Law School Discussion

Typical 'For X GPA what LSAT?' type thread, only a Sophomore this year though.

Hello there,

As the title suggests, I'm just looking at your opinions as to what LSAT score I'll need to be accepted into the schools I'm looking at. I've always considered law school, but it wasn't my main plan until this past summer. I'm a sophomore this year, and blew last year off, leaving me with a 2.773 GPA. That being said, now that I'm planning on going to law school, this semester I'll most likely get a 4.0. If I manage 4.0s from here on out, I'll be graduating with a 3.69, which is not great for the schools I'm looking at. If I don't do quite that well, I believe my minimum graduating GPA will be 3.36. I'm majoring in Psychology with double minors in Philosophy and Political Science.

Ideally, I get accepted into a joint JD/PhD program at Stanford, but I'm well aware the odds are against me for that. Financially, that is one of the few ways I would be able to attend.

Anyways, for a GPA of 3.36 what LSAT score do you think I would need to be accepted into Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Duke?

And What would you suggest my LSAT would need to be to get accepted to the above schools with a GPA of 3.69?

Fully expecting to need a 175+ for most(if not all) of the schools.

Of course, they look at more than GPA and LSAT, but those would be the primary factors I believe. The only other things that might give me preference would be being a 1st generation college student, son of a Veteran, and an Eagle Scout. But I'm not sure if private schools or graduate schools in general look at that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Anyways, for a GPA of 3.36 what LSAT score do you think I would need to be accepted into Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Duke?

First, it's highly unlikely that you can accurately predict your GPA years into the future. For example, would you have predicted that you'd have a 2.7 by now, or would you have predicted higher?

That said, with a hypothetical 3.36 you'd probably need a 175-180 to have a shot at any of the schools you mentioned. Take a look at LSAC's admission profiles, it will give you a good idea. Even then it's probably unlikely. At this point any speculation about your future LSAT score is premature. The LSAT is a weird test, and you simply can't assume that you'll be in the top 1-2%. Remember, at top schools you'll be evaluated against other applicants who have 4.0 GPAs, ridiculously high LSATs, and amazing soft factors. As always, it's not about you, it's about the competition. Please understand that I'm not trying be overly negative, I'm just trying to answer your question honestly.

Here's something else to consider: there are lots of good law schools that will accept an applicant with a 3.36 and less than a 175 LSAT. You can get a great legal education and have a successful career even if you don't go to an elite school. Focus on getting good grades and start practicing for the LSAT as soon as possible.

Anyways, for a GPA of 3.36 what LSAT score do you think I would need to be accepted into Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Duke?

Here's my typical answer to the typical "For X GPA what LSAT?" question:

Have fun!

I think that is all good advise I hope you get into Stanford, Duke, etc truly do, but about 1% of people accomplish that. You blew off a semester and you can't predict what else life will throw your way since your only a sophmore in college. For example you may get a girlfriend/boyfriend and blow your studies off for another semester, a close friend could get cancer, the list of possibilities are endless so don't just assume you will get a 4.0 the rest of the way.

Also don't assume you will get a 175+ on the LSAT again 1% of people accomplish that. I know when your 18-19 your pretty sure you will be a millionaire by the time your 25, graduate valedictorian from Harvard Law School, and be choosing which celebrity your going to be taking to the Oscars, but sadly that is not the way it works.

More power to you if you accomplish it I sincerely root for you to have the life I describe above when your 25. However, as the above posters suggest if you want to be a lawyer you don't have to go to Stanford to succeed. However, you need to ask yourself why you want to go to law school in the first place I can tell you from first-hand experience the legal field is not quite as glamorous or interesting as movies and T.V. portray it.

I highly recommend you do the following since your only a sophomore. First work in a law office see what it is all about before making a 3 year and $100,000 commitment. To boost your GPA take some fluff classes nothing wrong with getting an A in frisbee golf or basket weaving. Admissions officers will typically just look at the numbers and if you can boost your GPA with a few fluff classes go for it.

Again good luck and I will root for you to get a 4.0 the rest of the way in undergrad and get a 180 on the LSAT, but I wouldn't bet on that happening. If it doesn't and you have worked in a law office and know law is what you want then enroll in law school even if you have a 3.3 and 157 LSAT there are plenty of ABA schools that will accept you.

I'm going to be brutally honest with you right now.  Even if you hit your target GPA, you will likely need to score at least a 177+ to get into Stanford.  Here's the mean part:  Those who hit that scoring range can sleepwalk their way to a higher GPA than the one for which you're shooting.  The sooner you become realistic the sooner you can start looking at schools that you'll have an opportunity to thrive at.  Unless you are one of the top .0001% of test takers, you will not score a 177+.  I hate to be that guy, but someone needs to be that guy in this situation.


If you are sharp enough to get an LSAT score in the 170 range then it it hard to understand how you received the 2.773 gpa last year.

Please also understand that the elite schools will give unstated preference to applicants who graduate from peer schools.

Good luck.... I hope you prove us wrong for doubting you.

Please also understand that the elite schools will give unstated preference to applicants who graduate from peer schools.

I often hear people saying that it doesn't matter where you go to undergrad, all the law schools care about is your GPA/LSAT. Although GPA/LSAT are obviously the single biggest factors, I've seen anecdotal evidence that undergrad pedigree indeed matters (especially at elite institutions).

I was told by a former Ivy League law professor that roughly half of the incoming class at his law school were from the other Ivies. The next biggest group were from elite liberal arts colleges (Williams, Amherst, etc), then prestigious non-Ivy universities (Stanford, Northwestern, etc). He said that only a handful were from random state universities, small non-elite colleges, etc.

I also had a friend who graduated from an Ivy with a 3.3 GPA. He got accepted to schools that someone with a 3.3 would not normally stand a chance at getting into. His impression at the time was that the reputation of his undergrad institution helped immensely. Lastly, I went to a prestigious non-Ivy for undergrad. One of the law schools I applied to called to tell me I was accepted and had been offered a substantial scholarship. The admissions rep actually cited the "excellent reputation" of my undergrad school as a factor.

None of this is definitive or scientific evidence, I just find it interesting. Undergrad prestige probably works like other soft factors: it's not determinitive, but it helps. 

Very true.  I must note that you shouldn't disregard those X State University students.  I received a full ride to a powerhouse research state school, performed research within my primary department, pulled a perfect LSDAS from my school, and hit a 177 LSAT.   I'll be starting at H next year or at NYU on a full scholly.  There is power within research institutions. 

Very true.  I must note that you shouldn't disregard those X State University students. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't disregard those students one bit. There are plenty of powerhouse state research universities (Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, etc) that offer incredible educational opportunities and have reputations that are at least as good (if not better) than many Ivies. Every year a number of people from those highly regarded public institutions get accepted at the most elite law schools. My only point is that elite law schools tend to be snobby, whether they admit it or not, and an undergrad degree from Harvard or Yale probably gooing to help.

Here's another possibility: the LSAT score spread might be unevenly distributed, with a much higher percentage of top scorers coming from elite undergrad institutions. Although I've never seen any data on this topic, it would seem to make sense that an academic superstar who got into Harvard or Caltech as an undergrad would have a statistically better shot at scoring high on the LSAT as opposed to the guy who had mediocre grades and SATs.