Frequently Asked Questions

Academic and General Questions

1. What undergraduate major should I select if I want to attend law school?

Prior to entering law school, you must earn a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. You may major in a subject of your choice. If you are interested in pre-law at UNM, please contact the pre-law advisor, and she can help you decide what major works best for you.

Contact Information

Ellen Grigsby, Pre-Law Advisor
Social Sciences Bldg Rm 2076
Email: egrigsby@unm.edu

If you have questions about the accreditation of your college or university, please contact the UNM Admissions Office at (505) 277-8900.

2. Do you recommend any pre-law preparatory programs?

DiscoverLaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program is targeted to racial and ethnic students in the first two years of college who wish to develop the skills required to succeed in law school. Each program establishes their own admission criteria and selects participants.

The American Indian Law Center offers a two-month summer program for Native American students called the Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI).

The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) offers a six-week summer program.

3. Do you offer a part-time program?

The UNM School of Law does not have a traditional part-time program. However, the school does have a nontraditional Flexible Time Program, which is designed for students seeking a lightened class load. The Flexible Time Program is only available for a limited number of students, and students who want to be considered for the Flexible Time Program must indicate their interest when applying to the UNM School of Law.

4. May I work while attending school?

First-year law students may work, subject to the following restrictions:

  1. Due to the intensity and importance of the first semester curriculum, UNM strongly recommends that students refrain from any employment during the first semester.
  2. Students who decide to work during their first semester must attend a counseling session with Career and Student Services prior to the start of the second week of law school.
  3. First-year law students may work no more than 15 hours per week, unless they are enrolled in the Flexible-Time Legal Education Program.

Second- and third-year law students may work no more than 20 hours per week, unless they are enrolled in the Flexible-Time Legal Education Program.

5. Do you have certificate programs?

UNM School of Law offers certificates of specialization in Indian Law and the Natural Resources and Environmental Law.

6. What clinical opportunities are available?

UNM School of Law has long been a leader in the area of clinical training, and its clinical program is considered one of the best in the country. All students are required to complete six credit hours of clinic prior to graduation. Clinics currently available include the Business and Tax Clinic, the Community Lawyering Clinics, the Law Practice Clinic, and the Southwest Indian Law Clinic.  Please see The Clinical Law Program webpage for further information.

Students may also participate in law office, judicial, or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) externships

7. Do you offer dual-degree programs?

The UNM School of Law offers the following dual degree programs:

  • JD/ Masters in Public Administration (JD/MPA)
  • JD/ Master of Accounting (JD/MACCT)
  • JD/ Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA)
  • JD/ Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (JD/MALAS)

Applicants must apply to both programs separately and identify on their application which dual degree program they are applying to. Admissions decisions for both programs are made independently. Please contact the appropriate graduate program office for detailed information regarding admissions requirements and deadlines.

It is also possible to combine your JD with other graduate programs at UNM. An applicant must receive permission from the Dean of the School of Law, the Graduate Dean, and the chairperson of the graduate unit offering the other degree program. Applicants must satisfy the admissions and other academic requirements of both programs.

For further information, please see the Dual Degree webpage.

8. Do you have an LLM program?

UNM School of Law does not offer the LLM. We only offer the degree of Juris Doctor (JD).

9. Where do UNM School of Law graduates work?

Our graduates enter all segments of the legal market, including private practice at large and small law firms; government agencies, including criminal prosecutor and public defender offices; prestigious federal and state judicial clerkships; public interest agencies; and business and industry. The majority choose to stay in the region, although others elect to work in large cities and small towns around the country and the world.  Please see the Career Services webpage for detailed information on employment and professional development assistance for UNM law students.

10. Do you require students to own computers?

All law students are required to own portable (notebook or laptop) computers. For further information, including specifications, see the Required Laptop Program.

Application Related Questions

1. How do I apply for admission?

Detailed information about the law school application process, including the application, may be found on the Application Process section.

2. What LSAT score do I need in order to be admitted?

The University of New Mexico School of Law does not employ presumptive cutoffs. All complete applications are considered for admission. The Admissions Committee considers a variety of factors when evaluating applications, in addition to UGPA and LSAT score. These include, but not limited to, the personal statement, letters of recommendation, work and life experience, and extracurricular activities.

See our Incoming Class Statistics for more information.

3. If I take the LSAT more than once, will you average my scores?

No, the Admissions Committee will use an applicant’s high score evaluation and reporting purposes. If an applicant has taken the LSAT multiple times, the applicant's LSAC's Credential Assembly Service report will show all of the scores, as well as computing an average score for the applicant. The Admissions Committee will have the opportunity to see all scores for that applicant, but only the high score will be used for reporting purposes.

4. How can I request a fee waiver for the LSAT and the LSDAS?

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers fee waivers for the LSAT and CAS. Further information, including a fee waiver application form, may be found on the LSAC website. Individuals who have been granted a LSAC fee waiver will have their UNM School of Law application fee automatically waived.

5. How can I request a fee waiver for my UNM School of Law application?

Interested applicants who have not been granted an LSAC fee waiver may submit a UNM fee waiver form. The UNM School of Law has a limit number of need based fee waivers for qualified applicants. To request a need based application fee waiver please mail your request to the UNM School of Law Admissions Office.

6. Do you offer incentives for Teach for America corps members?

Upon request from eligible Teach for America participants, University of New Mexico School of Law will offer a two-year deferral to admitted students who want to participate in the corps in the year in which their study was to commence. We will also grant an application fee waiver to any current Teach for America corps member who meets the law school’s eligibility requirements. Teach for America corps members and alumni will be considered for scholarships and tuition assistance.

Tuition and Financial Aid Related Questions

1. How do I apply for financial aid and scholarships?

Applicants who wish to apply for federal loans should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline of March 1st, or 45 days after their date of acceptance.

Limited need-based grant funding is available, as well. Interested students should complete the Need Access application no later than March 1st. Awards will not be made until an individual has been admitted. Further information about the financial aid application process may be found on the Financial Aid section.

All first-year applicants will be considered for merit scholarships based on their law school application file and no additional application or paperwork is needed.

2. How can I gain residency for tuition purposes?

Law students may petition for residency after residing in New Mexico for a period of twelve consecutive months immediately prior to the term for which residency is being sought and complying with specified overt acts that demonstrate intent to become a resident. The rules and regulations for establishing residency for tuition purposes are defined by state statutes.

The residency decision is based on the information contained in the application for admission. Details about residency for tuition purposes may be found on the UNM Office of the Registrar.

3. When should I apply for Financial Aid?

You can apply by submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning in January of the year you will start law school. You will need your federal tax information for the prior year for the application.

4. Is there a deadline for Financial Aid?

There is a priority filing date of March 1, and it is strongly recommended that your financial aid file is complete by that date in order to be awarded as early as possible. While there is no deadline for applying for student loans, loan requests cannot be submitted after the last day of the Fall/Spring semesters. You will need to apply for each year that you would like to receive financial aid.

5. What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

You may borrow up to $20,500 for the year in federal Stafford Student Loans, depending on your cost of attendance and other aid you may be receiving. If you would like to reduce or cancel your loan(s), notify Carol Cravens. You may also take out a federal Grad Plus for the difference between your cost of attendance and aid/loans.

6. When will I find out how much Financial Aid I am receiving?

A financial aid award letter will be mailed to you within a few days of your file's completion. You may also view the status of your financial aid application at MyUNM; select the Student Life tab and click on My Financial Aid.

7. When will I get my refund?

Disbursement occurs each semester, usually the first week of classes.

8. How will I get my refund?

You will receive your refund either by setting up Direct Deposit, or by having a check mailed to your current address.

9. Do I need to let the Financial Aid Officer know if I receive outside funding?

Yes, it is extremely important that you notify us as soon as possible if you receive funding from any other source. We must take into consideration all sources of assistance you receive because they can affect your eligibility for financial aid. Unreported aid could result in an overaward, which you must repay.

10. Can I receive Financial Aid for study abroad?

In order to receive funding for study abroad courses, the courses you take must be approved by the UNM School of Law Registrar. You must also submit documentation of the course costs and your enrollment to Carol Cravens in the Law School Financial Aid Office. For the type and amount of aid you will be eligible for it is best to meet with Carol in person.

Waitlist Related Questions

1. How is the waitlist determined?

Due to the large competitive pool of highly qualified applicants, the University of New Mexico School of Law is only able to offer seats to a limited number of applicants. Applicants offered a place on the waitlist have been identified by the Admissions Committee as bright, promising, and interesting candidates who UNM would be happy to have in our community should space become available.

2. Is there a specific number of students UNM School of Law expects to accept from the waitlist?

No. The number of students who accept our offer of admission determines whether and to what extent we use the waitlist.

3. Is the waitlist ranked? If so, can you tell me where I am on the waitlist?

No. We do not rank our waitlist. Waitlisted applicants are reviewed holistically and will be accepted based on institutional need.

4. How do you decide whom to select?

Considering the profile of students admitted earlier in the admissions process and our desire to build a strong and diverse class, we consider applicants from our waitlist who will compliment and provide strength and balance to our incoming cohort.

5. The University of New Mexico School of Law is my first choice. What impact may that have on my outcome?

UNM is very interested in selecting candidates from the waitlist who have expressed a sincere desire to matriculate. If the University of New Mexico is your first choice, please let the Office of Admission know in writing why our program is your top choice. You may either email this information to us at admissions@law.unm.edu or mail it to our office at 1117 Stanford Drive, NE, MSC11 6070, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131.

6. May I make additions to my application, and if so how will these be considered in regards to my application?

UNM welcomes additional academic, experiential, and reference materials to supplement your application. You may send any additional information to the Office of Admission by email at admissions@law.unm.edu to be considered by the Admissions Committee.

7. Should I plan to visit the University of New Mexico School of Law?

All individuals are welcome to visit the law school. We look forward to the opportunity to meet you and provide you with a tour of the campus. To schedule a visit to UNM School of Law please call the Office of Admission at (505) 277-0958 or visit our webpage.

8. I am a candidate for financial aid. Will the waitlist affect my financial aid package?

No. Your financial aid package will be the same as if you had been admitted prior to May 1, provided all financial aid application deadlines and eligibility requirements were met.

9. If I withdraw my financial aid application, will my chances of being accepted from the waitlist be enhanced?

No. Your admission decision is not related to your request for financial assistance.

10. Should I deposit at another institution?

Yes. In order to ensure that you have secured a seat at a law school for the upcoming term we encourage waitlisted applicants to make a deposit at another institution in case we are unable to offer you admission from the waitlist.

11. I am no longer interested in the University of New Mexico School of Law. Is there anything I need to do?

Yes. Please email the Admissions Office at admissions@law.unm.edu to remove your name from our waiting list.

12. When will I know if space becomes available?

The Office of Admission will notify you as soon as possible, but usually not earlier than May 1. If you have not already heard from us, you will be notified no later than July 15 concerning the status of the waitlist. We appreciate your patience as you wait for notification.