How much weight do ECs have in Law School admission? Do these ECs have to be law related?

So, I have heard a lot about how law school admissions are based largely on GPA and LSAT scores. But ECs have to have some weight, right?

What would an accepted applicant at a top law school (HYS) have under the EC section of their resume?

In med school admission there are very common ECs that most applicants have. But do ECs for law school have to be law related if they show a high level of commitment?

Not sure about EC’s, but some job experience is probably beneficial. Just looking at the HLS profile, HLS Profile and Facts | Harvard Law School, only 20% of the class came straight from undergrad. Fully 62% had been out of college for at least 2 years.

At my prior Big Law firm, most of our paralegals were on the " 2 year" figure it out after college plan. Many went to law school. Others to BSchool or some other grad school. I wrote many LoR’s for paralegals that were on my deal teams.


OP: In answer to your two posted questions: “5%” and “no”.

Most important = LSAT score.

Next most important = undergraduate GPA.

Third most important = URM status.

Fourth most important = personal statement.

Fifth most important = other graduate degrees.

Sixth most important = post undergraduate work experience.

Seventh most important = ECs.


Thank you for sharing the Harvard Law School admissions information which revealed, among other facts, that 20% of HLS’ most recent class came directly from college while another 18% took a one year hiatus before entering HLS. I suspect that most or all who took a single year off before entering HLS did so in order to improve their LSAT score.

Harvard Law School’s median LSAT score is 173 and the median undergraduate GPA is 3.88. An applicant with an LSAT score of 174 and a GPA of 3.89–both of which are above HLS’ medians–is likely to be offered admission.

Worrying about ECs in the context of admission to elite (Top 14) law schools is not worthwhile; better to focus on improving one’s GPA & LSAT score.


Hello, recent HLS grad here (who was also waitlisted at SLS for what it’s worth). If by ECs you mean college activities, I never did anything law-related on campus, so I wouldn’t say you’re expected to. But if you mean like summer internships, I did spend two summers interning in law-related offices. But I still wouldn’t say you’re expected to do that. The specifics of what you do don’t matter as much as why you do them. The admissions officers just want to know why law school makes sense for you at this point in your life (literally what the HLS admissions office said). And I interned at the places I did because I wanted to learn more about the field, which informed my decision to apply to law school and the area of law I wanted to practice in. And since law touches upon nearly every aspect of life, there are really so many things you can do and so many places you can go to get experience and knowledge. So I would just let that question be your guide: how do my experiences (ECs or internships or whatever) demonstrate that law school makes sense for me at this point in my life?

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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@Kali22: Are you willing to share your LSAT score & undergraduate GPA ? If yes, I believe that it can be helpful to OP’s concerns.

I’m actually not sure how helpful it would be. My LSAT and GPA were fine in a general sense, and didn’t suggest that I couldn’t… do the work in law school. But they were no where near the highest percentiles of the schools I applied to. I mean that quite literally. But I’m obviously not saying that high grades/scores are unnecessary. They’re probably the most important factor imo. I’m just saying that they’re not the only factor, and they’re certainly evaluated in context—your life experiences, the rigor of your undergrad, the rigor of your major, your internship/work experiences, etc. Just be sure to give them that context; think of your application as a package and show how all the pieces inside fit together. For anything that seems out of place, write a brief addendum (which I did) and don’t make them assume anything (HLS admissions officers literally said this).

Also, for what it’s worth, HLS specifically can afford to be more flexible than some other schools with numbers without changing their overall profile, simply because of the school’s sheer size. This is also something I remember hearing from the HLS admissions officers themselves when I was applying (take notes at these admissions events y’all, some of those nuggets can be helpful lol).

Thank you for your response. It appears that your answer is “no”.

You wrote: "My LSAT and GPA were fine in a general sense, and didn’t suggest that I couldn’t do the work in law school. "

Typically, a response would be one’s LSAT score & GPA which would be compared to Harvard Law School’s medians. Additionally, whether or not the applicant was a URM would be a significant factor.

Knowing an accepted applicant’s numbers are very important in the context of this thread with respect to the weight given one’s ECs.

Hmm… I think… I see what you’re trying to say. It’s true that knowing admitted students’ numbers can be helpful in a general sense. But in this particular context, I assumed what you were trying to figure out was whether very high grades and scores are necessary in the absence of law-related ECs. My simple answer is no, because I had none of those things.

Although, that may not have been what you were suggesting with your question. If I misunderstood, my apologies. Regardless, I hope you, the OP, or whoever else reading this finds what I have offered to share at least somewhat helpful.

Confused by your use of the phrase “very high grades and scores”.

With respect to law school admissions, applicants’ undergraduate GPA (“grades”) and LSAT score are all relative to a particular law school’s medians.

It seems that you are asserting that both your LSAT score & GPA were below Harvard Law School’s medians. Is this correct ? If correct, then the next issue is whether or not you were a URM applicant. If not, then your ECs or a EC must be very significant from the viewpoint of Harvard Law School admissions .

Reading through all the law school threads as D has continued with her interest in the law!

Publisher - that’s some very clear-cut prioritizing (ranking admissions factors)- would you share where you got the data from? :slight_smile:

It is not really data; these are factors considered by law school adcoms.

Since you seem new to this, I encourage you to obtain & read any of the many books on law school admissions which are available on Amazon or at local bookstores.

Publisher - you set forth the following factors in law school admissions in descending order of importance and seem very decided about this. I was asking where you got the info from (out of curiosity) since I’ve read some other perspectives and a clear-cut heirarchy did not jump out at me (links below). I think this info is important (even if the info is “it depends”) since students may be structuring their time with an eye to law school admissions. And thanks for the tip to go read a book! :wink: :joy:

For example:

Not sure that I understand the tone of hostility.

If reading a book or books on law school admissions is not of interest to you, then consider speaking with a law school adcom.

P.S. Are you upset that I requested some further information about a claim that you made in another law school thread regarding public defenders ?

And the books that I suggested were written by former law school directors of admission.

My dude. There is no hostility. No war of ‘tone’ and no ‘upset’.