Wondering how to get into Stanford law school? We've got you. Stanford law school is a prestigious world-renowned institution that is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the United States alongside Yale law school and Harvard law school. With a reputation like that, it's not surprising that thousands of students apply to this school every year, and that it has one of the lowest law school acceptance rates in the country. If you're hoping to get into this very selective law school, you must submit a strong application. So, keep reading to learn about their acceptance rate, admissions requirements, and everything you need to know to get into Stanford law school.


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Stanford Law School’s Mission

“Stanford Law School (SLS) is driven by a passion for new ideas and a commitment to transformative solutions…”

Available Programs

When students talk about law school, they are usually referring to the Juris Doctor (JD) degree, which is the focus of this article. Still, it is worth noting that Stanford law school offers several interesting degree-granting programs.

There are three main joint degree programs. The first one is the JD/Master’s program, which is ideal for students who want to get a more profound knowledge of the law but don’t intend to practice after graduation. There is also the intensive JD/MD program which gives students the opportunity to earn a degree in three high-impact fields — law, medicine, and biosciences - over the course of six years. The last joint degree option is the JD/Ph.D., which has over twenty different subject areas that candidates can choose to focus on.

Stanford law school also offers four different advanced law degrees. There is the Master of Laws (LLM), which is a course-based curriculum of advanced study primarily for students who have already earned a law degree outside the United States. Students in this program can opt to specialize in Corporate Governance & Practice, Environmental Law & Policy, Law, Science & Technology, or International Economic Law, Business & Policy. 

The Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS) is another advanced law program offered by the school, and it leads to a Master of the Science of Law (JSM) degree. Students who have no prior legal training but require some foundational knowledge of the legal system can also earn a Master’s from Stanford law school through their Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program, leading to a nonprofessional degree.

Last but not least, Stanford law school has a Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) program for future law scholars. To be eligible for this program, you must have successfully completed the Stanford SPILS program or earned an LLM degree from an accredited law school.

JD Curriculum

As mentioned earlier, this article will be more focused on Stanford’s JD program. It is a full-time, three-year degree that is designed to teach students how to think like lawyers, but also like clients and scholars. One of the ways Stanford is able to do that is by giving law school students the ability to take courses that are offered by different departments at Stanford, thus allowing students to benefit from academic thought leaders across disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach is what has led to the creation of 28 different joint concentrations within the JD program at Stanford, and students are encouraged to create their own joint programs if the school does not yet offer the one they are interested in pursuing. 

Stanford Law’s curriculum is designed to give students the foundational knowledge and essential skills required to practice law during the first year. Then it allows them to explore their own interests and follow their ambitions in upper-level classes. The school keeps classes small enough to encourage intensive discussion and collaboration, and the faculty actively engages with students to explore key concepts and encourage the exchange of new ideas. Additionally, many courses provide an immersive learning experience with practice-focused clinics, policy-making practicums, faculty salons, and many others.

Money Matters

At this time, tuition costs $64,350 per academic year at Stanford law school, for both in-state residents and non-residents. However, the school does mention that most single students need to budget at least $107,055 for each school year to account for the cost of room and board, required textbooks, transportation, recreation, and other daily expenses.

Approximately 75 percent of students at Stanford law school receive some form of financial aid. The average fellowship portion per student is estimated at $25,000 annually. The school is committed to helping exemplary students through need-based financial aid, including tuition fellowships, and scholarships. Furthermore, students who choose a career in public service may be eligible for annual fellowships and generous loan repayment options.

Stanford law school students that receive some form of financial aid:

It's important to note that Stanford Law School uses an age-based test to determine the dependency percentage of an applicant's parent contribution. Only students who will be over 29 years of age by September 1st on the year of their enrollment can apply for the need-based financial aid without any consideration being given to parental resources. For those who are 25 or younger as of September 1st, Stanford will consider the full extent of the calculated parental contribution when determining eligibility for scholarship assistance. A different percentage is taken into account for those between the ages of 25 and 29.

Admissions Statistics

First, we have to acknowledge that Stanford law school is very selective. Last year, their overall acceptance rate was 6.28%, which means that for every 100 applications, only about six students actually ended up going to Stanford law.

Stanford law school does not have a minimum requirement for GPA or LSAT scores, but if you want to find out what you'll need to get admission to the program, we suggest looking at the statistics of previous matriculants. Stanford provides a snapshot of its most recently admitted class, and the numbers tell us that these students did exceptionally well in their undergraduate institutions and on the LSAT. The median GPA and LSAT scores were 3.91 and 172, respectively. So, it is fair to say that if you want to get into this law school with a low GPA, your other application components will need to be outstanding.

Overall acceptance rate at Stanford law school:

Selection Factors

In order to apply to Stanford law school, you will need to submit an application for admission electronically through LSAC and pay the non-refundable application fee of $85. Let's take a look at the different application components that you'll be required to submit.

Want to see a quick summary of the section below? Take a look at this infographic:

Transcripts (Credential Assembly Service Report)

Stanford requires transcripts from every college or university you have attended. Applicants are required to submit transcripts through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) electronic application service, which will then prepare and transmit a Law School Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report to Stanford Law School for review. This report will include copies of all the transcripts sent to LSAC. All transcripts from a school outside of the United States and Canada will be forwarded to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). They will evaluate and authenticate your transcripts and degree to ensure that it meets the eligibility requirements.

The admissions committee will look at your GPA to make sure it is up to par, but they will also be looking at the courses you chose and trends in your grades. The aim is for the admissions team to get a sense of the type of student you were during undergrad or graduate school, if applicable. This gives them some indication of the type of student you could be if admitted to Stanford law.

Law school resume

Stanford requires a law school resume that describes your academic, extracurricular, and professional activities. Your resume should be a one-to-two-page document that is neatly organized and easy to read. We highly recommend creating a new resume specifically for your law school application and ensuring that it highlights some of the transferable skills that you will need to succeed in law school. If you're not sure how to create a resume for this application, we recommend looking at law school resume examples or even MBA resumes to get a better idea of what your resume should look like.

The admission essays

Stanford law school applicants can submit up to three different types of essays. The first is the law school personal statement which is required for all applicants. The second is the optional diversity essay. And then lastly, you have the short essays, which are also optional.

For your personal statement, Stanford does not have a specific question that it asks applicants to answer, but the instructions do clearly state that you should “...enclose a statement of about two pages sharing important or unusual information about yourself that is not otherwise apparent in your application”. While this is not a typical prompt, it does provide an important reminder that your personal statement should give the admissions committee additional information about you. For example, you shouldn’t use your essay to discuss your professional background because they already have that information from your resume. Instead, you can use the statement to elaborate on a particular experience that is listed on your resume and tell the admissions committee how that experience helped prepare you for the Stanford JD program. We suggest that you review law school personal statement examples if you need some inspiration.

Need advice for your law school personal statement? Check out these tips:

We recommend including at least one of the law school optional essays in your application, depending on your background. These essays are another opportunity to showcase your writing skills and tell the admissions board more about the person behind your grades and transcripts. Both of those things can significantly impact the admission committee’s decision.

Often, students assume that the law school diversity statement should only be submitted by students who have faced adversity, but this is not the case. Essentially, your diversity essay should tell the admissions board how your culture, socio-economic status, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other aspects of your specific background have shaped you. They want to know how your experiences have affected your relationship with the people and social structures around you. Furthermore, and more importantly, they want to know how your unique perspective will contribute to the diversity of the class and the campus community in general.

There is no specific word count for this essay, but we recommend sticking to a one-page document so that you can provide substantial information and detail without losing your audience. The Optional Short Essays are easier to write. Applicants may select up to two questions to respond to from a list of four essay questions, and both responses are limited to a maximum of 100 to 250 words each.

Tip: If you’re not confident in your essay writing skills, or you just need some help with this portion of your application, reach out to an essay advisor. They can help you brainstorm and guide you through the writing and editing process.

Letters of Recommendation

Stanford law requires at least two letters of recommendation, but it gives applicants the option of submitting up to four letters. Unless you are a non-traditional applicant or have been out of school for a significant amount of time, your recommenders should be faculty members or instructors who have personal knowledge of your academic work. If you fall in the former category, then you may submit a professional reference instead of an academic one. That said, if possible, the school prefers to receive at least one letter from an employer or business associate and one from a former professor or instructor.

You should remember that the most compelling letters come from recommenders who know you well, not necessarily the ones that gave you the highest grades. It would be best to secure references from individuals who taught you or worked with you for some time, who are enthusiastic about your law school candidacy, and who can provide specific examples in their letters. 

Standardized Test scores

 As important as your personal skills and abilities are, your academic potential is a massive part of the admissions process to Stanford law school. All applicants are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. Applicants may submit GRE and LSAT scores if they have taken both tests. However, if you apply and get admitted to the law school with a GRE and, after admission, take the LSAT, the admissions committee will consider the LSAT score and possibly re-evaluate the offer of admission.

You must know how to study for the LSAT or the GRE to get the highest score possible. As we saw earlier, Stanford admits students who do well on these standardized tests, so you need to be one of them if you want your application to be competitive. Furthermore, keep in mind that LSAC can take up to fifteen business days for processing your scores. So make sure to plan to take the LSAT or GRE in time for the scores to get processed and submitted by the application deadline.

Contact Information

Stanford Law School Website

Email: [email protected]

Mailing address: Crown Quadrangle

559 Nathan Abbott Way

Stanford, CA 94305-8610

FAQs

1. How competitive is admission to Stanford law school?

Stanford law school is one of the most selective law schools in the country. To get an offer of admission, you need to have a very competitive application.

2. Is Stanford law school expensive?

It costs about the same as the other prestigious law schools in the country. Tuition for the JD program at Stanford is $64,350 per academic year, but this doesn’t include textbooks, room and board and other expenses that law school students need to take into account.

3. Is Stanford law school worth it?

Only you can answer that question. What we can tell you is that Stanford law school has a great JD program, and almost all of it’s graduates get employment offers. However, that doesn’t mean it is the right school for you. You will need to look into the school’s culture and curriculum to decide if it would be worth it for you.

4. What GPA do you need to get into Stanford Law School?

While there is no minimum GPA requirement set by the school, we suggest having at least a 3.91 GPA as that was the median GPA of the recent matriculants.

5. Does Stanford law accept international students?

Stanford law school welcomes international students.

6. How many essays are required to apply to Stanford law?

Only one essay is required, but applicants can also submit an optional diversity essay and two short optional essays. We recommend submitting the optional essays as well to strengthen your application.

7. Does Stanford law school have financial aid programs?

Stanford law has a generous need-based financial aid program that most of the current students are benefiting from in various ways.

8. Can I submit my work resume with my application to Stanford law?

We highly recommend that you do not do this! Create a resume specifically for your law school application and ensure that it highlights your skills and potential for success in an academic program as rigorous as the one you’re applying to.

Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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