When I first started (seriously) looking into law school, I felt like one of those little white mice trapped in a maze that it had never been in before: wall, wall, wall, ooh, opening! wall, wall, ooh, something shiny! I had no point of reference, and with no point of reference I was easily distracted by the Internets.

I mean, I had seen Boyfriend go through the whole LSAT prep course, applications and waiting period, but when it came to the minutiae of applications – the best time to submit, what to expect, etc. – I was clueless. So I did one of my favorite things there is to do in the world: research! (seriously. I’m a total nerd) And while poking around and burrowing into the little caves that make up the Interwebz, I found some interesting sites that made me feel better and a lot more comfortable about the whole process.

  • Law School Admission Council. This was one of my first stops during my law school application journey. Here you can register for the LSAT, register for law school forums (basically, where you can meet representatives from different schools), find out about funding for law school, etc. Be sure to take a look at the ABA-approved Guide to Law Schools. Though the schools listed are unranked, the guide is helpful in that it discusses the strengths of particular schools and also allows you to see how your LSAT and GPA fit in with applicants from previous years. The site’s handy dandy UGPA (undergraduate GPA) and LSAT calculator also allows you to see what your admission chances to individual law schools are.
  • U.S. News and World Report. On recommendation from Boyfriend, I registered for online access to America’s Best Graduate Schools. The registration allows you to see the rankings of individual schools, and narrow down choices based on LSAT percentiles, GPA, state, and the like. A great feature is the ability to save schools you are particularly interested in so you can compare them later. Note: Some have challenged the validity of the law school rankings found on the site. You can read about that here and here.
  • Law School Numbers (LSN). This networking site aggregates user-submitted LSAT, GPA and school application information into easy-to-read databases and graphs. You can search for people with “numbers” (LSAT/GPA) similar to yours and can see how well they’re doing at specific schools. You can see if applicants listed themselves as URMs (underrepresented minorities) or Ns (nontraditional students). You can look at individual schools and see exactly who they are admitting based on numbers. Sometimes applicants even list their “softs”, factors apart from numbers that are also listed on their application. If the users are diligent, you can see the progress of their applications from sent, complete (when their package is ready for review at the law school), and when a decision was made. The admitted, waitlisted, and rejected users can then be plotted on a scatter plot graph. I don’t like this graph. It’s scary, but it could be useful for some people.
  • www.hourumd.com. You can input your LSAT score and GPA into this site, and your probabilty of admittance into individual schools is calculated based on information gathered from the LSN database. I’ve been reading that LSN statistics tend to be on the higher end, so I’m uncertain of how much weight you should put in this probability thingy. I say, if you feel good about submitting your application to a particular school, just send it in. It won’t hurt and you won’t be asking “what if?” later on. Also, if you find out what “hourumd” stands for, let me know.
  • Chiashu. This site is similar in concept to LSN, but may have a different set of users. It’s not as pretty as LSN, but it does have a function that allows you to see decision and rejection numbers, and how many of each there were per month, plotted on a line graph.
  • Law School Discussion. If you have questions for current law school students, or other prospective applicants, this is a great resource. There are individual forums for law school applications and preparing for the LSAT. Once you’re admitted (yey!), there are also individual boards for admitted students in general and for specific schools.
  • Top Law Schools. I haven’t used this site much, but it also has a list of law schools and a message board for prospective students.

Photo: Vito / Flickr

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Image from http://www.ladyofthecake.com

Image from http://www.ladyofthecake.com

If you’ve already read the “About” section of this blawg, then you already know my significant other is also pursuing a law degree. Scary. I know. So imagine the fear I had when I first learned he would be going to law school.

From what I had heard on blawgs and from people who had a niece whose friend’s boyfriend’s best friend was in law school (or something of that sort, too lazy to diagram), law school would KILL the relationship. Or would turn my significant other into an unattractive, smelly, unshorn, libido-crushing monk two weeks into his first 1L semester. And that’s where author Scott Turow’s “1L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School” came in.

Turow’s account at the Ivy may be somewhat dated (he attended in the ’70s), and his mere admission into the hallowed halls of Harvard Law were something me and my LSAT score could only dream about, but the book gave me a realistic idea of what my boyfriend and our relationship would be facing. School work would be hard, but it could be managed. The relationship would need to be adjusted, but it could be maintained. Factor into that the fact that me and the boyfriend had been dating for an long, long, long time (almost five years when he started in fall 2008), and we had a pretty good shot at survival.

And for those of you who plan on strapping on a pair of steel undies and throwing away the key for three years, the book can also help you filter through the mixed messages of gunners, whose goal is to make you soil yourself with stories of the first year, and well-meaning-but-misled advice givers, and develop a healthy perspective on what to expect.

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