is administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). 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. If your request does not fall under the categories above, please see the form for further instructions.

Additional Resources

LSAC Need-Based Fee Waiver Application

Berkeley Law Fee Waiver Request Form (Opens September 1)

The deadline to submit either fee waiver application is 5pm PDT on January 1, 2023.  Applicants who do not receive a waiver or who miss the deadline must pay the fee.

Back to top

   

Concurrent & Combined Degree Programs

Students who wish to examine the law in an interdisciplinary context may arrange to pursue a J.D. degree at Berkeley Law School and a master’s degree in certain other schools or departments within or outside of U.C. Berkeley. Dual degree seekers must apply separately and be admitted to each program. The application and review process are the same for dual degree seekers. For more information and FAQs, see our Concurrent and Combined Degrees Programs page

Back to top

   

Review Process

We will take no action until your application is complete. Once your file is complete, you will receive an email to confirm that your application is under review and instructions on how to access an online status checker to monitor your application’s progress and disposition.

Due to the large number of applications we receive, some time may elapse between your submitting 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.

The review process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months, but most applicants receive an admissions decision within 6-8 weeks. Some applicants are admitted, some are placed on a waiting list, and the remaining applicants are denied admission. If the number of admitted students who accept an offer of admission falls below the number necessary to fill the class, then the waiting list is used to fill the remaining places.

Click here for FAQs about the review process.