Application Requirements & Deadlines

Requirements & Deadlines

At the UNM School of Law, we request that you apply through the Law School Admission Council’s online application service. It’s easy to set up your account and begin the application process.

Requirements

To apply to UNM School of Law applicants must

  • Currently hold, or will have earned by the time of matriculation, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university or foreign equivalent
  • Have taken, or plan to take this admission cycle, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  • Submit all application materials (see application checklist below)

Application Timeline

Apply Online Application available through the Law School Admission Council
November through April Applications reviewed by Admissions Committee
February 15 First year application deadline*
June 15 Transfer and visiting application deadline
May 1 Applicants who meet the Febuary 15 deadline will be notified of admission decision no later than May 1

Applications will be postmarked on the day they are electronically submitted.

No file is reviewed until it is completed

*A substantial preference is given to those applications received by the February 15th deadline.

Application Checklist

Completed application form
Applicants are required to apply electronically through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Once an application is submitted to UNM, no additional materials (other than an updated CAS file which can include any LSAT or transcript additions) can be processed via the electronic file.  

Nonrefundable $50 application fee
Applicants can pay with a credit card through their LSAC account.  If paying by check or money order, the application fee must be sent directly to UNM School of Law

Applicants granted a LSAC fee waiver will have their fee automatically waived.  See LSAC for more information on its fee waiver.  If not eligible for a LSAC waiver, applicants can request a need-based waiver through UNM. 

Personal Statement
The personal statement is an opportunity for the Admissions Committee to get to know you beyond your academic record, as well showcase your ability to communicate effectively and concisely in writing.  Each statement is unique and should address your reasons for attending law school and pursuing a legal career.  Areas that can demonstrate this include family background, obstacles you have overcome, educational, volunteer, and/or work experiences.  Also, please address reasons for wanting to study law at UNM.  It is recommended your statement be within the range of three to five double-spaced pages.   

Résumé
A résumé is a tool to provide an overview of your academic, work history, and volunteer history that both compliments and supports the other sections of the application.  Include your educational background (honors, scholarships, extracurricular activities, etc) work history, military service, public/community service, publications, foreign language proficiencies, and any other significant achievements and involvements.  Education and work history should be listed current information first and needs to include the start and end dates in month and year as well as the city, state, and country (if international).   

Letter(s) of Recommendation
At least one letter of recommendation is required;
however, one or two additional letters will be accepted.   Overall, a recommendation letter should be from an individual in a position to make an academic and/or professional critical and informed appraisal of your qualifications.  An academic letter should be from a professor who has personal knowledge of your academic work, preferably one who knew you in a seminar or small class.  A professional letter can be from an employer or business associate that has personal knowledge of your work performance.  Recommendations can also come from professionals in mentor or supervisory roles from community and/or volunteer experience

Register with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
See LSAC website to register and for more information.

 Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admission Council.  You can register for the exam at the LSAC website. Tests are given in June, September or October (depending on year), December, and February.  We recommended that you take the LSAT no later than December, however, UNM will accept a February test score.  LSAT test scores are valid for three years.

Re-applicants

Individuals who previously applied to the law school, but did not attend (whether accepted or denied) must reapply. A re-applicant who has applied in the last year should provide the law school with:

  • A new application form;
  • The $50 application fee;
  • A new personal statement;
  • A resume.
  • tr
  • At least one letter of recommendation;
  • A new CAS report;

Dual Degree Candidates

Students must satisfy the admission and other academic requirements of both the law school and the graduate school. Separate applications must be made to each school. See the Dual Degree section on the law school website for additional information.

International Students

To be eligible for admission to the UNM School of Law, international applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Have earned a degree that is equivalent to the United States bachelor's degree.  Academic records will need to be evaluated by a credentialing service. All foreign transcripts sent to the LSAC will be processed through the JD Credential Service (JD CAS), an extension of the LSDAS Credential Assembly Service (CAS).  There is no additional fee for the JD CAS, it is included in the standard LSDAS fee. 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English. If English is not your first language or if English is not the official language spoken in your country, you must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 600 on the paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test. Please see TOEFL for more information.
  • All international applicants will be required to submit documentation verifying adequate funding to meet study and living expenses while in the United States.  An international applicant must provide proof of funding of approximately $48,000 (U.S.) If planning to bring a spouse or child, a proportionally larger amount must be certified on the basis of at least an additional $5,000 per academic year for your spouse and $2,500 for each child. 

Transfers & Visitors

Transfer Students

The law school accepts a limited number of transfer students who have completed one full-time year at another ABA-approved law school. UNM School of Law has more transfer applicants each year than we are able to admit. Transfer applicants are considered for admission only if they:

  • Have outstanding records at the law school previously attended or
  • Are in good standing at the law school previously attended, are residents of New Mexico, and have a compelling reason to continue their legal education at The University of New Mexico School of Law

Transfer applicants must provide the Law School with the following:

  • Application form and $50 processing fee
  • A complete LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report
  • At least one letter of recommendation, preferably from a professor at their law school
  • An official transcript of the candidate's law study from the law school previously attended, including a statement of class rank
  • A letter from the dean of the law school from which the candidate seeks to transfer stating that he or she is presently not on probation or under suspension and is eligible to re-register and continue in that law school
  • A statement by the applicant indicating why he or she wishes to transfer to The University of New Mexico School of Law

The deadline for submitting transfer applications is July 1st.

Credits earned at other law schools that do not meet their minimum graduation requirements are not acceptable for transfer credit.

Visiting Students

Students who have completed their second full-time year at another ABA-approved law school and who wish to receive their degree from that school, but spend either one or both semesters of their final year at The University of New Mexico School of Law, may be considered for admission as visiting students. The deadline for filing visiting applications is July 1st.

Visiting students receive financial aid from their own law school, not UNM, and may not enroll in courses which are over-subscribed by regular law school students. They may participate in on-campus interviews only if space is available.

Visiting applicants must provide the School of Law with the following:

  • Application form and $50 processing fee
  • An official transcript of the applicant's law study from each law school attended; including a statement of class rank
  • A letter from the dean of the other law school, stating that credit earned at The University of New Mexico will be acceptable toward meeting degree requirements; and that the applicant is in good standing
  • A statement by the applicant indicating why he or she wishes to spend an academic year (or semester) at The University of New Mexico School of Law
  • At least one letter of recommendation, preferably from a professor at their law school

International Visiting Students

For international law students whose home institutions have exchange agreements with the University of New Mexico, please review the Visiting International Law Students section of UNM’s International Law Programs.

International Lawyers seeking Advanced Standing

The University of New Mexico School of Law offers the possibility of advanced standing to graduates of non-US law schools holding a first degree in law. Applicants may receive credit for up to one-third (28 credits) of the required total credits for the Juris Doctorate degree (86 credits).

Pursuant to the American Bar Association’s Standard 507, law schools may accept up to one-third of the required total credits for the Juris Doctorate program from an applicant who received a terminal degree which is required in order to practice law in another country. The coursework in the foreign law school must have been done “in residence” at the foreign law school and the University of New Mexico School of Law must be satisfied that the quality of the foreign law school is equal in quality to that of an ABA-approved law school.

Foreign lawyers interested in pursuing the J.D. with Advanced Standing must complete all of the standard application requirements and submit an addendum to their application requesting advanced standing. Decisions regarding advanced standing are made by the Admissions Committee at the time of acceptance. The total number of credits accepted towards the Juris Doctorate will be assessed on an individual basis by the Assistant Dean for Registration after receiving the applicant’s official transcript.

Students who are approved to pursue the Juris Doctorate with Advanced Standing must complete the remaining two-thirds of their coursework in residence at the University of New Mexico. Students pursuing the J.D. with Advanced Standing complete the standard first-year doctrinal courses during their first year on campus and will complete all required upper-level courses and clinical requirements during their second year.