Getting Readmitted to Law School

I don’t need to be readmitted again. I have started my last semester of law school and will graduate in May.  This post is for those who are trying to be readmitted to law school after being dismissed for academic insufficiency.  “Kicked out of law school” or some variation is one of the most popular search terms bringing people to my blog even though I haven’t written much about law school.  For those searchers I’m posting what worked for me.  Hopefully, it will work for them as well.

Different schools have different processes but at my school when you were kicked out you had an opportunity to present your case to a committee on why you should be readmitted.  The first thing the committee wanted to see was that I was able to do the work.  Since I had finished my first year with good grades this showed that I had the ability to do law school work.  Next I needed to show a reason why I hadn’t done well the past semester and why I would do better if readmitted.  The reason I did poorly was due to depression.  After being dismissed I started counseling which helped with my depression and allowed me to do my law school work at a normal level again.  Even with being able to show why I would do better if readmitted I probably wouldn’t have been readmitted if it weren’t for the fact that I had a school administrator strongly advocating my case for me.  I can’t thank her enough for her help and I’m glad that I’ve shown with my performance since being readmitted that it was the correct decision to readmit me to law school.

Your reasons won’t likely be the same as mine but this should give you an idea of what you need to do.  If you are kicked out in the spring semester and want to be readmitted for the fall semester there are several things you can do over the summer to help your case.  You could take a non-law school law class. Or you could write a legal paper.  Or you could work in a law office, it would be very helpful if they allowed you to show some of your work.  I think the thing that would be most helpful though is to convince a member of the readmission committee to advocate for you.  The committee members are going to give much more weight to a fellow committee member’s opinion than anything you tell them.  If you can’t get a member of the readmission committee to advocate for you than an administration or faculty member would be your next best choice.

I can’t guarantee that these tips will get you readmitted but they should help your case.

8 thoughts on “Getting Readmitted to Law School”

  1. Congrats on getting readmitted.
    I’ve got two days left of finals and will likely get booted once grades get posted. I know this post is a few months gone but I was hoping you could offer some advice.
    My school’s appeals process is a bit different(automatic one year suspension) but the issues are the same. They want to know what went wrong and why it won’t happen again. And yeah, it’s still a long shot.
    My question is: how detailed did you get with your explanation regarding depression? Did you just leave it at “I was diagnosed with…; it affected my performance in this way…”?
    The reason I ask is that I’m in relatively the same boat. I was treated for depression 4 years ago but recovered.
    I started my 1L last august. Symptoms came back in September but I chalked it up to stress. Plus I was reluctant to get back on meds because of the side effects; eg insomnia. Then in a three month span my personal life fell apart. Two funerals and a(my)divorce between November and February.
    It would be humiliating to give this sob story to a room full of strangers. But that’s why I tanked my finals. I’d prefer to leave it at just a diagnosis. But I suspect the committee wants to know more.

    • I didn’t give a long explanation about my depression but I think it is probably better if you do. After I gave my short explanation the committee did want more information. You have a pretty compelling story so I would use it. Every school is different but you need to try to get readmitted unless you just don’t want to go to law school any more. It paid off for me, hopefully it will pay off for you.

  2. Hey Andy. Thanks for the reply.
    I appreciate the information and your candor. I still haven’t decided whether to tell my family, let alone blog about it. Enjoy your graduation. Good luck on the bar and everything that follows.

  3. I had a similar issue with medical school, and had to apply for readmission after remediating a class at another medical school. My reapplication process ended up being handled by an interim dean (which didn’t help) and it did not lead to reinstatement despite the support of my academic advisor and the professors where I took the remediated class. Hence, I had to find another path to complete my goal, and I am now finishing medical school in Europe. It’s not how I pictured things going, but at least I have some insurance that I can achieve my degree. I hope that this works out for Silas, but I also hope that he’ll find a way through, whatever this school decides. Good luck!

  4. I know this an old thread, but I am glad to know I am not the only one. I am on AP and fear dismissal and having to reapply. I am glad to know it is not impossible though. That is good to know. Thanks to all who have shared here.

  5. I am facing a potential dismissal from law school. After my first semester, my GPA sits at a 1.68. I suffered great depression and anxiety throughout the semester, resulting from a series of family issues surrounding my brother’s transition (he came out as transgender – and revealed that he had been in the transition process for quite some time, and was about to be granted the consent for SRS – sexual reassignment surgery). Naturally, that revelation did not go so well, given my family’s extensive conservative background.

    To add insult to injury, I was dismissed from another law school (A T4 diploma mill school) in 2012 after my third semester. While there was mild depression and anxiety at that time, I realize I was ill-equipped for the rigors of a law school curriculum. In the 2 years I sat out, I obtained a M.S. in criminal justice (graduated with distinction), and I worked a series of legal-related jobs (private sector corrections, 1 year as a legal intern at the army corps of engineers, and as a juvenile probation officer).

    My school requires that you have a 1.9 at the end of the second semester, and a 2.0 at the end of the third. If you are dismissed, you are required to sit out until next Fall. Though, I wonder if it makes sense for me to sit out – given that I got a B in a core class, and a C in the other (criminal and torts). My poor grades were a C- in my legal writing class, and a D in contracts. The contracts professor poorly prepared students for the exam, because all students were shocked at the contents of the exam. It really came down to who could make the best guesses. I suppose I was the worst guesser. At my previous law school, I got an A in contracts. The other class grades were poor.

    I do receive disability accomodations for ADHD. It’s this peculiar thing. I am generally among the most active participants in a lecture, and after the lecture, I generally understand the material so well. Once I get to the test, there is this huge discrepancy between what I know and what my grade shows. I have deduced that often, test performance is dependent on whether or not I’ve had ‘a good day,’ as opposed to my ability to retain and understand the legal material in class. However, I am not sure how to put that all into words when I confront a professor.

    I know people can be quick to ask – if law school is really what I want. Or perhaps, I’m not just meant to be a lawyer, because it’s not for everyone. Honestly, if it was something I knew I could not do, I would have quit the first time around. It’s like I know this material front and back, but then something impedes me from being able to deliver in an exam.

    I do have a close relationship with one of my professors who happens to be on the committee. Do I stand a chance if I confront him and ask him for sage advice? What are your chances of readmission if you are ‘two hundreths of a point’ shy from the minimum at the end of your first semester?

    I appreciate any advice here.

  6. Talking to the professor on the committee might be your best bet. It would help a lot to have someone on your side on the committee. I don’t really have any advice beyond what I’ve shared in the post. Every school handles readmission a little bit differently so it is hard to know what will work best in your case.

  7. If you are petitioning for readmission, it will probably be denied. Law students who have been on academic probation are treated very poorly, but even high achieving students often are not given the support they need. Your entire grade for one semester is based on a one-day test, nothing else, which isn’t a fair or accurate measure of a student’s abilities. The legal profession is over crowded with low chances for gainful employment, for anyone who doesn’t graduate from a first tier school. Best of luck with finding a different career.


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