Thoughts on applying ED to top 14 law school

Thoughts on applying ED to top 14 law school …Is there a bump?

General wisdom is, ED in law school is NOT like undergrad, no bump. Best online info on law school admissions is on reddit, “law school admissions” (though a slightly terrifying place to visit) and on Top Law Schools. Also, start to read Spivey on law school admissions, lots of great insight.


Thanks so much! I had a feeling applying ED to top LS would not provide a bump. Northwestern does offer nice merit for ED only. But I was thinking Columbia.

I didn’t even know that law schools had ED :joy:


I don’t know if the bump is the same as undergrad but I imagine there is some benefit because law school admissions are rolling so the earlier you submit your application the earlier you’ll receive your decisions (and the more available spaces in the class), you’re agreeing to be a full pay student if admitted (and as you mentioned you may automatically qualify for merit) and you’re saying the school is your absolute first choice.

That being said, the general recommendation is get your LS apps in as early as possible regardless of ED, EA or RD.

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it’s a terrible — read expensive – idea. Yeah, there likely is a bump, but just bcos it means you agree to pay sticker if admitted (outside of Northwestern). And paying sticker is a rally bad ROI. Unless your family is wealthy, for most students paying sticker at Columbia is a far worse idea than taking merit money at Northwestern.

Unlike undergrad, law school is primarily a numbers game – GPA+LSAT.

What makes Columbia so attractive?

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Thanks for your advice.

My family is definitely not wealthy. My thought was to take out loans which I would pay back after being employed. I also thought I would qualify for some type of aid. After getting outside advice and speaking with my parents - I think it would be smarter to take my chances at all top 14. See which offers the most $$.

My goal is to work in Big Law. I’m currently employed as a paralegal aid at a big law firm in NYC. I work virtually while at college. I thought about Columbia due to its high placement into BL and also its location - close to my family.

if you are anchored to NYC, don’t forget about Fordham, which punches above its weight wrt Big Law, i.e., Fordham places extremely well in NY, as does Cornell Law.

That said, the quality of life for a Big Law associate is much, much different than that of staff.

Good luck.


I plan on applying to Cornell, Fordham, most top 14, BU, and Vandy.

NY is not a must. Most important is job placement into BL. Prefer to remain in the Northeast. I’m at Tufts now.


The paralegals work just as hard as the lawyers in big law, sometimes harder.


Very few law schools give need-based aid. It used to be only Yale, Stanford and Harvard gave need-based aid, and even they may take into account parental resources up until a student is in their late 20s. That’s why acing the numbers – gpa and LSAT – is the key to the law school admission and decision process, because schools “pay” for those numbers with merit awards. There is a website called law school data or something like that which “crowd sources” admission and merit award data for law school admissions over a period of years. You can pretty much see where the lines are for stats for admissions and for merit awards. Schools do change those lines, particularly in the last few years when 170+ LSAT scores exploded with remote testing and the shorter exam format. So when working with that data, check the year, to make sure it reflects current trends. Also, Mike Spivey runs a blog/site which tracks a lot of law school admissions data and he does a lot of analysis about what the trends mean.


sure, but they rarely work in the middle of the night and most weekends. But perhaps Lucky can weigh in: how many all-nighters have they done in the last year? (My S has worked plenty.)

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Thanks so much. Great insight!

I personally never work on weekends. I’m also in college and only part time. Last semester I usually worked from 6am until 11 am or noon. Then went to classes after that.

There were times where I had special projects and since I’m virtual during the school year - I had the option of choosing the time of day to work.

Now that I’m home for the summer my hours are 9 am until 3:30pm.

My supervisor does work late nights.

That has not been my experience or that of my friends in big law. The paralegals work late nights, weekends, and holidays. It is not an easy job and is a good one to give young adults a real taste of big law life.


Back to the OP’s question…

My D had a friend who applied ED and got into a T14 law school. I can’t attest to how much, if at all, applying ED helped the application.

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@happy1 curious if you’re willing to share the stats for the applicant, even a general idea if possible. I’m a not a big fan of ED for undergrad but wondering if it makes more sense for law school.

I’d certainly apply the same tests:

  1. Is it your #1 choice? (without doubt)
  2. Is it affordable?
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ED admissions bonus is huge, for all but Northwestern Law. At 13 of teh T14, ED essentially says that you are willing to be full pay – no merit money needed. At Northwestern, an ED acceptance comes with a $120k merit scholly.

So other than Northwestern, ED does not make sense IMO. (unless the family is wealthy)

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It is my Ds friend and I don’t know her stats. I can say that she had an excellent undergrad GPA, was on the college debate team as well as other ECs, and spent at least one summer interning at a law firm. Hope that helps a little.