How to Navigate Law School Offers
With the February LSAT planted firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Side note: Why do brass tacks connote seriousness? Are tacks ever made of some other metal? If so, are those tacks more, or less serious? The world is full of questions.
But the question I want to tackle today is what to do when you start hearing back from law schools. If you’ve taken the LSAT and all your applications are complete (which they darn well better be), you’re probably getting pretty anxious by now. Will I get into a top-tier school? Was it a good idea to pick a random “A” on my transcript and ask that professor to write my letter of recommendation even though I never visited his office as an undergrad? Do short women really prefer taller men?
Aside from your height-related dating woes (which were no doubt brought into sharp relief a few days ago), I’m going to attempt to give you some comfort regarding the rest of the admissions process. It’s worth noting at this point that worrying really won’t do you any good. You already took the LSAT, and unless it was the February LSAT, you already know your score. You’ve also gotten all your applications in. They’re signed, sealed and (electronically) delivered. All worrying might do at this point is give you an excuse to go buy more deodorant.
Further, I can virtually guarantee that if you care enough about the LSAT or law school to read this blog, you’re going to get in somewhere. You won’t be left out on a law school iceberg in the middle of a metaphorical ocean left to ponder how much you suck at life. It just ain’t gonna happen (even if you do really suck at life). All of that said, you’re going to need a strategy to wade through your offers once they start rolling in. Today we’ll examine how to evaluate offers and how to employ some dastardly strategy to (possibly) improve them.
For a select few this will be an easy process. They will just pick the best law school at which they are accepted. If you get into a top-20 school your decision has essentially been made for you. Regardless of cost, the amount of opportunity that attending such a school will afford you demands that you attend. Period. However, if you get accepted to a couple top-tier schools that you really didn’t plan attending for some reason (too far away, bad boy/girl ratio, etc) you can use those acceptances to your advantage.
In addition to those couple top-tier schools, you will likely be accepted at some other schools that are still plenty respectable, albeit lower on the vaunted U.S. News Rankings (which are kinda garbage, but more on that in another post). Now is your chance to play Snidely Whiplash and get a little evil. Those lower-ranked schools want you. You make them look good. You make their rankings go up and justify the prices they charge for a legal education. You can use their desire against them.
Let them know you got into “Higher-Ranked School A” but you’re not sure you want to go because of the cost. Notice the implication? Well, just in case you didn’t, you are basically telling “Lower-Ranked School B” the following: “GIVE ME MONEY AND I’LL COME TO YOUR SCHOOL!!!” If this type of negotiation gives you the willies, just think of it as practice for future lawyering. You’re not being a jerk, you’re just being smart. You earned that extra money by getting into School A so you might as well cash that check in! Until next time, may you get into the best school you applied to, and if you don’t, don’t shy away from getting down to brass tacks with a lower-ranked one.
Article by Blueprint LSAT instructor and UCLA Law School graduate Alex Davis.