6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?
Letters of recommendation help the Admissions Committee evaluate an applicant's academic competence and ethical character, evaluate one's ability to relate to people and society, and assess an applicant's professional promise as a lawyer. Letters should be written by people who are well acquainted with the applicant and who can attest to his or her ability to enter a competitive professional academic program. Letters that speak to one's analytical, critical thinking, writing, problem solving, and people skills are most helpful. We discourage applicants from sending letters of recommendations from friends and relatives, or from prominent individuals or attorneys who have little personal knowledge of the applicant, as they do not provide useful information to the Admissions Committee.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
Applicants can apply anytime between October 1 and March 1. International applicants or applicants who completed their undergraduate programs outside of the U.S. or Canada should complete their applications no later than January 15. It is in an applicant's best interest to apply early in the process for the best chances of admission and scholarship consideration.
Decisions are made on a rolling basis and files are reviewed in the order that they are completed (meaning that all required materials have been received at the Law School and the file is ready to be reviewed). Applicants can expect to receive a decision anywhere from four to eight weeks after their files are completed. The first decisions are mailed in December.
8. Which firms/organizations recruit heavily from your school? Which ones hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Along with firms, government agencies, and non-profits from around the country, the large Portland law firms recruit heavily at Lewis & Clark Law School. In addition, a number of federal and state government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service, HUD, and the Oregon Department of Justice, recruit heavily at the Law School. Our graduates also go into public service and public interest work at a higher rate than the national average.
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Common mistakes include applying late in the process when space and scholarships are sparse; not reading the application instructions and thus not providing what is ask for; not proofing the essay and/or misunderstanding what the committee wants to know; not explaining things like poor grades or not providing a thorough explanation in the Character and Fitness portion of the application if there are issues there to be addressed; and not preparing fully for the LSAT. Other mistakes are not researching law schools well enough before applying, applying to too many law schools, or applying to schools only because they offer a fee waiver. This usually results in an application that is generic and not tailored to the individual law schools.
10. Can you describe the archetype student for your school?
There is no archetypical student at Lewis & Clark Law School. Ultimately, we aim to enroll a class filled with people who will succeed and thrive here, and who contribute a variety of perspectives and experiences.