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Does an MBA Help Your Chances of Getting Into Law School?

written by: Andrew Glikin-Gusinsky•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 4/15/2011

Getting into law school can be a very difficult process. With the increasingly competitive nature of the admissions process, would earning an MBA first give an edge in getting in?

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    Law School Admission

    A law degree can be a very useful degree to have. Coupled with bar exam passage, it confers upon its holder the rights and privileges of an attorney, an individual who can stand up in a court of law and represent clients in their legal matters. The practice of law can be a very rewarding career. However, law school admission is a very competitive process. Prospective law students may be looking for ways to make their applications more competitive, perhaps believing that the completion of prior graduate work, such as earning an MBA, will give them that edge that they are looking for. However, this begs the question: Will an MBA help you get into law school? The short answer is no, the long answer is somewhat more complicated.

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    An Overview of the Law School Admission Process

    The two major factors used in determining admission to law school are an applicant’s undergraduate grade point average, and their LSAT score. The LSAT, which stands for Law School Admission Test, is an exam administered by the Law School Admission Council, or LSAC. Once taken, an applicant’s LSAT score, along with their undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation are collected by LSAC, summarized, and sent to the schools to which a prospective law student is applying.

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    Touro Law School, Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    Touro Law School
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    Some, but not all, schools use a formula based on applicants’ undergraduate GPA and LSAT score to create an admissions index number. Graduate degrees and GPAs do not factor into this formula.

    Additionally, a very important part of the law school application process is the applicant’s personal statement. With the high volume of people applying for legal educations in this country, law schools want to know that the individuals who they are admitting have compelling reasons to attend. They want to see a professional or academic drive in applicants to ensure that they will be a good fit in the school’s academic community.

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    An MBA’s Role in Law School Admission

    As has already been mentioned, an MBA, or any other graduate degree for that matter, will not be the critical factor that gets someone admitted to law school. They are not the primary qualification that a law school will look at when determining who to admit, it is an ancillary qualification that schools look at only after reviewing undergraduate transcripts and LSAT scores and falls into the same category as past work and life experience.

    That being said, there is no reason to completely disqualify an MBA’s place on an applicant’s resume. While it may not make or break an application, an MBA can help demonstrate an applicant’s interest in certain areas of law, such corporate law or securities regulation, thereby possibly strengthening points made in a personal statement. Moreover, if all things are equal between two applications, an MBA may add that extra something to make an application stand out just a little more.

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    Conclusion

    So the short answer is that an MBA will not really help someone get into law school because it is not one of the major factors that schools use to determine admissions. An MBA should be attained for the purpose of having n that degree, not as stepping stone for law school. However, if an applicant already happens to have an MBA it won’t hurt and may give their application a little extra boost.

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    Resources

    The Application Process: An Overview, http://www.lsac.org/JD/apply/applying-to-law-school.asp

    Credential Assembly Service Law School Reports, http://www.lsac.org/JD/Apply/cas-law-school-reports.asp

    Law School Admission Factors, http://academic.udayton.edu/race/03justice/legaled/legaled03.htm

    Touro Law School, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Touro-law-school.jpg