Juris Doctor Application Instructions

2017-2018

Introduction

Notre Dame Law School (NDLS) admits new Juris Doctor students for the fall term only and begins accepting applications on September 1 for the next fall entering class. Given the competitive nature of the applicant pool and NDLS’s rolling processes for both admissions and scholarship, the Admissions Committee recommends that prospective students read the following directions closely and consider applying early in the admission cycle.

Standards for Admission

The Admissions Committee seeks to enroll a highly qualified and diverse class that will help the Law School achieve its mission of educating lawyers who will serve the good of the human family.

To that end, the Admissions Committee evaluates candidates in a holistic manner and considers an array of factors including, but not limited to, the following: academic achievement; undergraduate and graduate coursework; leadership skills; community involvement; overcoming adversity; work and life experiences; and a specific interest in the study and practice of law. When completing the application, students are encouraged to consider how they may address the factors listed above. While it is not necessary to address each item in the application, many of our most competitive applicants highlight the factors they believe are the strongest, address a specific interest in the study and practice of law, and indicate how NDLS will assist them in achieving their personal and professional goals.

Application Dates

Regular Decision applications may be submitted beginning September 1; the application deadline is March 15. All supporting documents (i.e., letters of recommendation, LSAT scores, etc.) must be on file by March 25.

Early Decision applications may be submitted beginning September 1; the application deadline is January 5. All supporting documents must be on file by January 12.

To ensure an expeditious review, the Admissions Committee requires applicants to include all documents (i.e., essays, addenda, etc.) at the time of submission.

Because NDLS uses a rolling process for both admissions and scholarship, applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible beginning September 1. If applying via Early Decision, students must submit a complete application by November 15 in order to receive a decision by late-December.

Early Decision vs. Regular Decision

Students interested in attending Notre Dame Law School may apply via either Early or Regular Decision.

Early Decision is a binding process designed for applicants who have researched their law school options and have determined that NDLS is their top choice. Applying to NDLS via Early Decision allows students to express their level of interest in attending the Law School. The Admissions Committee gives priority review to Early Decision applications. Students admitted via Early Decision will receive information regarding their scholarship offer (if any) at the time of admission; students admitted via Regular Decision will learn of their scholarship status beginning in mid-February.

In order to receive a decision by late-December, students must submit a complete Early Decision application by November 15.

Students who apply via Early Decision and plan to sit for the December LSAT may not receive a decision until after those scores become available in early-January.

The Admissions Committee may withhold decisions on Early Decision applicants who are current undergraduates until after receiving their fall semester/quarter grades.

As part of the Early Decision application process, students must agree to the following:

1. The student will not have an active binding early-decision application to another law school. The student may have active applications to other law schools via non-binding early admissions processes or via regular action/decision admissions processes.
2. If admitted to NDLS via binding Early Decision, the student will provide their confirmation deposit within 10 business days.
3. If admitted to NDLS via binding Early Decision, the student will immediately withdraw all pending applications to other law schools and will not initiate further applications during the admissions cycle.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the void and cancellation of any admission and scholarship offers from Notre Dame Law School.

Students who apply via Early Decision may be admitted, denied, or offered a place on the waitlist. Students who are offered a place on the waitlist and are later admitted to Notre Dame Law School do not have to abide by the above requirements.

LSAC Application vs. Notre Dame Law School Application

Students interested in Notre Dame Law School may choose to apply via two application forms – the LSAC Application or the Notre Dame Law School Application (NDLS App).

Please note that the Office of Admissions still requires that applicants who use the NDLS App also submit all required documents as outlined below. A representative will contact the applicant following the submission of the NDLS App to complete this process.

While the NDLS App comes with an automatic fee waiver, the Law School cannot waive any fees associated with services rendered by LSAC such as submitting CAS Reports or sitting for the LSAT.

Applicants may use either the LSAC or NDLS applications to apply for Early or Regular Decision.

Further information about the NDLS App may be found here.

Application Fee

The fee for applying to Notre Dame Law School via the LSAC Application is $75 US and may be paid by credit card, check, or money order. This fee is non refundable.

If paying by check or money order, please make these documents payable to “Notre Dame Law School.” Applicants must also submit the Certification Letter with their check or money order.

A fee waiver is available for some applicants including those for whom this fee presents a burden as well as those who have one or more years of full-time service in the U.S. military, Alliance for Catholic Education, AmeriCorps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Peace Corps, or Teach for America.

Application Materials

A complete application to Notre Dame Law School is composed of the following required documents:
1. This application form
2. Personal statement
3. Resume
4. Two letters of recommendation
5. LSAT
6. Transcripts
7. LSAC Law School CAS report
8. Character and Fitness information
9. TOEFL
10. Early Decision contract (for those applying Early Decision)

The following are optional or may be requested of a candidate by the Admissions Committee:
1. “Why Notre Dame Law School?” Statement
2. “Different Kind of Lawyer” Statement
3. Addenda
4. Interview

Required Documents

Application Form

Students should answer all questions on the application form. If a question does not apply to a student – or if the student would prefer not to answer an optional question – the student may indicate as such.

Personal Statement

The Admissions Committee gives considerable emphasis in its evaluation to the personal statement. The statement should provide the Admissions Committee with insights about the applicant and the applicant’s interest in pursuing a legal education. Applicants often use the personal statement to provide further insight into their personality, background, personal interests, or matters that are not fully present in other parts of the application.

The personal statement must be the applicant’s original work in their own words. It should be no more than two double-spaced pages. The personal statement must be included with the application at the time of submission. The personal statement’s header must include the student’s name, LSAC account number, and be titled “Personal Statement.”

For further information regarding formatting preferences of the Admissions Committee, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Resume

An applicant’s resume should highlight their educational, professional, leadership, and service experiences. The applicant may also wish to highlight honors, awards, or special skills. There is no page limit for the resume but one to two pages is typical.

For further information regarding formatting preferences of the Admissions Committee, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Two Letters of Recommendation

The Admissions Committee requires applicants to submit two letters of recommendation. Applicants may submit up to four letters if desired.

The letters of recommendation should come from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s candidacy both in terms of academic skills as well as personal qualities. At least one recommendation – preferably both – should come from an individual who instructed the applicant in either an undergraduate or graduate course. The Admissions Committee recognizes that some applicants, especially those who graduated from college a number of years ago, may have difficulty meeting this request. In such cases, letters from employers/supervisors or others who have worked closely with the applicant are acceptable substitutes.

Applicants are required to use the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service that is part of the Credential Assembly Service registration. LSAC will include these letters with the CAS report. Please note that LSAC will not release the CAS report until all initial recommenders have submitted their letters. LSAC will send further CAS reports if additional recommenders submit letters at a later time.

For further information regarding formatting preferences of the Admissions Committee, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The Office of Admissions recommends that applicants take the LSAT within a year of applying to the Law School. The Admissions Committee should receive the results of the December 2017 exam with sufficient time so as to be considered as part of an Early Decision application. The Admissions Committee should receive the results of the February 2018 exam with sufficient time so as to be considered as part of a Regular Decision application. The Admissions Committee may consider the results of the June 2018 exam for applicants who are offered a place on our waitlist.

The Admissions Committee does not average multiple LSAT scores together but, rather, only considers an applicant’s highest LSAT score.

LSAC considers an LSAT score to be valid for five admissions cycles after the exam. The earliest LSAT that may be considered in the 2017-2018 admissions cycle is the June 2012 exam. LSAC will not provide records for any exams taken prior to June 2012.

If a student submits an application to Notre Dame Law School and has already registered for a future LSAT, LSAC will inform the Office of Admissions of the student’s plans to sit for that exam. The Admissions Committee will withhold evaluating the student’s application until the results of that future LSAT are available.

If a student submits an application to Notre Dame Law School and then registers for a future exam, the student must notify the Office of Admissions of their new plans via email at bulletin@nd.edu.

Transcripts

The Admissions Committee considers not only the applicant’s overall grades but also their coursework, major(s), minor(s), and concentrations. Please note that LSAC will standardize an applicant’s GPA per their regulations. This GPA will include all coursework completed towards the applicant’s initial bachelors degree. While neither coursework for subsequent bachelors degrees nor for advanced degrees is factored into the LSAC-calculated GPA, the Admissions Committee will consider these further studies in its evaluation. Please submit all post-secondary transcripts to LSAC so as to be included in the CAS report.

The Admissions Committee strongly encourages students who apply during the course of their senior year of college to provide updated transcripts to LSAC at the completion of each subsequent academic semester or quarter. LSAC will send further CAS reports upon receipt of such transcripts.

Students may address any concerns regarding their coursework or grades in the Addenda section of the application.

LSAC Law School Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report

Notre Dame Law School requires each applicant to register with LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. Notre Dame’s number for use of the service is 1841. A candidate’s CAS report will include their LSAT scores, LSAT writing sections, all post-secondary transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Please note that LSAC charges a one-time registration fee of $185 for this service and, additionally, $35 per law school to which the student applies. More information regarding the CAS Report can be found on LSAC’s website.

Please do not send LSAT score reports, transcripts, or letters of recommendation directly to Notre Dame Law School unless specifically requested by the Office of Admissions.

Character and Fitness Information

If a student answers “Yes” to either of the Character and Fitness questions on this application, the student must provide a full explanation of the circumstances involved and the resolution to the situation(s) in question.

If a student applies to NDLS and later engages in an action that would have led the student to answer “Yes” to either of the Character and Fitness questions, the student must update the Office of Admissions regarding the incident. Please send updates to bulletin@nd.edu.

Students should double-space this explanation and label the attachment with their name, LSAC account number, and use the title “Character and Fitness” in the statement’s header.

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners

TOEFL

Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must take the TOEFL offered by ETS. Applicants who have received a post-secondary degree (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., M.B.A., etc.) from a college or university in the United States are exempt from this requirement. If an applicant has an extraordinary ability for the English language (e.g., have worked as a translator, taught English, received a post-secondary degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country, etc.), they may request a waiver from this requirement. Applicants should submit this request to the Office of Admissions at bulletin@nd.edu.

The Admissions Committee prefers that an applicant sit for the TOEFL within one year of the time that they apply to the Law School. ETS will report scores up to two years after a test date.

Applicants must have copies of the official TOEFL report forwarded to LSAC directly from ETS. Please do not send official score reports to Notre Dame Law School unless specifically requested by the Office of Admissions.

Early Decision Contract (for those applying Early Decision)

Students applying to Notre Dame Law School via Early Decision must agree to the conditions outlined by the Early Decision contract. The conditions are as follows:

1. The student will not have an active binding early-decision application to another law school. The student may have active applications to other law schools via a non-binding early admissions process or via regular action/decision admissions processes.
2. If admitted to NDLS via binding Early Decision, the student will provide their confirmation deposit within 10 business days.
3. If admitted to NDLS via binding Early Decision, the student will immediately withdraw all pending applications to other law schools and will not initiate further applications during the admissions cycle.

If admitted to NDLS via binding Early Decision, the student will immediately withdraw all pending applications to other law schools and will not initiate further applications during the admissions cycle.

Optional Documents

“Why Notre Dame Law School?” Statement

The Admissions Committee strongly encourages applicants to use this optional statement as an opportunity to express a specific interest in Notre Dame Law School. Applicants may wish to address how their background, experiences, personal character, and/or career aspirations align with the legal education that NDLS provides and how the Law School can assist them with both their professional and personal formation.

The “Why Notre Dame Law School?” statement must be the applicant’s own work in their own words. It should be no more than two double-spaced pages. If an applicant plans on providing this statement, it must be included with their application at the time of submission. The statement’s header must include the applicant’s name, LSAC account number, and be titled “Why NDLS Statement.”

For further information regarding formatting preferences of the Admissions Committee, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

“Different Kind of Lawyer” Statement

The mission of Notre Dame Law School is to educate a “Different Kind of Lawyer”: one that realizes that the practice of law is not an end in itself. Students at the Law School come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and are encourage to broaden their social, spiritual, and personal lives while honing their intellectual and professional skills to serve the good of all. This perspective encourages robust debate on difficult questions of policy, values, and faith – both inside and outside the classroom. How will your unique experiences and goals contribute to the Law School’s mission to educate a different kind of lawyer?

The “Different Kind of Lawyer” statement must be the applicant’s own work in their own words. It should be no more than two double-spaced pages. If an applicant plans on providing this statement, it must be included with their application at the time of submission. The statement’s header must include the applicant’s name, LSAC account number, and be titled “DKL Statement.”

For further information regarding formatting preferences of the Admissions Committee, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Addenda

If an applicant believes the Admissions Committee would benefit from additional information about their candidacy that is not specifically and/or fully addressed elsewhere in the application, the applicant is welcome to provide further notes via the Addenda. Examples of information typically provided in this section of the application include academic or LSAT explanations, further information regarding specific items on an applicant’s resume or about the applicant’s background, and eligibility for various veterans benefits such as the Yellow Ribbon program.

Please double-space the addenda and label the attachment with your name, LSAC account number, and use the title “Addenda” in the header.

Interview

The Admissions Committee may request an interview with selected candidates either prior to or after submission of an application. Interviews may be conducted in person or via telephone. Applicants who are invited to interview will be contacted by the Admissions Committee with instructions.

Due to the volume of applications, the Admissions Committee cannot consider requests by applicants for interviews.

Further Information

Scholarship Process

Notre Dame Law School is committed to providing a legal education of the highest quality at a tuition structure that compares favorably to other nationally regarded private law schools. Through the generosity of alumni and friends of the Law School, financial assistance in the form of scholarship may be available to members of each entering class.

Every applicant admitted to the Law School is considered for general merit-based scholarship. No separate application is required for consideration. Funds are awarded at the time of admission for candidates admitted via Early Decision and on a rolling basis beginning in mid-February for candidates admitted via Regular Decision. The Admissions and Scholarship committees encourage students to apply early in the admissions cycle so as to maximize their potential for a scholarship offer.

Students are encouraged to research and apply for outside scholarships that may provide further assistance. The Law School maintains a database of external scholarships

Loan Assistance

In order to qualify for Federal loan programs, applicants must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Notre Dame’s School Code is 001840. The University’s Office of Financial Aid requests that applicants submit their FAFSA by February 28.

Applicants can find more information regarding Federal loans at the Office of Financial Aid’s website.

Yellow Ribbon Program

Notre Dame Law School is a proud participant in the Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program. Veterans must be 100 percent Post 9/11-eligible in order to qualify. The Law School will contribute funds that – when combined with matching dollars from the Veterans Administration and support from the Post 9/11 GI Bill – will equal the cost of tuition and mandatory fees.

The Admissions and Scholarship committees encourage relevant applicants to identify their Post 9/11 status in the Addenda section of the application. The Office of Admissions may reach out to candidates for further information as needed.

For more information on this program, please contact the NDLS Admissions Office at 574-631-6626 or the University’s Office of Financial Aid at 574-631-6436.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

In compliance with federal law and the University of Notre Dame’s Notice of Non-Discrimination, Notre Dame Law School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or age in the administration of any of its educational programs, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school-administered programs, or in employment.

Notre Dame is committed to building an inclusive community and welcomes all individuals. All prospective students are encouraged to read the University’s Spirit of Inclusion statement as well as the University’s policies for reporting discriminatory harassment.

No sexual or discriminatory harassment is tolerated at the University of Notre Dame and all incidents of intolerant or disrespectful conduct will be addressed. The University is dedicated to responding quickly and thoroughly to all reports of sexual or discriminatory harassment, and to enforcing the University’s non-retaliation policy to protect those who report and/or are involved in an investigation of sexual or discriminatory harassment.

As a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), Notre Dame Law School complies with the provision of AALS Bylaw 6-3 that requires member schools to provide equality of opportunity in legal education for all persons. Notre Dame Law School is committed to building an inclusive community and welcomes all people regardless of gender (including identity and expression), religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social or economic class, nationality, disability, or age.

The University has designated the Director of its Office of Institutional Equity to handle all inquiries regarding its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX and under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Title IX and Section 504 coordinator may be contacted as follows:

Director
Office of Institutional Equity
100 Grace Hall, University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
574-631-0444