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:
- 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.
- An LSAT or GRE 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 GMAT score.
- A Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report (i.e., your transcript summary) from LSAC
- Written components of the application, including a personal statement (ideally four, double-spaced pages), a resume (no page limit), optional statements, and any required addenda
- 2-4 letters of recommendation
- 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.
- $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.
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.
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:
Berkeley Law’s early decision program is binding. If you are admitted, this means that you must commit to enrolling at Berkeley Law the following fall and that you must submit a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by the date indicated in your admission notification. No deposit will be required, but you must withdraw all other law school applications and not initiate any new applications. Early decision admission offers may not be deferred. You must be completely certain that you will begin your legal studies at Berkeley in the fall of 2024.
To apply, complete the separate early decision application available beginning September 1 on the LSAC website. There is no application fee for the early decision program.
You may not be an early decision applicant at another law school with a binding contract. If you elect to apply to Berkeley’s binding early decision program, then ours can be the only such application you submit.
If you are admitted, you automatically will receive a $90,000 merit scholarship, split evenly over the three years (six semesters) while at Berkeley Law. The only requirement to renew this scholarship is to maintain good academic standing and to make satisfactory academic progress. If admitted, you should presume that the $90,000 associated scholarship will comprise your total gift aid.
You may apply for other named or programmatic scholarships, such as the Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship, however decisions for these programs, which are competitive, are not typically released until mid-March or later. If you anticipate that financial aid will be a significant factor in determining where you will attend law school, then you should consider carefully whether or not to apply to a binding early decision program.
Your application must be completed and submitted by 11:59pm PST on November 15, 2023 to be considered for the program. To ensure that your application is complete by that deadline, we strongly recommend that you submit an application before November 1, 2023. The October LSAT is the last test score that we will consider for early decision. If submitting a GRE or GMAT score, it must be taken by October 31, 2023 in order to be received in our office by the application deadline.
You will receive an admissions decision by December 4, 2023. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit a Statement of Intent to Register by December 8 and to withdraw all of your other law school applications immediately.
If you are not admitted through early decision program, then your application will be included in the applicant pool for the regular decision process and you will receive an admissions decision at a later date. No application fee will be required in these cases.
When you apply, you also must complete and submit the electronic Early Decision Certification form to confirm that you wish to be considered for early decision and that you understand the rules that govern the program. The certification must be submitted by November 15, and ideally by November 1. Your early decision application will not be considered complete until we receive the certification form.
If the certification form is not received by November 15, 2023, then we will assume that you have decided to withdraw from early decision consideration. Your application will not be held for regular decision. To be considered subsequently for regular decision, you will be required to submit a separate regular application and pay the $75 application fee.
Members of the Admissions Team hosted a webinar on the application process for Binding Early Decision. While the dates are specific to the 2022-23 cycle, the main points remain relevant. The webinar is available below:
Academic Record and The CAS Report
LSAC operates a service that collects and analyzes data for admission to all ABA-approved law schools, known as the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Regardless of whether or not an applicant takes the LSAT or another standardized exam, they must create an account with CAS. You must send transcripts to CAS from all of the schools you attended after high school, including community colleges and graduate programs.
It is through CAS that we receive: Your transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended and graduate programs (including foreign transcripts); transcript analysis; LSAT scores and score report(s); letter(s) of recommendation; and the LSAT Writing Sample. We may also receive as part of your CAS report information that contextualizes your performance prepared by LSAC with data they are provided by applicants. We are not able to receive any of this information in any other way; CAS registration is required and cannot be waived.
You will be able to monitor your CAS status through the LSAC website (LSAC.org). CAS updates (for new scores, new transcripts, new letters, etc.) are sent to us automatically once you send us a first-time report.
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.
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.
The LSAT is typically offered eight times each year and can be taken remotely or at examination centers throughout the world. Registration, disability-related accommodation requests, and all other candidate services for the LSAT are managed entirely and led solely by the Law School Admission Council; Berkeley Law has no role in any aspect of the registration process, fee waivers, eligibility, or other determinations.
The LSAT Writing Sample is a requirement to apply to Berkeley Law. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid LSAT Writing Sample available by the application deadline. LSAC requires that you have at least one valid Writing Sample on file in order to issue a CAS report to a school.
LSAT scores are valid for five years. If you took the LSAT between September 2018 and January 2024, then you are not required to take it again (you have a valid and reportable score that we can consider). However, you must ensure that your CAS registration is current so that your test score(s) and transcripts are sent to us.
The GRE and GMAT
For information regarding the GRE or GMAT, please refer to the specific testing agency. In all cases, we require a valid and reportable score in order to review and consider your application. Generally, scores over 5 years old are no longer valid and reportable. It is each applicant’s responsibility to understand when and how a testing agency will report a score and for how long it remains valid. Some will only report a score up to 5 years to the month when the test was administered, for example.
Applicants applying with the GRE or GMAT must also send a CAS report to Berkeley Law. No application will be complete without a CAS report received from LSAC, and the associated CAS fee will not be waived by Berkeley Law.
For the GRE, we will primarily consider your “superscore” when evaluating your candidacy. We do not draw parallels or calculate “comparable” percentiles or raw scores on the LSAT and GRE. Both tests are different and test different things, and scores on one or both will be viewed as distinct from one another.
Applying with Multiple Test Types
If you have a valid and reportable LSAT score it will be seen and it will be considered in our review, even if you wish to be considered with “only” a GRE score. That LSAT score will flow in automatically from LSAC through the CAS report and/or CAS updates. You may write an addendum to provide context for score and performance differences. If you have a valid and reportable GRE score, we require you to send a score report to us (from ETS). Your GRE score(s) will be seen and considered alongside your LSAT score(s), even if you wish to apply with “only” the LSAT. We may consider your application incomplete without any/all applicable test scores.
The final dates by which you should take a standardized test will depend on which application you are submitting, and whether you are applying for the Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship (BLOS) award.
For Binding Early Decision applicants: Complete the LSAT or GRE by October 31, 2023.
For Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship and Public Interest Scholars applicants: Complete the LSAT or GRE by November 30, 2023.
For Regular Decision JD applicants: Complete the LSAT or GRE by January 31, 2024.
LSAT: LSAT scores are sent to us by LSAC as part of your Credential Assembly Service.
GRE: If you have taken the GRE, please submit our GRE form upon submission of your application. Request that ETS send an official score report to Berkeley Law for each GRE exam you have taken in the last five years. Please use the Berkeley Law JD program school code 4818. Unofficial or student-provided ETS score reports will not be accepted in lieu of official score reports received directly from ETS. Berkeley Law will have access to your analytical writing essays through ETS. Applicants applying with only the GRE must send a CAS report to Berkeley Law. No application will be complete without a CAS report received from LSAC, and the associated CAS fee will not be waived by Berkeley Law.
GMAT: If you intend to apply with a GMAT score, first confirm your eligibility to do so by reviewing our GMAT policy. You must fill out the GMAT form. Then, request that GMAC send an official score report to Berkeley Law. This report will include all active GMAT scores. Please use the Berkeley Law JD program school code: N2V-3S-66. Unofficial or student-provided GMAC score reports will not be accepted in lieu of official score reports received directly from GMAC. Applicants applying with only the GMAT must send a CAS report to Berkeley Law. No application will be complete without a CAS report received from LSAC, and the associated CAS fee will not be waived by Berkeley Law.
You are required to submit a personal statement as part of your application. It should be limited to four double-spaced pages in 11 or 12 point font that is highly legible and with normal page margins.
The thoughts and words contained in your personal statement must be your own and no one else should assist in its creation beyond basic proofreading or critiquing. This must be your original work.
Navigate through the following slides for some tips on writing a personal statement (note that there is no audio):
In addition to a personal statement we require that you include a resume. There is no page limit, but generally two pages is adequate. The resume should include 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. URLs may be added, but don’t guarantee that a reviewer will visit those links
- Do not limit yourself to strictly law-related or professional experiences. However, do only add activities from college and beyond (no high school, please)
- 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: a personal photograph, other image(s), graphic(s), or art within your résumé, an objective, a separate list of “Key Qualities” or a “Personal Summary,” motto, or quote
- It is helpful to include the hours and dates you worked or volunteered, as well as your responsibilities – bullet points are perfect!
- For legibility purposes, please do not include multiple colors or fonts in your résumé, and please keep the font no smaller than 10 or 11-points for all text other than your name at the top. We suggest using a highly legible font such as Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond, Calibri, Cambria, etc.
In addition to your personal statement, you may choose to attach a response to one or more of the following questions if you feel the information would be helpful to us when considering your application.
Submission Instructions: In general, optional statements should be attached with the application on LSAC.org, or you can email them to us as a PDF attachment at email@example.com if you have already submitted your application. If you are submitting an “Interest in the Legal Profession” statement, please submit your video or written submission via the Kira platform. Additional submission instructions are included below and in the application.
Tell us more about your interest in Berkeley Law. What makes our school a good fit for you in terms of academic interests, programmatic offerings, and learning environment?
This essay is required if you are applying to the Public Interest Scholars Program.
350 word maximum
If you do not believe that your standardized test score(s) or academic record accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, then you may tell us why and share what you believe indicates your potential.
You may attach a copy of your SAT or ACT score report(s) to this essay, and we reserve the right to request score reports to verify statements made in this optional essay.
350 word maximum
How will you (your perspective, experience, Voice) contribute to diversity in our classrooms and community? Feel free to address any factors or attributes you consider important and relevant. In the past, applicants have included information about characteristics such as: race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic background, first generation college or professional school student, student parent, re-entry student, geographic diversity, ideological diversity, and others.
500 word maximum
Looking beyond the four corners of your application, please share more about why you are applying to law school by answering one or more of the following questions:
- What about you (your experiences, your values, your perspective, etc.) calls you to law school?
- How will you use your law degree with integrity, vision, creativity, and/or to innovate?
- What makes you hopeful, optimistic, or excited about entering the legal profession?
- How do you see yourself contributing to or advancing the public good as a lawyer, scholar, or advocate?
4 minutes, or 500 words maximum
For the optional statement, “Interest in the Legal Profession,” applicants are invited to complete this statement in an alternative modality: video submission. This is not an interview. It is another opportunity to share insight into your potential for study at Berkeley Law, and it gives you an additional tool (video recording) for the communication and presentation of that information. You may also choose to complete this statement in written format.
Optional video statements, as with all statements, are unscored and intended only to augment your application. While we will consider the information shared and will use it within our holistic review of your application, no value will be assigned to whether you choose the written or video format.
Candidates will submit this statement via a free, third-party platform called Kira. You will receive a custom link to the Kira platform after submitting your Berkeley Law application on LSAC. The Kira platform will allow you to respond to the prompt either via video recording or in writing and provides comprehensive support and trouble-shooting. Please only submit your response through the Kira platform; written or video “Interest in the Legal Profession” statements sent separately will not be considered.
Additional addenda or essays may be required in certain instances (e.g., if you are applying to certain scholarship programs). Required addenda are attached with the application on LSAC.org, or you can email them to us as a PDF attachment at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have already submitted your application.
If you answer “Yes” to any of the character and fitness questions in the application, we require that you attach an addendum explaining the circumstances. If your answer to any of the character and fitness questions contained in this application becomes affirmative after you submit your application, you are required to notify the Admissions Office in writing. Failure to disclose and/or notify us will result in the revocation of your offer of admission. In addition to a Bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the Bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Note that an affirmative answer to any of these questions does not necessarily preclude or even prejudice admission to Berkeley Law. Your answer will be reviewed on an individual basis in relation to all aspects of your experience, academic achievement, and potential. Individuals may be strong applicants and passionate contributors to classroom discussions not in spite of their past engagement with the criminal justice system, but because of those experiences. We regularly admit, enroll, and graduate law students who have responded affirmatively to questions in this section.
Our character and fitness questions do not represent all the possible questions, topics, or considerations a state Bar might inquire about or require you to disclose, or for the law school to disclose in the course of the Bar certification process. Admission to our law school does not suggest or ensure eligibility for, nor guarantee, admission to any state, federal, or other Bar.
If you would like more information or resources for navigating these questions or attending law school as a justice-system impacted person, contact our office. We are also available for individual advising appointments.
There are three named scholarships that candidates can apply for in the application. If you are applying for any of these scholarships, you must include the required essay(s) by the deadline.
Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship
You are required to submit a one to two page essay addressing the following prompt: How do you think being a first generation college student has shaped your perspective, and how will that perspective contribute to the Berkeley Law community and the broader legal profession? The essay can discuss content from your personal statement or Perspectives and Experiences statement (if included), but should be a unique, independent essay specifically addressing your identity as a first generation college graduate. You may wish to discuss any obstacles you have faced on your journey to law school, contributions to your community, history of leadership or advocacy, and what kind of impact you hope to make at Berkeley Law and in the greater legal profession. Deadline: December 15
Public Interest Scholars Program
To be considered, you must submit a “Why Berkeley Law” statement that expands upon your interest in Berkeley Law’s public interest offerings. Please be sure your application materials, such as your personal statement and resume, reflect your interest, experience, and commitment to the field. Deadline: December 15
An additional 1-2 page essay is required to be considered for the Hyundai-Kia Scholarship. The applicant should describe why they believe they are a strong candidate for the award, their relevant educational, leadership, and professional experiences, and their career goals. In addition, if the applicant is an immediate family member of an employee of Hyundai or Kia Motors they must self-identify as such in this essay. (This disclosure does not preclude their consideration for the award.) Deadline: February 15
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. In general, we do not complete applications with fewer than two letters of recommendation on file. If you wish for your application to be completed with fewer than two letters of recommendation, please contact us at email@example.com to make that request in writing. We will not hold your application for review pending receipt of your recommendations provided that at least two letters are on file. If you want all of your letters to be considered in the review process, be sure that they are available with your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report when you submit your application.
Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service. Letters sent to us outside of the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service will NOT be added to your application materials and will NOT be considered when evaluating you for admission. Do not direct recommenders to email us letters or messages regarding your application status, interest, qualifications, etc. Check out this quick video for everything you need to know about letters of recommendation:
A need-based fee waiver program is administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) that includes waivers of the LSAT registration, Credential Assembly Service (CAS), and other fees. Information and the fee waiver application form is available on the LSAC website. You should act early to obtain a waiver; we will not extend application deadlines based on the timeline for LSAC’s fee waiver review process. If you obtain an LSAC fee waiver, our application fee will be waived automatically when you apply.
Berkeley Law fee waivers are online application-based or may be sent to candidates directly by the school after being identified through the LSAC Candidate Referral Service (CRS). CRS is an LSAC service that is “opt-in,” and questions about that process should be directed to LSAC.
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 (opens on Sept 1) 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.
Berkeley Law Fee Waiver Request Form (Opens September 1)
The deadline to submit either fee waiver application is 5pm PDT on January 1, 2024. Applicants who do not receive a waiver or who miss the deadline must pay the fee.
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.