The following requirements apply only to applicants for admission as first-year law students in the day or evening division. The School of Law has different requirements for Transfer Students, Visiting Students, Non-degree Students, and LLM Students.
The Juris Doctor Degree Program
UDC David A. Clarke School of Law's Juris Doctor (J.D.) Program enrolls first-year students for the Fall semester only. The School of Law offers a traditional three-year, full-time J.D. Program and a four-year, part-time J.D. Program. The application is the same for both programs.
Enrolling students must have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
Character and Moral Fitness
Applicants should be aware that a license to practice law requires admission to the bar. 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.
A complete application to UDC-DCSL consists of the Application for Admission, with a personal statement and response to the essay question included; the $35.00 application fee; a Law School Report from LSAC's Credential Assemby Service, which includes all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the LSAT score; and a Declaration of Residency from candidates claiming District residency.
The Credential Assembly Service
All applicants must register with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate academic work, and all letters of recommendation, should be submitted directly to CAS rather than the School of Law. CAS provides a Law School Report that includes the candidate's LSAT score, copies of all transcripts, analysis of transcripts, and copies of all recommendations. The LSAC law school code for UDC-DCSL is 5245.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is administered four times a year. All applicants must have taken the test within five years of the Fall semester they plan to enroll. The LSAT administered in February is typically the last one that will be accepted for Fall admission. The score is considered by the School's Admission Committee in tandem with other academic and non-academic information provided in the application. Applicants should provide any information that would be helpful to the Committee in reviewing their LSAT scores, and retake the test if their scores are significantly inconsistent with previous test performance. Candidates taking multiple tests should consider including such information with their applications.
LSAC contact information is as follows:
Law School Admission Council
P. O. Box 2000
Newtown, Pennsylvania 18940-0998
The Academic Record
The Admission Committee carefully reviews each candidate's academic record. Except for a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, no specific academic preparation is required for admission, and the academic backgrounds of entering students are as diverse as are their life experiences. The Committee looks for breadth and depth of coursework, including courses that require significant amounts of writing and reading, and courses that are analytically demanding. It reviews trends in grades, competitiveness of environment, and class rank.
The Admission Committee will identify some applicants who show academic potential but who require additional preparation before beginning their first-year at UDC-DCSL. These candidates will be admitted conditionally to an academic success program.
Applicants with Foreign Credentials
Applicants whose baccalaureate degrees were earned in universities outside the United States must have their transcripts evaluated by LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Those candidates whose study was in a language other than English may be required to submit, in addition to the LSAT, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service.
Each applicant must submit two recommendations -- an academic reference letter and a second letter of reference. The information contained in these recommendations plays an important role in the selection process. The recommenders should be individuals who know the applicant's academic work and personal qualities well.
The academic recommendation must be written by a faculty member from the undergraduate, graduate, or professional school most recently attended by the applicant. Candidates whose academic work was completed more than five years ago may substitute a letter from a recent employer.
The second letter of recommendation should be written by someone who can provide information about the candidate's potential to contribute positively to the law school community and legal profession, e.g., an employer, a co-worker, a friend or professor.
The two required recommendations must be submitted directly to LSAC's Credential Assemby Service (CAS). The School of Law will accept up to three letters of recommendation and one evaluation through CAS.
Candidates are required to submit a personal statement and a response to an essay question listed on the application for admission. The Admission Committee encourages candidates to submit any additional information that might be helpful in making thoughtful decisions on their applications.
The Committee does not routinely use interviews in making admission decisions, but may occasionally invite a candidate for an interview.
The Office of Admission encourages prospective applicants to visit the School of Law and will arrange tours and class visits by appointment. The Office of Admission also holds Information Sessions, at which time questions about the school, the application process, the financial aid program, and an applicant's individual situation will be answered. The School of Law holds Law Day-Open House Programs twice a year – Fall Law Day in November and Spring Law Day in March.
The application fee is $35.00. The application fee is non-refundable and not applied toward the tuition or fees of enrolling students.
The application fee will be waived automatically for applicants who complete the Application for Admission on-line through LSAC by February 15th. An applicant who wishes to be considered for a waiver may submit a written request to the Office of Admission. If approved, the Office of Admission will send the applicant a fee waiver code.
Declaration of Residency
UDC-DCSL is the District of Columbia's public law school. Tuition is, therefore, lower for residents of the District than for students who are from outside of the District. In order to qualify for resident tuition rates, a student must have lived in the District for twelve months prior to the first day of classes.
Residency is determined by a number of factors including payment of income tax in the District, motor vehicle registration, voter registration, receipt of public benefits for the twelve months prior to registration, lease or mortgage agreement, and jury service.
Applicants who wish to qualify for District tuition rates must complete a Declaration of Residency Form (.pdf) and submit supporting documentation. The initial determination of residency occurs during the admission process. Residency is reviewed annually thereafter. Students must maintain residency to remain eligible for District tuition rates.
Students who matriculate at the School of Law as non-D.C. residents may be considered for District residency after residing in the District of Columbia for twelve months, which may occur in the Spring semester, and providing documents to support their claim.
Completing the Application
For a summary of required application materials, and to begin the application process, go to First Year Student Applicants.