COVID-19 and Law School Implications FAQ

Many of you may have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic, and the responses to it, might affect various aspects of the law school admissions process and law school planning. This FAQ is intended to answer some of those questions and will be updated regularly with new information as circumstances change and information becomes available. Due to things happening and changing so quickly, if you have applications pending right now, you should not hesitate to contact individual law schools for the most accurate information about their own admissions process.

What about the LSAT?

Update July 20, 2020: The August LSAT (LSAT-Flex) will take place remotely. This will be an undisclosed test. LSAC is targeting Friday, September 18 as the score release date. Any candidate who is already registered for the August 29 LSAT may either take the August LSAT-Flex or opt out and receive a coupon which can be applied to any future test between October 2020 and April 2021. Current August registrants should visit their LSAC account and submit the online form with their choice. Registrants may withdraw from the August LSAT-Flex any time up to August 21, 2020 and receive the coupon. After the withdrawal deadline, no coupon will be provided. More information about next steps for candidates can be found on LSAC's Introducing LSAT-Flex page.
In addition, LSAC has created a new score preview option for first-time test takers who wish to see their score before deciding whether or not to keep it as part of their LSAC transcript and report it to schools. Score preview will cost $45 for candidates who sign up prior to the first day of testing for a given test administration, or candidates may sign up during a specified time period after testing has concluded for $75. This feature will be available for purchase starting around August 1. You can learn more About Score Preview on LSAC's website.
Finally, LSAC is reinstating the requirement that all test takers must have a completed LSAT Writing sample on file before they will receive their score for the August LSAT-Flex or future tests. To help candidates complete the writing portion of their test, LSAC will open LSAT Writing eight (8) days prior to every test administration. Candidates may complete their LSAT Writing at the time and date that is most convenient to them, but LSAC will not release scores to candidates or schools until a candidate has a completed writing sample in their file. You can learn more About LSAT Writing on LSAC's website.

Update June 1, 2020: The in-person July LSAT has been replaced by the online LSAT-Flex, which will occur the week of July 12. Scores will be available on July 30. You can find more information about the LSAT-Flex at LSAT-Flex Frequently-Asked-Questions page, and more general information about 2020-2021 LSAT registration at LSAC.org. If you would like to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the LSAT-Flex, LSAT recommends using the free Official LSAT Prep practice tests available on LSAC's LawHub.

Update April 29, 2020: The June in-person LSAT has been cancelled. LSAC will be offering the June "LSAT-Flex" online the week of June 14. Scores are for the June LSAT-Flex are scheduled to be released on June 30. June test registrants should visit their LSAC accounts and submit the online form to confirm interest in taking the June LSAT-Flex, or to receive a coupon for a future test between July 2020 and April 2021. June registrants who do not submit the online form will be automatically registered for the June LSAT-Flex. For more information about the LSAT-Flex, please visit LSAC's LSAT-Flex Frequently-Asked-Questions.

Update April 17, 2020: The May LSAT-Flex will take place the week of May 18. LSAC will contact students via email with scheduling instructions about signing up for a time the week of May 18 to take the test. The sign-up process will begin on April 22. The deadline for April registrants to let LSAC know whether you intend to take the May LSAT-Flex has been extended to April 17 @ 11:59 pm (EST). Students who take the May LSAT-Flex are currently scheduled to receive their LSAT scores by June 5. For additional information on the LSAT-Flex, please see LSAC's LSAT-Flex Information Page, and its "Top Ten Questions About the LSAT-Flex" on its Law Blog.

Update April 7, 2020: The in-person April LSAT has been cancelled. All students registered for the April LSAT will be automatically registered to take the LSAT-Flex, an online remotely proctored version of the LSAT that will be administered some time during the second half of May. The exact date of the May LSAT-Flex will be released by April 17. If you were scheduled to take the April LSAT and want to proceed with the May LSAT-Flex, you should fill out the April 2020 Rescheduling Options online form with LSAC. April registrants who do not wish to take the LSAT-Flex in May should also use the April 2020 Rescheduling Options online form to indicate that they would prefer to receive a coupon to use for a different LSAT date. This coupon will cover the full price of the test date it is used for. The Rescheduling Options form must be submitted no later than April 15, 2020, at 11:59 pm (ET).

The March 30th LSAT has been cancelled. Everyone who signed up for that date has been automatically switched to the April 25th administration. Currently, the April and summer LSATs are moving forward as scheduled. With a still evolving situation, it's hard to know right now whether additional public health measures will make the April test possible. As a result, LSAC is waiving the test date change fee for all April test registrants so that they can move to the June or July test administration. LSAC is also currently exploring options to administer the LSAT in alternative ways, which may include secure remote-proctored tests, additional summer administrations, etc. Please check LSAC's LSAT page regularly for updated and new information on the LSAT.

How will law schools view changing my courses to credit/no-credit this semester? What about incompletes and withdrawals?

Miami is allowing students flexibility this semester to change many of their courses to credit/no credit (i.e., pass/fail). You should feel free to take advantage of the credit/no credit option if it would be helpful to you, and you will not be penalized for doing so. Law schools recognize this is an unprecedented time and will take that into account when they are reviewing your transcript for law school admissions. Everyone is in the same boat. Indeed, many law schools themselves are allowing their law students to pursue the pass/fail option for their courses this semester. For law school admissions purposes, courses for which you receive "credit" (represented as "X" on your transcript) will not factor into your GPA for law school admission. But, in the past, courses for which you receive "no credit" (represented as "Y" on your transcript) have been converted to a failing grade for law school admissions, so you should make every effort to receive credit for the classes you change to credit/no credit. For additional information on changing your courses to credit/no credit, see Miami's One Stop page:

In addition, the Law School Admission Council has offered the following advice and information as it relates to credit/no-credit grades this semester:

Law schools are fully aware of and understand that many undergraduate schools are going to some version of a credit/no-credit grading system for Spring 2020. In fact, many law schools are making the same decision for their current students. Law schools will be understanding of the situation and will not penalize any applicant for having credit/no-credit grades. LSAC will place a letter in the CAS report of every applicant enrolled during Spring 2020, to remind law schools going forward that the semester was one in which many schools changed their grading systems in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you choose to take an incomplete (IU) or withdraw (W) from a course, we generally don't expect that law schools will hold that against you either. Although they appear on your transcript, incompletes and withdrawals are omitted from your GPA. However, you should be mindful that several incompletes or "W"s throughout your transcript could raise a flag that you may need to explain in your law school application by way of an addendum.

Will law schools take into account how the pandemic has impacted LSAT test prep and might impact test experiences going forward?

Remember that the admissions process is never just a numbers game, even as the LSAT and GPA weigh heavily in decision-making. Admissions committees really do engage in holistic reviews of applications, taking into account all the many factors that have gone into shaping applicants and their experiences and perspectives. It is safe to assume that the pandemic and the challenges it is presenting to all of us will play a role in the admissions process from here on out.

Are law schools extending their seat deposit deadlines?

If you've already been admitted to one or more law schools and are still trying to decide which offer to accept, you may face a more difficult situation with regard to the seat deposit deadlines. The earliest of these are coming up in April. We have not heard of any law schools issuing global extensions of these deadlines, but admissions officials may be open to considering extensions on a case-by-case basis. If there are specific reasons your decision has been impacted by the crisis (apart from inability to visit schools — please see the following question), then you should contact the law schools to inquire about their flexibility. Otherwise, you should be prepared to submit your seat deposit at your chosen school by the deadline. After May 1, law schools will be able to see whether you have seat deposits down at multiple schools, so if you need assistance narrowing down your options, please make an appointment to speak to a prelaw advisor.

How can I make a decision when I can't visit the law schools?

Law school visits can be an important part of the law school decision-making process. Although traditional visits to law schools are not possible now, many schools are offering virtual tours and making faculty and current students available for video chats. You can also ask admissions offices to put you in touch with current students, especially those who match your interests or background in ways that might make their perspectives particularly useful to you. If you'd like to speak to Miami alums who are either current students or recent grads of particular law schools, you can find them through the search functions on LinkedIn, or by emailing the Pre-Law Center for assistance. You can also reach out directly to career/placement offices at individual law schools, and to faculty — all should be available via email and/or phone.

My spring or summer internship has been cancelled — how will this affect my application?

First, remember that law-related internships are not the make or break of a law school application. In fact, admissions committees are not generally too concerned with whether you've completed such an internship or job — rather, they're interested in learning more about what you have done, and what you've gotten out of it. So, if your summer legal internship has been cancelled, don't worry about it impacting your application. Instead, pursue whatever opportunities are still available to you and are meaningful to you. Law schools are looking for creativity, resilience, and commitment, even in difficult times. That might mean finding an ad hoc job to replace some of your lost income, or volunteering to help folks more seriously impacted by the epidemic, or caring for family members. The point is: try to find something meaningful to do. Whatever it is, it will add to the overall portrait you'll be able to present to the admissions committees.

Having said that, law-related internships and job opportunities are important for helping you decide whether a legal career is right for you. If a Summer 2020 internship was going to be the thing that helped you decide whether to apply in Fall 2020, you might want to consider pushing back your application to the following cycle. There are no downsides whatsoever to working for some period of time between college and law school, and for those of you who really aren't sure yet whether this is the right path, a post-grad law-related job could help you decide.

What are productive ways to spend some of my extra time?

Great question! All students can benefit from creating and/or updating their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. If you are a junior currently enrolled in the LSAT prep course, you should use some extra time to really lean into those studies. And, don't forget to take time to engage in some self-care by doing the things you love and enjoy!

Is the Henry Pre-Law Center still open?

YES! If you're a current student or alum, we will always be here for you! We are conducting all advising appointments virtually through Google Hangouts, or by phone, whichever you prefer. You can make an appointment through our website on SSC-Campus. An advisor will contact you by email prior to your appointment to confirm how you would like to conduct the appointment. You can also email questions any time to advisors Maria Vitullo (vitullmp@MiamiOH.edu) and Elizabeth Zimmerman (zimmerew@MiamiOH.edu).