How to Get In: University of Notre Dame Law School

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers.


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 can be very helpful in assessing how the applicant will perform as a student especially if the letter is from a professor or employer and addresses specific skills that could be helpful for law school. We appreciate letters that can also comment on an applicant's character as well as his/her academic/work performance. Letters from prominent figures who do not know the applicant are not helpful.

7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?

The majority of applicants submit applications online through LSAC. If the applicant has all of the required elements on file with LSAC (LSAT score, transcripts, two letters of recommendation), the application file is mailed to us. Typically within seven to 10 days the application is received, processed, and considered complete and ready for review. Depending on when the application is filed, a decision will be mailed in about eight weeks from the time the application is complete. If an application is received in the early part of the cycle, a decision may be received in four to six weeks; however, if an application is filed near the deadline, it may take about 10 weeks for a decision.

8. Which firms/organizations recruit heavily from your school? Which ones hire the highest percentage of your graduates?

Notre Dame students are recruited by a diverse array of the nation's top law firms, government agencies, and public-interest organizations, from around the country— from New York City to Los Angeles. Our graduates are contributors and leaders in the profession at all levels and in every specialty and discipline. Some of the private firms that hire the highest percentage of our graduates include Baker & Hostetler, Bryan Cave, Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, Mayer Brown, McGuire Woods, Sidley Austin, White & Case, and Winston & Strawn.

9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?

Mistakes in the application are usually found in the essays. Applicants should be very careful to follow application instructions and proofread everything submitted in the application. Essays that are not well structured (e.g.,s a narrative résumé) or that rave about another law school are usually not viewed favorably. Finding and replacing the law school name in an essay is usually not effective. Applicants should draft a separate essay for each school.

10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?

With our smaller class size and our desire to enroll a dynamic class filled with people of varied backgrounds and experiences, Notre Dame Law School does not have a typical student. We are not looking for specific activities, internships, work experiences, or backgrounds. Rather, we aim to enroll a very diverse class in every sense of the word. There are common factors in those students admitted to NDLS—strong academic ability, demonstrated leadership in extracurricular, internship, or work experiences, and a commitment to serving others. We aim to enroll a group of students that will both challenge and complement each other.