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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?

LSAC has created a LSAT-Flex test during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown period. Because this is an online, remote-proctored test, LSAC can offer a variety of times on those dates for test takers to choose from, based on what works best for their schedules. Below are updates from LSAC regarding the summer 2020 LSAT administrations. LSAC has opened up registration for all of the remaining tests in the 2020-2021 testing cycle. 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.

AUGUST 2020 LSAT

  • LSAC will offer the online, remotely proctored LSAT-Flex in August, instead of the in-person LSAT scheduled for August 29 in the U.S. and Canada.
  • The August LSAT-Flex will be administered starting Saturday, August 29. Most test takers will test on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, with a small number of tests occurring later in the week based on specific remote proctoring requirements. LSAC will continue to provide loaner devices and quiet, internet-equipped places to test for candidates that need assistance, to help maintain diversity, equity, and opportunity in the face of COVID-19. Due to the demands of the LSAT-Flex administration, this will be an undisclosed test. LSAC is targeting Friday, September 18 as the score release date.
  • Note: More information about next steps for candidates can be found in the second half of this email, and on our LSAT-Flex FAQ page.
  • Registration for the August test is open through July 15, so any candidate who wishes to take the LSAT-Flex may register until that date.
  • Any candidate who is already registered for the August 29 LSAT may either take the August LSAT-Flex or opt out and receive a coupon which can be applied to any future test between October 2020 and April 2021. Current August registrants should visit their LSAC account and submit the online form with their choice. If LSAC does not hear from them by July 15, they will be automatically registered for the August LSAT-Flex on or about July 16. Note: They may withdraw from the August LSAT-Flex any time up to August 21, 2020 and receive the coupon. After the withdrawal deadline, no coupon will be provided.
  • 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 no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Sunday, August 9, 2020. You should let LSAC know if you need assistance.
  • Because the August LSAT-Flex is an online, remotely proctored test, LSAC is able to offer a variety of test start times for candidates to choose from. LSAC will open the scheduling sign-up process in mid-August, and will send more information and instructions prior to that time.
  • In the meantime, 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.
  • Those who wish to switch from the July to August LSAT exam should call LSAC’s Candidate Services at (215) 968-1001.
  • 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.

INFORMATION ON PRIOR LSAC TESTS IN 2020:

JULY 2020 LSAT

  • LSAC has made the decision to replace the in-person LSAT scheduled for July 13 in the U.S. and Canada with an LSAT-Flex administration, which would occur the week of July 12 with scores available on July 30.

JUNE 2020 LSAT

  • June test registrants have been instructed to visit their LSAC accounts and submit the online form to confirm their interest in taking the June LSAT-Flex or to receive a coupon for any future test between July 2020 and April 2021. Any affected registrants that LSAC does not hear from will be automatically registered for the June LSAT-Flex.

JUNE 2020 INTERNATIONAL LSAT

  • The in-person paper-and-pencil International LSAT scheduled for June 27-28 will also be cancelled, and those international test takers will have the option of taking the LSAT-Flex during the week of July 12 as well.

 

Will law schools take into account how the pandemic has affected test prep and might impact test experiences going forward?

I am certain they will. Remember that the admissions process is never just a numbers game, even as the LSAT and GPA weigh heavily in decision-making. Admissions committees really do engage in holistic reviews of applications, taking into account all the many factors that have gone into shaping applicants and their experiences, perspectives, and so on. Without question, the pandemic and the challenges it is presenting to all of us will play a role in the admissions process from here on out.
Are law schools extending their application deadlines?

Many application deadlines had passed before the anti-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 2020 internship was going to be the thing that helped you decide whether to apply in Fall 2020, 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.
One or more of my Spring 2020 classes is being converted to Pass/Fail—will that count against me in the law school admissions process?

Since many colleges and universities are evaluating their options regarding offering students the option of taking a class or multiple classes as “Pass/Fail,” it is uncertain how law schools will treat this Spring 2020 semester. Again, the law school admissions committees are looking at the whole picture, not just one grade or set of grades. What’s more, they welcome addenda explaining anomalies in your academic record. A brief explanation of the circumstances is recommended in order to allay concerns the admissions officials might have. This is true whether you’re applying this year or several years from now with perhaps an odd-looking Spring 2020. It should be noted that a large number of applicants in the future will have odd-looking Spring 2020 semesters on their transcripts.
Is MSU Pre-law advising still available?

Of course!! If you’re a Montclair State University student or alum, pre-law advising services will always be here for you, even if “here” is in some virtual space. You can email me at drakei@montclair.edu with any questions or to make an appointment for a phone/Zoom meeting.