Last updated: July 7, 2013
by Andy Cornblatt
Georgetown University Law Center
"The law school admissions process is so impersonal - I send in my application and answer all the questions, but pieces of paper just can't represent who I am. Why can't law schools have evaluative interviews like colleges do?"
Law school admissions officers have heard this criticism time and again, and I think that most of us are sympathetic to the concern voiced above. In an ideal world, we would love the opportunity to interview everybody and have the results of that interview play an important role in the decision making process.
Unfortunately, we live in the world of the practical not the ideal. Law school representatives simply cannot afford to travel around the country to interview each applicant individually. Most under-graduate schools that have the same number of applicants as law schools do have admissions staffs that are five or six times larger. While it might be possible to interview those applicants who live near a particular law school, it is not equitable to give those people an advantage that people thousands of miles away do not have.
Having said all of this, I do recommend that applicant’s visit their top choice schools if they can afford the time and money to do so. Most law schools do not have evaluative interviews, but they will schedule appointments for informational meetings. While these meetings may not give people the optimal opportunity, they do give them the chance to raise and discuss aspects of their application that might otherwise go unnoticed. In addition, visits to law schools allow you to look at the school, talk to the students, and generally get a sense of whether you would be happy spending the next three years there.
These meetings can be arranged by a phone call to Admissions Offices to set up an appointment. Do not simply drop by and expect to be able to see somebody. These are professional offices and should be treated as such. There is no particular strategy to follow when preparing for these meetings. Have questions ready about the school and be prepared to speak briefly on your behalf. This is particularly true for anyone on a waiting list who visits a school to find out information about her/his chances. There is a fine line between being very interested in attending a particular school and going overboard in your enthusiasm, just as there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Be careful.
Finally I strongly recommend that you visit schools in which you are interested and where you have been accepted. While others may envy your alternatives, the choice can be a very difficult one. Talk to people at the school with what is now a more critical point of view. You are now in the delicious position of interviewing the school rather than vice versa.