how to get into william and mary law school

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

Welcome to William & Mary, the ideal law school experience.

When legal education began at William & Mary in 1779, a distinguished attorney in colonial America took on a promising William & Mary graduate as an apprentice. For five years, George Wythe equipped Thomas Jefferson with an extraordinary education that provided the foundation for intellectual and political greatness. 

More than two centuries later, legal education has evolved to include more than apprenticeships and rewriting legal texts. A Juris Doctorate from William & Mary Law provides limitless opportunity for advocacy, change, and leadership across a myriad of sectors from business and government to non-profit organizations and education.

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Pursue a William & Mary Law degree as a first-year, transfer student, or visiting student. Explore the intersection of law and a growing number of fields through a combined degree. William & Mary Law will help you build the foundation for your own intellectual greatness much like our first student over two centuries ago. 

William & Mary Law School boasts a remarkable history as the nation’s first law school and a reputation for producing lawyers who are not only highly skilled and successful attorneys but dedicated public servants.

Learn from internationally and nationally recognized faculty through our unique, hands-on legal education. Immerse yourself in the law through involvement with competition teams and journals. Over 50 different organizations will help you stay connected to your peers while maintaining balance and wellness in law school.

William & Mary Law offers two full-time degree programs:

Juris Doctor (J.D.) – This three-year program is open to first-year, transfer, and visiting law students. You may also pursue the Combination Degree Program with the School of Business or the American Studies Program.
LL.M. in American Legal Studies – This one-year program is designed for students who have received law degrees outside of the United States and seek advanced training in American law.
Plan your visit to the Law School, meet current students and faculty, and see all there is to do in Williamsburg. When you’re ready to begin the application process, our admissions staff will be here to answer all your questions.

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how to get into william and mary law school

We understand that applying to law school can be a daunting task. Here is what you need to know:

Requirements for Admission:
  1. Applicants must have received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university before enrolling at William & Mary Law.
  2. Applicants must take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). 
  3. Applicants must register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).

Applications for fall enrollment open September 1. For best admission and scholarship opportunities, submit a completed application by February 1. All applications must be complete by March 1 in order to be reviewed for admission.

Application Checklist:
  1. Law School Application: Applicants should use the LSAC Electronic Application to complete their application.  
  2. Application Fee of $85 (nonrefundable) 
  3. Required Essays: 2 pages maximum, double spaced, 12 pt font required
    • Personal Statement: Your personal statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admission committee and should include why the J.D. degree is essential to your future. We recommend addressing any character and fitness or educational issues within the optional addenda below.  
    • Why W&M Law Statement: We ask you provide a statement as to why you have selected to apply to William & Mary Law School, how your background, goals, experiences, etc. will benefit from our community, and how the Law School can support your pursuit of a legal career.  
  4. Resume: A resume of no more than two pages, single sided is required.
  5. Optional Essays: While optional, the below essays can be beneficial in the evaluation of merit-based scholarship aid. 
    • I am a Citizen Lawyer: We believe that our values — leadership, insight, inclusion, community, and progress — are what distinguishes being a citizen lawyer from simply having a law degree. This ethos is the foundation for our community, one that is open to all who come to William & Mary to become a different kind of lawyer. We invite you to reflect on these aspects of our community and how you might align with them personally and/or professionally. 
Admission Requirements | William & Mary Law School
  1. Diversity & Inclusion Statements: We encourage applicants to provide information that may be beneficial in the evaluation process related to personal upbringing, experiences, and/or motivations for pursuing law school as an individual with a disability, from an underrepresented group in the legal profession, a first-generation student, and/or a socioeconomically disadvantaged background. 
    • LSAT, GPA, and/or Character & Fitness Addenda: Context around an LSAT score, grade point average, or a more detailed explanation of a “yes” answer to the Character & Fitness section is accepted. We ask that you devote an individual page to each within your application where necessary. 
  2. Letters of Recommendation: Two (2) letters of recommendation are required, and up to three (3) are accepted. At least one faculty recommendation is expected. If you have questions about this expectation, please contact the Admissions Office. All letters of recommendation must be submitted to CAS.
  3. Credential Assembly Service Report: Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and arrange to have your undergraduate and graduate transcripts sent by February 1 to CAS from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants must take the LSAT no later than January and have a reportable score on record with CAS. The CAS code for William & Mary is 5115.
  4. Law School Admission Test: We accept all valid LSAT scores from the last five years. The January 2022 exam is the last LSAT accepted as a first-time test taker; subsequent exams may be submitted as supplemental material in support of your application. 
  5. For International Applicants where English is not your native language, and if your schooling has been in a language other than English, the TOEFL or IELTS is required. Any student who has spoken a language other than English in the home should strongly consider submitting TOEFL or IELTS test scores as they give the Admission Committee additional insight into language proficiency and preparedness for law school. Test scores are valid for two years.
  6. Virginia Application for In-State Tuition Privileges: Applicants claiming entitlement to in-state educational privileges must complete the Virginia Application for In-State Tuition Privileges, save, and add it as an attachment to the electronic application.  If the admission application has already been electronically submitted, applicants applying for Virginia in-state tuition privileges must complete the form found on the University Registrar’s website and return to the Registrar by email, mail, or fax. Note: Applicants who are active duty military personnel or honorably discharged veterans are eligible for in-state tuition privileges once they have moved to Virginia. Upon moving here, applicants should submit the Virginia Application for In-State Tuition Privileges and their military orders showing permanent duty station (active duty) or their discharge papers (veterans) to the Domicile Office at [email protected].
Merit-Based Financial Aid

All students are considered for merit-based scholarships automatically upon submission of your application; no additional information will be necessary during the application process. Separate scholarship applications may be made available for certain awards during the application cycle. 

Need-Based Financial Aid Application

Applicants for need-based scholarships and/or educational loans must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The recommended deadline is February 15. The FAFSA Title IV code for William & Mary is 003705. 

Note: A Dean’s Certification is not required for first-year applicants.

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

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how hard is it to get into william and mary law school

Founded in 1693 by the King and Queen of England, the College of William and Mary is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the country—only Harvard has been in existence longer. Today, more than three centuries later, William & Mary is known as one of the finest schools in the country, it’s grouped with a collection of prestigious, highly selective, and academically challenging public universities known as the “Public Ivies” and is one of CollegeVine’s top 15 public universities in the U.S.

Getting into William & Mary is challenging and it’s only getting more so. The university received 17,475 applicants for its class of 2025—a record number, and the first time applications have exceeded 15,000. Of those 17,475 applicants, William & Mary accepted just 6,466, giving the school an overall acceptance rate of 37% (44% for in-state applicants and 31% for out-of-state applicants).

William & Mary Law School in USA - Masters of Laws

William & Mary offers early decision (ED) admissions and received 1,184 ED applications for its class of 2025. The university accepted 545 students through ED, a 46% early decision acceptance rate.

While William & Mary’s acceptance rate is low, your chances depend on the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator uses factors like grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of admissions and offer insight into how to improve your profile.

Average Academic Profile of Accepted William & Mary Students


The average high school GPA of William & Mary’s class of 2025 is 4.28, and 86.29% of the class of 2025 graduated with a 4.0.


The middle 50% SAT/ACT scores of William and Mary’s class of 2025 are 1300-1490/30-34.

Class Rank

77% of William & Mary’s class of 2025 graduated in the top tenth of their high school class. 95% graduated in the top quarter of their class.

william and mary law school application fee

Law school is an expensive endeavor. What many candidates might not realize is that the expenses roll in before you even get accepted! The fees associated with preparing for the LSAT, registering for the test (possibly more than once) and actually applying to law school add up quickly. So, how much are law school application costs?

Here’s a 5-point breakdown of law school application costs!

Cost #1: Preparing for the LSAT

The cost of preparing for the LSAT can differ greatly for applicants and depends, in large part, on how a candidate learns best and what they can afford. Test prep books start around $50 each and online or in-person courses can cost upwards of $1,500.

Many students decide to use a combination of methods to study. For those interested in individualized instruction to enhance their study, private tutoring is also an option. (JD Advising offers one-on-one LSAT tutoring to fit your schedule.)

Khan Academy also offers free resources for LSAT preparation. It’s a great place to start but make sure you supplement your study with a method of instruction that works best for your learning style.

Though the LSAT prep fees are pricey, remember that this as an investment in your future. Signing up for an LSAT prep course or private tutoring may earn you an LSAT score in the range for scholarship awards. This will make a huge difference in the number of student loans (if any) you’ll need to take out to finance your legal education.

Cost #2: LSAT Fees

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) administers the LSAT. In the 2018-19 year, the test alone costs $190. Be sure you sign up for an exam that works with your schedule. It will cost you an additional $125 to change either your test date or your test location ($250 for both). Keep in mind that $50 is refundable for the LSAT but the other fees are non-refundable.

These figures add up quickly if you plan to take the LSAT more than once.

Cost #3: Credential Assembly Service (CAS)

LSAC also manages the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). CAS offers services to candidates that streamline the application process. CAS bundles your transcripts, letters of recommendation, LSAT score history and other documents together so that you only upload them once. (This saves your professor from submitting multiple copies of his letter of recommendation to every school you apply to.)

The CAS registration fee is $195.

CAS also produces a report synthesizing your academic background. The report includes academic summaries based on your grades (including a recalculated cumulative GPA), GPA major, LSAT score and a comparison of you to other law school applicants.

The cost of sending the CAS report (mandatory) to each school is now $45 per school.

Keep in mind that most schools will require applicants to use CAS.

Cost #4: Application Fees

These are fees put in place by the law school (not LSAC) as a cost for applying and reviewing your application. Application fees range from $0-$85 per school. Most of the law schools that do impose fees hover in the $75-$85 range.

Fee waivers are available at most law schools. Applicants may qualify for waivers by meeting certain GPA/LSAT criteria or simply attending recruitment events. If you haven’t yet received a waiver from a school, email them with a waiver request. Provide your LSAC number, GPA/LSAT statistics, and a brief statement about your interest in the program.

Cost #5: Interview

 A law school may request that you conduct an interview prior to admission. Though many of these interviews take place over Skype (free!), some schools might prefer an in-person meeting.

In this instance, alumni in the area will likely conduct the interview. This may require you to take a train or drive into a nearby city.  In the rare instance where a school requests an in-person interview at their school, or where you request it, you’ll need to factor in the price of an airline ticket ($200-$500), possibly a hotel ($150), and transportation and food during your stay. The cost of travel varies greatly depending on where you’re flying to/from and how long you stay.

Law School Application Costs

Preparation For LSAT: $50-$1500

LSAT Registration: $190 per exam

LSAT Location Change: $125

Changing LSAT Date: $125

CAS Registration: $195

CAS Report: $45 per school

Application: $0-$80 per school

Interview: $0-$650

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