Facts and Statistics

What is the size of the entering class?

The size of the 2017-2018 class is 115. Of these, 95 students are new enrollees.

Where do your students come from?

Our students come primarily from Tennessee, although we also have students residing in Kentucky and Georgia. Our Tennessee students come from 44 of Tennessee’s 95 counties from Shelby County in the west to Sullivan County in the east, and they have 39 different hometowns

What was your median undergraduate GPA?

3.12

What was your median LSAT score?

149

What is your student to faculty ratio?

8:1. The School’s adjunct faculty consists of 44 lawyers and judges with demonstrated expertise and experience in their fields. Class size ranges from 15 for some electives to more than 100 for some required classes.

Preparation for Law School

Which undergraduate major will most enhance my chances of obtaining admission?

The School does not require any specific course of undergraduate study. NSL students have studied almost every imaginable subject. Many applicants have focused their studies in the fields of political science, philosophy, history, government, economics, business, journalism, or English, but these are only a few of the paths that students may take to prepare for a successful law school experience. Generally, successful law students possess the ability to read and analyze and to present well-reasoned conclusions in writing. These skills can be learned in almost any of the rigorous academic disciplines in a college or university.

Do you recommend any pre-law preparatory programs?

Pre-law preparatory programs are available, but the School neither does not require any such program. Two such programs are the DiscoverLaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program, which is targeted to racial and ethnic students in the first two years of college or the six-week summer program offered by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO).

What qualities do you look for in an “ideal” candidate?

The School looks for well-rounded individuals. Our students have strong, but diverse, academic and work backgrounds that have prepared them for the rigors of law school. They have immersed themselves in life outside the classroom and have demonstrated leadership skills and a volunteer spirit. In short, we are looking for students who are able to handle the academic challenges of law school, while becoming active and contributing members of our academic community.

Will my past indiscretions prevent me from being admitted to the School?

Not necessarily. The School understands that an applicant may have received criminal or disciplinary charges. Without knowing the specific details, it is not possible to determine whether a past indiscretion will have meaningful ramifications on the admission decision. It is necessary, of course, to disclose this information as requested in the application and to provide a straightforward, honest, and complete explanation of the matter.

The Admission Process

What documents must I provide in order to be considered for first-year admission?

  • A completed and signed application form.
  • The non-refundable $50 application fee.
  • The LSAT/CAS score report sent by the Law School Admission Council with transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • The required personal statement.
  • Foreign-educated applicants must also comply with the degree valuation and language proficiency requirement in Section 1.07 of the School’s Policies and Procedures

What is the application fee and how do I pay it?

The non-refundable application fee is $50. The fee may be paid by a check drawn on a United States Bank; a money order made payable to the Nashville School of Law; or by a credit or debit card.

When do you begin accepting applications?

On September 1 of each year, the Admissions Committee begins accepting applications for the class entering the following fall semester. The School uses a rolling admission process in which applications will be accepted and considered as long as seats are available. It is better to apply early in the admission cycle because, as additional applications are received and acceptances offered, the number of available seats decreases.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is June 15 of the year in which the applicant desires to enroll in classes.

Must I register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)?

Yes. All ABA-accredited law schools and non-ABA-accredited law schools like the Nashville School of Law require an applicant to register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). For more information about the CAS, please contact the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) at http://www.lsac.org.

How are foreign transcripts processed?

Foreign transcripts for work outside the United States (including any of its territories) must be submitted through the CAS. Accordingly, applicants must request the educational institution(s) to send the official transcript directly to LSAC. The School determines educational equivalency using the same standards used by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. Accordingly, foreign-educated applicants must provide the School with a comprehensive, course-by-course evaluation of the educational equivalency from either the International Evaluation Services of the Center for Applied Research, Evaluation, and Education, Inc. (www.lescaree.com) or the Educational Research Foundation (www.ierf.com).

Can I apply online?

Yes. All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online at https://sis.nsl.law/studapp.cfm. Applications also may be mailed to the School. Whether submitted electronically or by mail, the School must receive your application prior to the June 15 deadline.

Why does the School’s application include character and fitness questions?

In addition to a bar examination, every jurisdiction in the United States enforces character and fitness qualification for admission to the practice of law. The questions contained in the School’s application are the first step in assessing your character and fitness for the legal profession. How you respond to these questions can have significant implications not just for your admission to law school, but also for your admission to the practice of law. Applicants should answer all questions on their application for admission completely and accurately. Full and honest disclosure is necessary in the law school admission process and later in the licensing process.

The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners and other licensing authorities will ask you similar questions on their applications. When you apply to take a bar exam, the licensing authority will ask the School to submit a copy of your law school application and will compare your answers to the questions on their application with those provided in your law school application. Because discrepancies can cause adverse consequences, it is imperative that the information provided in your law school application is accurate and complete. If your answers on your law school application are inconsistent with those on your bar exam application, the licensing authority likely will initiate a more intensive review of your file and may require you to explain the reason for the discrepancy. Discrepancies that are inadequately explained can result in sanctions, including: revocation of law school admission, delay in certification of fitness, or a determination that you are not fit to practice law.

Admission to the School does not guarantee certification by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners or any other licensing authority. For answers to any questions regarding the character and fitness questions on the School application for admission, please contact the Registrar at 615.256.3684.

If I reveal something confidential in my application, how confidential will it really be?

During the admission process, the only persons to see applications are the members of the Admissions Committee, all of whom understand the importance of and are accustomed to keeping the contents of the files confidential. If you are admitted and become a student at the School, your application information will be included in your student file, and other staff members may have access to it. However, the privacy of students is protected under federal law by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g.

May I submit a resumé with my application?

Yes, but it must be in addition to, rather than in place of, any of the other required admission documents.

What are some factors considered by the Admissions Committee?

The School views its student body as one of its greatest assets. Accordingly, our admission process seeks applicants with the greatest chance of success, both in their education and in their future careers. The Admissions Committee evaluates each application carefully and individually.

The Committee is mindful of the value of outstanding academic performance and exceptional aptitude for the study of law. It considers a composite of an applicant’s undergraduate GPA and LSAT score. However, these scores are far from definitive because the Committee understands that the potential to become a competent, ethical professional is not always reflected in an applicant’s scores. The highest possible scores will not guarantee admission, and low scores will, likewise, not automatically result in a denial because both circumstances may have significant offsetting considerations.

The Committee considers the whole person. Among other things, it evaluates the strength of the applicant’s personal statement and recommendations, the rigor of the applicant’s undergraduate and graduate education, significant work experience, and significant life experiences and community involvement.

The Admissions Committee examines each application for admission with the goals of (1) assessing the overall competitive strength of the applicant’s record as compared with the other applicants within that applicant’s pool, (2) the ability to respect and learn from other students, and (2) achieving a class that, as a whole, will have depth in quality, diversity of background, a wide variety of experience, and a substantial range of viewpoint.

Does the School take into account the difficulty of undergraduate majors when making admission decisions?

The School takes into consideration each applicant’s entire academic profile, and that includes major and curriculum. The curriculum and a student’s choice of courses tells more than simply looking at the major. The School wants to make sure that applicants have taken challenging courses that strengthen their critical thinking, analytical thinking, and writing skills.

What information should I include in my personal statement?

The statement should include personal information relevant to the admission decision that is not elicited elsewhere in the application. This statement provides an opportunity to tell the School more about yourself. It may address your intellectual interests, significant accomplishments, obstacles overcome, personal and professional goals, educational achievements, or any way in which your perspective, viewpoint, or experiences will contribute to the School’s diversity.

I do not perform well on standardized tests or I have mitigating circumstances explaining my poor GPA. Should I explain this in my personal statement?

No. The School recommends applicants use their personal statements to provide information supporting their application for admission, not to explain perceived deficiencies. A supplemental statement may be submitted to address test or academic performance.

Can you give any examples of mistakes that students make in their personal statements that severely hinder their chances of obtaining admission?

While the School uses the personal statement to learn more about the applicant, it also provides the School with an opportunity to gauge an applicant’s writing skills. Therefore, personal statements submitted with numerous spelling or grammatical errors will not impress the Admissions Committee.

Can I reactivate my application from a previous year?

No. Applicants who applied during a prior admission year must submit a new application and supporting documents, as well as a new application fee. Reapplicants are not required to submit additional LSAT scores as long as their scores are less than five years old.

Are interviews part of the admission process?

The Admission Committee does not require evaluative interviews for the purpose of admission. However, the Committee may request an interview with an applicant on a case-by-case basis.

Do you have any open houses?

No. The School does not conduct regular open houses for admission purposes.

Can I visit the School and observe a class?

Yes. The School encourages applicants to schedule a visit and to talk with a staff member to gain information about the legal education offered at NSL. Upon request, the School also can arrange for an applicant to attend one or more class sessions.

LSAT and GPA

I have not taken the LSAT. Will the School accept another standardized test (i.e., GMAT, GRE, MCAT) in place of the LSAT?

No.

What is the LSAT exam and where to I get information about it?

The LSAT is a half-day standardized test required for admission to many law schools in the United States. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading, verbal reasoning, and analytical skills that law schools can use as one of several factors to assess applicants. It is offered four times each year. For more information on the LSAT exam, please consult the Law School Admission Council (www.lsac.org).

Should I prepare for the LSAT exam?

There are many ways to approach the LSAT exam. The School encourages applicants to prepare for the LSAT. More information on preparing for the LSAT can be found on the Law School Admission Council’s website.

When should I take the LSAT?

The LSAT is offered four times each year in September, December, February, and June. Applicants frequently take the LSAT in either in June, September, or December in the year prior to their contemplated enrollment date. Doing so gives them an opportunity to take the LSAT again if they desire to improve their score. The school encourages applicant to take the LSAT no later than February of the year in which they plan to enroll.

May I submit my application before I have taken the LSAT?

The School encourages applicants who are registered to take a future LSAT exam to submit their application so that it will be complete and ready to be reviewed as soon as LSAC reports their score.

How are multiple LSAT scores addressed?

If an applicant takes the LSAT exam more than once, the School will consider the highest LSAT score. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to explain significant variances in the scores.

How old can my LSAT score be?

The School accepts LSAT scores that are no more than 5 years old.

Does the Admissions Committee use an LSAT or GPA cutoff?

No. The School does not use numerical cutoffs in admission decisions. The Admissions Committee evaluates the entire application.

I have completed graduate work. Will my graduate GPA be considered?

Yes. We review all aspects of your application package including any graduate work. Because all applicants have an undergraduate record, the undergraduate GPA allows some level of comparison among applicants for admission.

My GPA and/or LSAT score are below the median. Do I still have a chance of gaining admission.

Yes. The School seeks a diverse and talented student body. While an applicant’s GPA and LSAT score are two important measures of academic achievement and potential, the School realizes that they tell only part of the story. The Admissions Committee reviews all aspects of each application

Letters of Recommendation

Are letters of recommendation required?

Yes.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

The School requires at least three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a person associated professionally with the legal community. While applicants may submit more than three recommendation letters, the Admissions Committee is less impressed with the number of letters than with their substantive content.

May I use the CAS Letter of Recommendation Service?

Yes. Applicants may also submit letters of recommendation in a sealed envelope or ask their recommenders to send their letter directly to the School.

Notification and Acceptance

How can I check the status of my application?

The online application portal available at https://sis.nsl.law/studapp.cfm allows applicants to see the real-time status of their application file. Please note, if you are working on your application and have not yet submitted it, you must click on “Continue an application in process” and use your email and PIN (selected when you began your application) in order to access your application account. After the application is submitted, account access is available at https://sis.nsl.law/appsect.cfm using your email and the PIN you selected. In addition, applicants are invited to email Registrar Chip Loser at chip.loser@nsl.law with questions.

Does the School have a rolling admission policy?

Yes. The School reviews applications as they are completed and submitted, but admission decisions are not necessarily made in that order. The School encourages applicants to apply and complete their files as early as they comfortably are able because later in the application cycle, fewer seats are available.

When are applicants notified of admission decisions?

Applicants are notified of admission decisions as they are made. Multiple factors may affect when the Admissions Committee acts on an application. No application is considered until it is complete, but applicants who have submitted all required materials may inquire about the status of a decision regarding a completed application file by emailing Registrar Chip Loser at chip.loser@nsl.law.

May I defer my acceptance?

Yes, deferrals are granted on an individual basis. Applicants must submit a written request explaining the reasons for the deferral and must pay a nonrefundable registration fee that will be credited against the tuition and fees when the student enrolls. Deferrals are solely within the discretion of the Dean or the Dean’s designee.

May I start the J.D. program in the spring semester?

No, the School permits student to begin their studies in the fall semester.

Degree

What degree do you confer?

Doctor of Jurisprudence, often referred to as a J.D.

Do you offer dual-degree programs?

No.

Do you have an LLM program?

No.

Curriculum

What is the average course load?

Nashville School of Law is a four-year degree program, which is considered part-time, as law schools typically award degrees after three years of study. The School requires 57 credits for graduation, including two credits of an independent study writing course.

When do classes meet?

Classes meet only at night each Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. There are two classes per night, but most first- and second-year students have classes on Monday and Thursday only. Wednesday schedules vary depending upon course selection.

What is the academic calendar like?

The academic year typically starts the first week of August and continues until late April, with a few final exams continuing into early May. Graduation is the Saturday before Memorial Day.

What is the first-year curriculum like?

The School’s first-year curriculum consists entirely of required classes, which meet for 100 minutes each once per week. Classes are Monday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. – 8:10 and 8:20 – 10 p.m.

What courses are required for graduation?

Required First-Year Courses

  • Constitutional Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Contract Law
  • Crimes
  • Introduction to Law
  • Legal Skills & Values I
  • Torts I

Required Second-Year Courses

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Evidence
  • Property

Required Third-Year Courses

  • Domestic Relations
  • Estate Planning
  • Ethics & Professionalism
  • Legal Skills & Values II
  • Remedies
  • Wills

Required Fourth-Year Courses

  • Advanced Legal Studies
  • Bar Exam Workshop
  • Business Associations
  • Conflicts of Law
  • Sales
  • Secured Transactions
  • Torts II

In addition to these required classes, students must successfully complete (1) 6 hours of elective courses, (2) one of the three Trial Practice Series courses, and (3) the Rigorous Writing Exercise.

Does the Nashville School of Law have any areas of concentration or certificate programs?

No.

Do you offer clinical programs?

Yes, the School offers three clinical programs – the Wills Clinic in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, the Juvenile Custody Clinic in partnership with the Juvenile Court for Davidson County, and the General Sessions Practicum.

Does the School have a grade normalization policy?

Yes, the School has a grade normalization policy to maintain parity in grading among the faculty. For each graded course, the policy recommends a target mean numerical grade between 75 and 80 and the following target distribution of grades:

90—100                     5—20%

80-89                         24—45%

70—79                        20-45%

69 or less                   5—15%

What is your grading scale?

For students enrolling after July 31, 2017, the grading scale is: A+=4.0; A=4.0; A-=3.7; B+’3.3; B= 3.0; B-=2.7; C+=2.3; C= 2.0; C-=1.70; D=1.0; and F=0.

Are students given a class rank? If so, how often?

Students are provided their class rank and the end of each academic year. With the exception of the recipient of the Founders’ Award for the highest grade point average in the graduating class, the School does not disclose the class rank of students. Students who have been inducted into Cooper’s Inn may disclose that they graduated in the top 10% of their class.

Do you offer summer school?

Yes, the School offers two elective courses during the summer.

Do you offer online courses?

No.

Are there opportunities to meet the faculty?

Yes, the School encourages the faculty to interact with students. The faculty participates in the orientation for first-year students. Many members of the faculty attend student functions and advise student organizations. Faculty members are also available to students before and after class and on other occasions by appointment.

Transfer and Visiting Students

Do you accept transfer students?

Yes.

What are the application procedures for a transfer student?

The application procedures for transfer students are the same as the procedures for persons applying for admission as a first-year student. In addition to the information required of applicants seeking admission as a first-year student, transfer applicants must provide (1) a statement explaining their reasons for requesting admission to the School, (2) a complete official academic transcript from the prior law school indicating all the coursework completed and grades received, and (3) a written release authorizing the School to request and the former law school to provide information relating to the student’s conduct and performance at the prior law school. Letters of information from instructors at the prior law school are helpful, but not required.

What is the deadline for filing a transfer application?

The deadline for filing a transfer application is June 15 of the year in which the transfer applicant desires to enroll. However, the School encourages transfer applicants to file their applications as soon as possible.

What courses transfer?

Credit for any of the School’s required courses will be accepted for credit only when the School determines that the course taken at the prior law school is comparable with the course offered by the School. Only courses in which the applicant received a grade of C+ or higher will be eligible for transfer credit. The School does not accept transfer credits from non ABA-credited schools.

How many credit hours will transfer?

The School will give transfer applicants no more than 16 hours of credit for courses taken a prior law school.

What happens to my GPA when I transfer?

The grades in all courses accepted for transfer credit are entered as “Pass” on the student’s record and will not be included in the calculation of the student’s GPA.

Do transfer students have a class rank?

Transfer students receive GPA and class rank after they have completed one full year of study at the School.

Is it possible to enroll as a new or transfer student during the second semester?

No.

Tuition and Fees

How much does it cost to attend the School?

Tuition at Nashville School of Law for the 2018-2019 academic year is $530 per credit hour. Typical first-year students take 12 credit hours, and registration and other fees range from $500 to $2270 each year, resulting in a total cost of $7,060 for the first year at Nashville School of Law, not including books.

Each student must complete 57 credit hours to graduate, making the current total cost of a law degree from Nashville School of Law $34,180 including tuition and fees.

Students may elect to pay tuition in full at registration, or in 10 monthly installments each year.

Do you offer scholarships or awards?

Nashville School of Law awards more than $60,000 in need- and performance-based scholarships each year to students. Applicants can inquire about the availability of first-year scholarships by contacting the Assistant Dean for Administration Beth McDonald at beth.mcdonald@nsl.law.

The School awards tuition scholarship prizes for students who excel in the Rigorous Writing Exercise, a required two-year project that takes place during the second and third year of study.

Does the School participate in Veteran’s Benefits programs?

The Nashville School of Law works closely with the Veteran’s Administration to assist students eligible for tuition benefits. For more information, contact Assistant Dean for Administration Beth McDonald at beth.mcdonald@nsl.law.

Does the School offer Student Financial Aid?

Students at Nashville School of Law are not eligible for federally backed student loans. The School does not participate in government-subsidized educational loan programs.

What is the average amount of total debt students accumulate?

Students generally graduate from the School with no educational debt.

Other Questions

I have been previously dismissed from law school. Can I still apply?

Yes, students who have been academically disqualified or dismissed from another law school may apply for admission.

Do you require students to own computers?

No. Because the ability to use computers has become essential to the practice of law, the School encourages students to become proficient in computer applications that will enhance their law school experience and their ability to practice law.