How do I get into law school off the waiting list

Below is a copy of today’s Monday MailBag post.


Q:  I am not sure if LegalJob can help but my question has to do with getting into law school.  I am on the waitlist at [a top twenty law school].  Does LegalJob have any advice for how I can increase my chances of getting in?


Answer:  Good question and not one LegalJob has ever been asked.  Three thoughts about supplementing your application:

  1. If you have not already done so, articulate specifically why you are a low risk/high reward candidate in the sense that there is a good chance (nothing is a guarantee) based on your level of focus and commitment to a specific area of the law, related or unrelated work experience, academic record, leadership experience, volunteer experience, or some other intangible that you will be extraordinary successful in law school and beyond.  Make the decision easy for the school with regards to your application.  Convince the admissions committee that there is a high likelihood that you are going to be one of successful students that pays your tuition in full, does well academically, and gives back to the school (time, money) after graduation.  This probably means revising your resume and providing additional essays.  LegalJob will provide examples in later posts.
  2. Demonstrate your commitment to the school and/or a particular area of the law by sitting in a class in an area of interest.  You may want to ask the professor first if that is something that would be possible but it should not be a problem.  If you liked the class, send the professor an e-mail (or stay after class) asking whether he could meet with you for five minutes to discuss your wait-list status and his thoughts about what you can do to further your candidacy.  Then, do that and inform the school that you sat in on his class and you enjoyed it for x,y,z reasons (if true).
  3. Seek out informational interviews from alumni of the school who are still actively engaged with the law school (i.e., board or committee member, generous donors, etc.).  If possible, pick people with whom you have something in common — same undergrad, same practice area (which you are interested in working), same hometown, etc.  The touch point may make the person more inclined to meet with you.  That person may have additional ideas about effective ways to supplement your resume.