Application Requirements & Deadlines
Requirements & Deadlines
At the UNM School of Law, applicants are required to apply through the Law School Admission Council's (LSAC) online application service. It’s easy to set up your account and begin the application process.
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)
|September 15||Application becomes available through the LSAC|
|November through April||Applications reviewed by Admissions Committee|
First year application priority deadline*
|May 1||Applicants who meet the March 1 deadline will be notified of their admissions decision no later than May 1.|
|July 1||Transfer and visiting application deadline|
Beginning late in the fall semester, the Admissions Office will assign completed applications to the Admissions Committee for review on a weekly basis. Once an application is complete it may take between three to four weeks for a decision and during peak times may take between six to eight weeks for a decision. All completed files submitted by the priority deadline will receive a 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 early in the admissions cycle and by the March 1 deadline. This includes preference for being awarded scholarship funds. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of acceptance and receiving financial assistance from the Law School.
- A completed application form submitted through LSAC.org
- Nonrefundable $50 application fee
- Personal Statement
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae
- Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report
- An academic summary report
- LSAT score(s) and writing sample(s)
- All undergraduate, graduate, and law/professional transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
Completed application form
Applicants are required to apply electronically through the 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 the UNM School of Law.
The UNM School of Law does provide fee waivers to active duty military, veterans, AmeriCorps volunteers, Peace Corps volunteers, and Teach for America Corps members. To request a fee waiver as a current or former military member or a Corps member, please email the Office of Admissions to request a waiver. Proof of service is required.
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 the following points:
- Your reasons for attending law school,
- Why you are planning to pursue a legal career, and
- Why you wish to study law at the University of New Mexico.
Areas that can demonstrate this include family background, obstacles you have overcome, educational, volunteer, and/or work experiences. Personal statements typically range between two to three double-spaced pages.
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.
Credential Assembly Services (CAS) Report
A completed CAS Report includes the following materials: Official LSAT scores, official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended, and your letters of recommendation. To register with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS), please see the LSAC website for more information. Information on these requirements is listed below.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The purpose of the LSAT is to test the skills necessary for success in the first year of law school. UNM Law strongly believes the LSAT is just one part of a holistic admission process that also considers the skills and lived experience of each candidate; however, your LSAT score is an important part of your application and you should prepare for it as such, including considering taking a prep course. While a low or high score is no guarantee of denial or acceptance, you can check to see what our medians were for the past year by visiting our Consumer Information page. If you take the LSAT and score much lower than our previous medians, you may want to consider retaking it.
You can register for the exam at the LSAC website. Tests are normally administered in July, September, November, January, March and June. We recommend you take the LSAT early in the admissions cycle for best consideration, including scholarship funds; however, UNM will accept a June test score. LSAT test scores are valid for five years.
Official College/University Transcripts
You must have a separate transcript sent to LSAC directly from each undergraduate and graduate institution you attended prior to applying to law school. Only official, sealed transcripts issued directly from your prior institution(s) to LSAC will be accepted.
Letter(s) of Recommendation
At least two letters of recommendation are required; however, up to 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.
Letters of recommendation must be current. The Office of Admissions will accept letters of recommendation that have been written within one year of the date of application. Recommendations that are older than one year old will not be accepted. Recommendations from family members or personal acquaintances are strongly discouraged.
An applicant may wish to provide a supplemental addendum to provide further details regarding a part of his/her application or background that he/she feels would be helpful to the Admissions Committee as the review the applicant’s file.
Admission to the bar in all states involves character, fitness, and other qualifications. Applicants are required to disclose information in their application regarding character and fitness. Please provide an addendum describing the incident(s) for each Character & Fitness question you answered “yes” to. Please review our website for more information on Character & Fitness requirements.
A Heritage Statement is requested from applicants who select “American Indian/ Alaska Native” as a category of ethnicity on their application, but have not identified a tribal affiliation and tribal citizenship information in the demographics portion of the application. A heritage statement should describe the applicant’s connection to his/her Native American heritage and are typically one to two pages in length. This request is in accordance with Resolution 102 approved by the American Bar Association House of Delegates in August 2011.
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Law School Admissions Council and ABA-approved law schools to require additional information from individuals who indicate on their applications for testing or admission that they are Native American, including Tribal citizenship, Tribal affiliation or enrollment number, and/or a “heritage statement.”
Please use this space to upload evaluations, grades, or certificates of completion from special summer law programs. Examples of these types of programs may include, but are not limited to: American Indian Law Center’s Pre-Law Summer Institute, CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute, CLEO Scholars Program, DiscoverLaw.org PLUS Program, and Graduate Horizons.
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
- A nonrefundable $50 application fee
- A new personal statement
- An updated resume
- A new CAS report, including:
- Official LSAT scores
- Official college/university transcripts from all prior institutions
- Two letters of recommendation
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.
In addition to the standard application requirements listed above, international applicants must satisfy the following requirements in order to be eligible for admissions to the UNM School of Law.
- Have earned a degree that is equivalent to the United States bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. 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 Credential Assembly Service (CAS). There is no additional fee for the JD CAS; it is included in the standard 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 equivalent to at least one year’s cost of attendance for nonresident applicants (tuition + cost of living expenses).
Transfers & Visitors
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
- Two letters of recommendation, preferably with one from a professor at the applicant’s current 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.
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.
Please remember to still complete all steps outlined in the Requirements & Deadlines
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.
Please remember to still complete all steps outlined in the Requirements & Deadlines
Undocumented students at the University of New Mexico add tremendous value to our university community. UNM is richer and stronger because of them. As an institution, UNM is committed to do all it can to support and empower our undocumented students to reach their full potential at the university.