Getting a law degree is the initial step that can provide you with various work paths, even a career as a lawyer or judge. Many universities worldwide offer law degrees, so you need to decide which law school is the best for you carefully.
Among the top universities for law degrees, Stanford University Law School consistently holds the top title or is in the top three Law schools in the United States, followed by the University of Cambridge and Harvard. If you have set your eyes on Stanford University Law School as one of the potential schools in your priority list, there are essential considerations that you should be aware of.
According to a former Dean of Stanford Law School, the school is a complete package – architectural beauty, a small student body cultivating a close sense of society, and excellent job prospects after graduation.
As a body of excellence in academics situated on acres of sunny rolling hills in California and surrounded by natural beauty, it propelled it as one of the best research universities in the world.
The varied and consistently exceptional offerings of Stanford University Law School and the small student-faculty ratio of 8.6 to 1 make this top law school a dream come true for many students out there.
If you are eager to earn a spot at Stanford University Law School, be aware that it is not an easy task. Although several law schools claim to have a rounded approach with their admissions, SLS is one of the few well-known with distinct requirements.
The committee overseeing the admissions assesses beyond the numbers to assemble an accomplished but well-balanced incoming class. The school is looking for a diverse student body and encourages understated minorities or those who have distinct life experiences to apply.
Since the law school receives up to thousands of applications to fill a 170 students class, the approval rate is just over 9 percent. The standard LSAT for registering students is 170, while the average GPA is a high 3.87.
The admission process is very selective, with a small percentage of the applicants being accepted. If Stanford is on your list of dream schools, I suggest making the necessary moves to get a GPA of at least 3.75 and an LSAT score of at least 171.
GPA versus LSAT
When it comes to the GPA of incoming students, it is strikingly like other top law schools, namely Yale and Harvard, but LSAT statistics at Stanford have generally been lower. I must share that Stanford places more emphasis on an applicant’s GPA than other top law schools in the previous years.
Nevertheless, a shift might be in progress. From 2009 to 2010, the school adjusted its formula to compare applicants with its “index formula.” This time around, more weight is given to the LSAT than in the previous formula.
Although it is early to judge what the outcome will be, I suggest boosting your LSAT score if you are eager to get an entry to have a better chance than before.
Just like in other aspects of admission, Stanford University Law School has the right to take on a holistic view of multiple LSAT scores. It merely means that the admissions committee will assess the results; however, they see fit based on the conditions.
Stanford makes a targeted recommendation document that is available for applicants who are eager to use it. This form offers recommenders the opportunity to provide you with a ranking based on several categories – maturity, writing skills, intellect, and oral communication.
With the high value that Stanford places on school-specific letters of recommendation, I suggest considering this form as a targeted letter to boost your chances of admission.
One of Stanford’s unusual practices is requiring a Dean’s Statement from the undergraduate school before your application can be assessed. It requires the Dean of Students to validate whether you are in good standing and subject to any disciplinary actions from the school.
• Personal statement
The school also requires a standard two-page personal statement. You can choose any topic they want. I recommend a statement that expresses dedication to public interest work. I know that this might gain extra attention if it is well-written and genuine. Always remember that Stanford also values the experiences outside of the college classroom.
• Application Fee
For students aspiring to apply at Stanford, the application fee is $85. It is important to note that the school does not allow merit-based fee waivers. The LSAC need-based fee waivers are not recognized either, unlike in most ABA-approved law schools.
Applicants who can show ‘tremendous personal hardship’ and ‘feel incompetent to pay’ are free to present a request to have the fee set aside.
Stanford typically accepts around 12 transfer students in a year. Since 2009, however, the school reportedly accepted 20 transfers. If you are up for it, superior grades at a first-tier law school are needed to pull it off. Remember that SLS sets an early limit for transfer applications.
• Application information
The application deadline for all programs is December 1. Most of the admission choices will be published during the first weeks of April.
When it comes to tuition, I must warn you that it can be quite hefty. The tuition for 2018-2019 is $60,072 and is expected to increase for 2019-2020. The cost of attendance plus tuition is around $96,500.
In a 2009 review, I am eager to share that the professors at Stanford were rated as the top in the nation based on their teaching quality. Based on student surveys, the professors rated the third as the most interesting and the fifth as the most approachable.
With the high accessibility and superior school resources and quality of students, the school ranks first when it comes to the “Academic Experience” category. There are 47 full-time faculty, while the student to faculty ratio is 8.6 to 1.
The law school has shifted to the quarter system to match up with the rest of the university. This will allow students to tackle sources in other departments easily.
The law school grades also changed to – honor, pass, restricted credit, no credit system. The aim is to take some of the pressure off the students.
Students at Stanford generally work hard, and most spend more time on homework in a day than students in other law schools. The students usually spend around 4-5 hours a day studying.
There is a subdued form of competition at the law school for several reasons. According to one student, they are competitive with themselves but not doing so to avoid cutting anyone else down.
The small community in the school is one reason. Since everyone on the campus knows each other, being friends is more important than transitory personal gain.
Students are quick to assist each other since they feel that everyone with a Stanford diploma will get the job of their dreams. Those who pursue selective positions might still feel the pressure to compete, but most students do not.
A vital reason for the collaborative atmosphere might be the latest grading system. Instructors designated one of the grades – honors, pass, restricted credit, or no credit. In truth, the two lowest scores are seldom given.
Due to this, around 30% of students will get “honors” while the rest receives “pass.” The finest students in every class will be given “book awards,” yet this is not officially a score.
The school shifted to this method to improve the educational experience. It seems to be working where students learn the material instead of solely focusing on the final exam.
Curriculum and specialties
With the quarter system, it is easier for students to take classes outside of law school, and joint degrees are easier to manage. This allows students the opportunity to take more classes over their nine academic quarters.
• Public Interest Program
Public interest law is one of the main focal points at Stanford. During the first year, there are several pro bono opportunities, and many students take part in public interest opportunities.
I recommend utilizing your new legal skills by helping survivors of domestic violence, senior citizens, or at-risk youth. Students who decide not to participate or focused on private practice are not stigmatized. Generally, the school simply provides students enough chances to try both and gain experience.
• Business and corporate law
Stanford University Law School excels in producing lawyers who are experts at representing venture capitalists and technology companies. Take note that the faculty of SLS ranks among the top for corporate law, and the school has been the top law school for tax law. Stanford offers several programs that are dedicated to corporate law.
• Intellectual Property Law
The closeness of the school to Silicon Valley helps explain its expertise in intellectual property law.
• Environmental Law
One of the main priorities in Northern California is environmental conservation. Due to this, Stanford has established a solid reputation and course offerings in environmental law.
• International Law
When it comes to International Law, Stanford ranks among the top law schools that offer the course.
As one of the most well-balanced and top law schools, Stanford University Law School truly stands out from the rest. With professors who are highly accomplished, yet approachable and interesting, along with the excellent line-up of students and educational atmosphere, it is no wonder that it is one of the top choices of law students worldwide.