The number of applications for admission to the Law School exceeds the number of places in the entering class. Based upon their academic records and LSAT scores, a very high percentage of the applicants qualify for admission. While the Law School could choose its class solely on the basis of academic potential, the faculty has concluded that neither the public nor the profession would be best served by an admission process that is limited to selecting only those most likely to achieve academically. The faculty believes the educational process at the Law School and the legal profession are best served by an admission process that results in the selection of a diverse and talented student body and, to that end, has formulated an admission policy that takes into consideration individual skills and characteristics that might not necessarily be directly related to academic potential.
Therefore, admission to the Law School will be granted to those applicants who, in the opinion of the admission personnel, will make the most significant contribution to society as members of the legal profession. Factors used in making admission decisions include: (1) the applicant's general academic ability based upon a careful examination of the undergraduate (and graduate, if any) transcript, including factors such as the grade-point average, the quality of the school attended, the difficulty of the major or department in which the degree was earned, the hours spent on outside employment or other time-consuming extracurricular activities, and the length of time elapsed since graduation; (2) the applicant's capacity for the academic study of law based largely upon the LSAT score and writing sample; and (3) other relevant personal qualities and characteristics of the applicant, including factors such as the location of the applicant's permanent residence, the applicant's career goals, ethnic status, cultural, economic, and educational background and experiences, moral character, leadership qualities, commitment to community service, ability to undertake independent and creative research, and communication skills. The applicant should discuss his or her own characteristics and qualities in the personal statement required as part of the admission process and should seek to have those persons writing letters of recommendation discuss such factors.
An offer of admission to the school is valid only for the year stated in the notice of admission. An admitted applicant who does not enroll that year may reapply by filing the application for a subsequent year. An applicant who reapplies is considered with other students applying that year. Admission in one year does not ensure admission for a subsequent year.
An admitted applicant can request a deferral of enrollment. The Law School will consider deferment requests on an individual basis if a written request is submitted with an explanatory statement. William & Mary typically grants deferred enrollment for one year if the candidate presents a compelling circumstance. Candidates serving in the military, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Teach for America, and those with other special considerations may request two-year deferments. Detailed instructions for deferment are provided at the time the request is granted. Candidates not granted deferred enrollment may reapply for admission in the subsequent year(s).
Applicants who do not enroll at William & Mary or at any other law school may reapply to William & Mary. Reapplying candidates must complete a new application form and submit the application fee.
Each state has its own bar registration and admission rules. Those who intend to practice law are encouraged to become acquainted with the rules in any state in which they plan to practice. Most jurisdictions have standards for character and fitness to practice requiring full disclosure of past indiscretions by candidates applying for admission to the bar. Information on requirements may be obtained from the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Visit their website for a list of Bar Admission Offices.