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Covid-19 and Law School Admissions

Many applicants have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic, and the responses to it, might affect various aspects of the law school admissions process. If you have applications pending right now, do not hesitate to contact individual law schools for the most accurate info about their own admissions process.

What about the LSAT?

In light of the pandemic, LSAC will continue to provide the LSAT in an online, live remote-proctored format through June 2022.

They are also announcing the June 2021 test date, as well as test dates for the entire next cycle, which will begin in August and run through June 2022, so that candidates may plan in advance for the timing that works best. You can find the schedule here https://www.lsac.org/lsat/lsat-dates-deadlines-score-release-dates.

The LSAT will continue to have three scored sections. Starting in August, they will be returning to their pre-COVID practice of including an unscored variable section along with the three scored sections so that they can validate new test questions for future use. LSAC describes this validation process is a vital part of their commitment to equity and helps them ensure our questions continue their long standard of being free from any kind of bias. With the addition of a fourth, unscored section, they plan to include a short break between the second and third sections of the new LSAT starting August 2021, similar to the break mid-way through the traditional in-person LSAT that was used before the COVID-19 emergency.

The LSAT will continue to have three scored sections and one unscored variable section for the next several years, and you can learn more about the LSAT for August 2021 and beyond on LSAC’s website.

Scores will continue to be reported on the 120-180 LSAT range, along with a percentile ranking. Their questions and methodology will remain the same. Because they both contain three scored sections with the same methodology and questions, LSAC anticipates that scores from the current LSAT-Flex and the LSAT beginning in August will be aligned. They have advised that their measurement scientists will continue to scrutinize and evaluate all the data to ensure scores preserve their meaning across test administrations.

In regard to candidate safety, LSAC will continue to address access and equity by providing solutions for candidates who do not have the necessary equipment, internet access, or quiet place to test. LSAC states that they stand ready to assist you, so you have the resources you need. Thus far, LSAC has provided 2,400 loaner devices to candidates who needed a computer and have provided a quiet place to test and internet access for over 1,100 more. LSAC states they are deeply committed to disability rights and will continue to address the needs of all candidates who require testing accommodations.

You can find more information about the LSAT-Flex at the LSAT-Flex Frequently-Asked-Questions, page and more information about 2020-2021 registration and pricing at LSAC.org. If you need to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the LSAT-Flex, one source, recommended by LSAC, is the free Official LSAT Prep practice tests available on LSAC’s LawHub.

Note: Information about next steps for candidates can be found on the LSAT-Flex FAQ page.

  • LSAC is working to help every test taker have the equipment and other resources they need to take the LSAT-Flex. A candidate who does not have the necessary equipment or an appropriate place to test should alert LSAC to their situation via the same online form in their LSAC account. You should let LSAC know if you need assistance.
  • LSAC encourages candidates to visit LSAT-Flex Frequently-Asked-Questions page, for more information about the format of the LSAT-Flex, security, technical requirements, and how best to prepare.
  • For candidates who want to familiarize themselves with the format and content of the LSAT-Flex, LSAC recommends using the free Official LSAT Prep practice tests available on LSAC’s LawHub.
  • If you have any questions about any of these announcements, please don’t hesitate to contact LSAC at prelaw@LSAC.org.
  • LSAC has created a new score preview option for first-time test takers who wish to see their score before deciding whether or not to keep it as part of their LSAC transcript and report it to schools. Score preview will cost $45 for candidates who sign up prior to the first day of testing for a given test administration, or candidates may sign up during a specified time period after testing has concluded for $75. You can learn more about the score preview option at our website: https://www.lsac.org/lsat/taking-lsat/lsat-scoring/about-score-preview
  • LSAC is reinstating the requirement that all test takers must have a completed LSAT Writing sample on file before they will receive their score for the August LSAT-Flex or future tests.
Will law schools take into account how the pandemic has affected test prep and might impact test experiences going forward?

With the onset of COVID-19 in Spring 2020, many colleges and universities moved to online instruction. Acknowledging that it was a disruptive time for learning, many also instituted some version of pass/fail grades. Law schools, candidates, and prelaw advisors alike are asking how LSAC treats spring 2020 grades.

LSAC continues to treat pass/fail grades as it traditionally has. See LSAC.org’s Transcript Summarization page for further details, including a complete list of grades that are excluded from the LSAC-calculated UGPA.

LSAC believes this process respects both the decisions of the schools awarding the grades and the law schools, who can use their discretion in determining how to weight spring 2020 grades in their holistic evaluation of applications.

LSAC is also including, in every CAS report for years to come, a letter that reminds law school admission offices that spring 2020 was the “coronavirus semester” and that the disruption continued into subsequent semesters. Read the complete letter.

Visit LSAC.org for the latest information and updates.

Are law schools extending their application deadlines?

Many application deadlines had passed before COVID19 measures went into effect, and are therefore not affected by the epidemic. For those with late March or April deadlines, I expect to see most extending those dates either with a blanket deadline-change or on a case-by-case basis. If your ability to complete your application has been negatively affected by the current crisis, you should reach out to the particular law schools to ask about their own accommodations for late submissions. This includes those of you who were counting on applying with a March LSAT.
Are law schools extending their seat deposit deadlines?

If you have already been admitted to one or more law schools and are still trying to decide which offer to accept, you may face a more difficult situation with regard to the seat deposit deadlines. The earliest of these are coming up in April. I have not heard of any law schools issuing global extensions of these deadlines, but admissions officials are always open to considering extensions on a case-by-case basis. If there are specific reasons your decision has been impacted by the crisis (apart from inability to visit schools—see below), then definitely contact the schools to inquire about their flexibility.
How can I make a decision when I cannot visit the law schools?

It is, of course, true that law school visits are critical to the decision-making process. Getting that “feel” for a school can be so important to your experience over the subsequent three years. Now that visits to most schools are impossible, how do you research that “feel”? Many schools are offering virtual tours, and making faculty and current students available for video chats. You can also ask admissions offices to put you in touch with current students, especially those that match your interests or background in ways that might make their perspectives particularly useful to you. You can also reach out directly to Career/Placement offices at individual law schools, and to faculty—all should be available via email and/or phone. But don’t expect law schools to extend their seat deposit deadlines just because you haven’t had a chance to visit. Since that situation won’t change before you need to make your deposit, an extension wouldn’t help too much.
My spring or summer internship has been cancelled—how will this affect my application?

First, remember that law-related internships are not the make or break of a law school application. In fact, admissions committees are not generally too concerned with whether you’ve completed such an internship or job—rather, they’re interested in learning more about whatever you’ve done, and what you’ve gotten out of it. So if your summer internship in a law office has been cancelled, don’t worry about it having an impact on your application. Instead, pursue whatever opportunities are still available to you and are meaningful to you. That might mean finding an ad hoc job to replace some of your lost income, or volunteering to help folks more seriously impacted by the epidemic, or caring for family members. Whatever it is, it will add to the overall portrait you’ll be able to present to the admissions committees.But law-related internship or job opportunities are important for helping you decide whether a legal career is right for you. If a Summer 2021 internship was going to be the thing that helped you decide whether to apply in Fall 2021, you might want to consider pushing back your application to the following cycle. There are no downsides whatsoever to working for some period of time between college and law school, and for those of you who really aren’t sure yet whether this is the right path, a post-grad law-related job could help you decide. You could also pursue an academic year internship in a local law office or legal organization—and perhaps even earn credit for that internship.