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What to Do When the Law School Offers Start Coming In

The February LSAT has come and gone. Now it’s time to talk law school. More specifically, law school admissions. Even more specifically, law school admissions offers.

Let’s assume all your law school applications are complete (and if they’re not, stop reading and go take care of that, pronto). You’ve no doubt wondered to yourself (or possibly aloud to strangers) whether you’ll get into a top tier school. You’ve probably worried about what your recommenders put in their letters. The possibilities for anxiety are endless.

I’m going to attempt to soothe your worry-addled mind. How you ask? By telling you not to worry. It won’t do you any good at this point anyway. There is nothing more you can or should do at this point (except perhaps pick up a hobby to take your mind off of things).

Further, I can all but guarantee that if you cared enough to take an LSAT prep course and read this blog, you’re going to get in somewhere. You won’t be left at home twiddling your thumbs come fall (unless of course that’s how you usually pass the time). Now that we’ve assuaged your semi-rational fears, let’s get you a strategy for wading through your admissions offers.

For a few, this will be an easy process. They will just pick the best law school at which they are accepted. Admission to a top 20 law school essentially makes the decision. Cost aside, the opportunities that attending such a school will afford you demand that you attend. Period. That said, if you get accepted to a couple top-tier schools that you really didn’t plan attending for some reason (poor candy selection, inadequate number of burrito joints, 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 law schools that are still plenty respectable, albeit lower on the (somewhat suspect) U.S. News rankings. Now you can employ a little strategery. Those lower-ranked law schools want you. You’re the belle of the ball. You elevate their law school rankings and justify the prices they charge for a legal education through your measurable excellence. 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 an asshole; you’re just being smart. You earned that extra money by getting into School A so you might as well cash that check in.

Now, I’m perfectly willing to admit there are other overriding factors. The school with a better offer may be in a crappy area. You may have your heart set on School A. Only you can weigh the importance of such matters. Just make sure you get the best offer you can, wherever you happen to attend. Best of luck!