Advanced Degree Application Process

LLM and SPILS

The advanced degree application for Fall 2015 admission will become available on September 2, 2014 and the deadline date for submitting the application will be December 5, 2014, 11:59PM PST. Most decisions will be announced by April 1, 2015.  Some applicants may be notified of their admission prior to this date.

Application Requirements

A completed application consists of the following components (see guidelines below):

  1. Application for Admission to Graduate Study
  2. Application Fee
  3. Resume or curriculum vitae
  4. Personal statement
  5. Two letters of recommendation
  6. Official transcripts
  7. TOEFL score report

Additional materials required from SPILS applicants:

  1. Research Proposal
  2. One additional letter of recommendation (3 total)

All application materials must be submitted through LSAC. The application form, resume, personal statement, research proposal (for SPILS applicants only), and the nonrefundable application fee payment must be submitted electronically through LSAC. Official transcripts and TOEFL score report must be submitted through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service. Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service. Required application materials submitted directly to the Office of Admissions will not be accepted.

It is your responsibility to make certain that all items arrive at the Office of Admissions. Your application may be treated as complete and a decision reached as soon as the minimum number of required documents is received.

Applicants are discouraged from submitting additional materials with the application; such materials will not be returned. All applications must be in English. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide information that demonstrates their ability to handle difficult materials in the English language.

Questions concerning the LLM and SPILS application process should be directed to the Stanford Law Office of Admissions by email at or by phone at 650 723.4985.

Application Fee

An application fee of US $125 must be submitted by credit card at the time you transmit your application form electronically through LSAC. This fee is nonrefundable and not applicable to tuition.

Applicants who choose to apply to multiple programs must pay a separate US $125 fee for each application. The application fee for the primary program to which you are applying must be submitted by credit card at the time the application form is transmitted. To submit the remaining application fee amount, payment must be made payable to Stanford Law School in US dollars either by check, postal money order or traveler’s check and sent directly to the address listed below. The applicant name, LSAC account number, and the program(s) to which you are applying must be clearly noted with payment to allow for proper processing.

Graduate Admissions
Stanford Law School
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Stanford requires a one-to-two page resume or curriculum vitae describing your academic, extracurricular, and professional activities. The resume must be submitted with your application.

Personal Statement

The personal statement and research proposal (for SPILS applicants only) must be submitted with your application.

LLM Applicants

This statement of two to three pages seeks information about the applicant’s experience in legal practice, and interest in graduate study (in the applicable specialization). This statement should also discuss the applicant’s professional goals, and how the completion of an LLM degree could benefit his or her legal career.

SPILS Applicants

This statement of two to three pages seeks information about an applicant’s interest in a chosen area of concentration, the expertise and experience the applicant brings to bear on his or her research and study at Stanford Law School, and how the completion of a JSM degree as a SPILS fellow will benefit his or her academic, public service, or policy-oriented career.

Research Proposal

This statement of not more than five pages should (a) briefly explain the applicant’s intended research project, including the nature of the underlying problem to which the research will respond, and (b) state clearly the scholarly and practical objectives and significance of the research. In addition, applicants should explain, on the basis of their prior research on and/or experience with the underlying issue, the methods they intend to deploy in analyzing and contributing to the ultimate resolution of the problem. In particular, applicants should address interdisciplinary perspectives and modes of analysis that promise to increase understanding of the underlying problem. The SPILS Admissions Committee pays particular attention to research proposals in evaluating applications. The committee reviews each research proposal carefully with respect to clarity of focus, analytical specificity, interdisciplinary approach and feasibility, and the degree and quality of research and work-related experience and preparation that the applicant brings to the proposal.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service.

Federal law provides a student, after enrollment, with a right of access to, among other things, letters of recommendation in the student’s file that are submitted to the law school on the student’s behalf. This right may be waived, but such a waiver may not be required as a condition for admission to or receipt of any other services or benefits from Stanford Law School. Please indicate your choice by checking the appropriate box at the top of the LSAC Letter of Recommendation form before giving them to your recommenders.

LLM Applicants

It is suggested that LLM applicants obtain one letter from someone familiar with their work in legal practice (or related professional experience) and one letter from someone familiar with their academic work. At least one letter should be from someone with whom the applicant has worked who can address the applicant’s English-language proficiency.

SPILS Appilcants

It is suggested that SPILS applicants obtain one letter from someone familiar with their research work, one letter from someone familiar with their non-academic work, and if possible, one from someone familiar with their academic or professional work outside the United States. At least one letter should be from someone with whom the applicant has worked who can address the applicant’s English-language proficiency.

Official Transcripts

Stanford Law School requires all LLM and SPILS applicants submit their official transcripts through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service. This service is an easy and convenient means of submitting transcripts to a number of different institutions. LSAC, in cooperation with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), provides law schools with verification, authentication, and evaluation of transcripts and allows our office to more efficiently proceed with the review of your application.

Transcripts submitted through the LSAC LLM Credential Assembly Service should show all courses taken and marks earned, and receipt of any degree from each university and any institution of higher education at which the applicant has been in residence for one year or more. Transcripts submitted directly to the Stanford Law Admissions Office will not be accepted.

English Language Skills and Practical Experience

Stanford Law School course work and related academic activities require written and spoken fluency in English. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based test) or 620 (paper-based test) is required for admission. This exam is administered worldwide. For more information regarding TOEFL, please contact the Educational Testing Service.

All applicants must submit valid TOEFL scores through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service. The TOEFL score should be directed to LSAC. The Institution Code for LSAC is 8395.

Applicants whose native language is English still must formally request a TOEFL waiver to complete the requirement.

Applicants may request a waiver of the TOEFL if they have studied previously in an English-speaking academic institution or have used English extensively in their professional work. Waivers may be granted to those applicants who have studied or worked in English full time for two years or more. Applicants seeking a waiver should furnish a formal letter requesting such an exemption, as well as evidence of their linguistic competence (e.g., a letter from an employer or an article published in English).

The waiver request must be submitted with your application.

English Language Study

For students who are less than fully fluent in English, we may recommend or require, as a condition for admission, attendance at an intensive English language course prior to beginning studies at Stanford Law School. Stanford University offers a six-week intensive English course beginning in early July. Please visit the Stanford’s English for Foreign Students program for more information.

Practical Experience

We believe that the LLM program is most valuable for students who already have significant law practice experience. Except under unusual circumstances, candidates must have at least two years of professional legal experience before commencing the LLM program. Applicants seeking a waiver of this requirement should explain in their application materials the personal or professional circumstances that they believe justify a waiver.

Supplemental Information, Visas, and Additional Matters

When the documents described above have all been received, an application is complete. Until the application has been finally acted upon (and until the first day of attendance, if accepted and enrolling), however, you are obligated to advise the school of any changes in the information previously furnished. In particular, you should promptly report to the school any additional grades received and any other facts that would have required a different answer to the questions asked in the application. Such changes may be reported informally by e-mail to the Office of Admissions; if official verification is required, you will be so advised.

In order to register as students, Stanford University requires that all those who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. registered permanent residents must obtain and maintain an appropriate visa status for their stay in the United States.

If you are offered admission, Stanford reserves the right to withdraw that offer of admission (even after enrolled attendance) if: 1) you show a significant drop in academic performance or fail to graduate; 2) there has been a misrepresentation in the Stanford Law School (SLS) application process; 3) we learn that you have engaged in behavior prior to the first day of enrolled SLS attendance that indicates a serious lack of judgment or integrity; or 4) you reserve a place in our entering class and make an enrollment commitment or place a deposit at another law school. Stanford further reserves the right to require you to provide additional information and/or authorization for the release of information about such matter.

Reapplication Procedure

Applicants who wish to reapply for admission must submit the following:

  1. New application and application fee,
  2. Updated resume, personal statement, research proposal (SPILS applicants),
  3. New letter of recommendation to LSAC utilizing the Letter of Recommendation Service, and
  4. Updated transcripts reflecting grades that were not included in the previous application review and/or new TOEFL scores through LSAC.

Please note that recommendations already on file need not be duplicated. Applications for Fall 2012, 2013, and 2014, have been retained.

Application Status Check

In order to keep you apprised of your application status, we are providing an online status page. To view the status of your application, please click on the following link in order to access the password protected online status page:

Check your status online

Nondiscrimination Policy

Stanford University admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. Consistent with its obligations under the law, Stanford prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in the administration of the University’s programs and activities; Stanford also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding this nondiscrimination policy:

Director of the Diversity and Access Office
Mariposa House
585 Capistrano Way
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-8230
650 723.0755 (voice), 650 723.1216 (TTY), 650 723.1791 (fax)
equal.opportunity@stanford.edu

Stanford’s Title IX Coordinator, Catherine Criswell, has been designated to handle inquiries regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence:

450 Serra Mall
Building 160
Stanford, CA 94305
650 497.4955 (voice), 650 497.9257 (fax)
titleix@stanford.edu

Campus Security

Stanford University complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. Stanford’s policies and statistics under this act are posted on the Department of Public Safety website. A paper copy can be obtained by calling the Stanford Department of Public Safety at 650 723.9633