Finding a School
The right law school for you will vary based on your interests and needs academically, professionally, and personally. To support your journey as a prospective LGBTQ+ law student, LSAC’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Subcommittee compiled a list of key questions to ask yourself and schools to inform your decisions every step of the way. If you have any questions or suggestions for questions to add in the future, please email LSAC DEI at DiversityOffice@LSAC.org.
Step 1: Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is crucial in determining which schools you want to apply to and eventually attend. You must understand what is important to you, your education, and your professional goals. The following questions aim to help you with this step.
- How much do I value being able to be out during law school? Is that something I typically share with peers or faculty?
- How important is it that I be among a number of other LGBTQ+ students?
- How important to me are other considerations, like racial and ethnic diversity in the student body, geographic location, religious affiliation, and specific programs?
Step 2: Initial Law School Search and Exploration
Before meeting with law school representatives, current law students, and alumni, or before attending an LSAC Forum or a school visit, be sure to explore your schools of interest in the LSAC LGBTQ+ Guide to Law Schools. This guide provides basic information about practices and policies that impact the student experience and specific school contact information for 120 law schools in the U.S. and in Canada.
Step 3: Asking the Questions to Inform Your Decisions
Key questions to ask schools and yourself are listed below in four categories:
- How does the admissions office (or committee) view coming out during the application process?
- Does the application offer inclusive gender options to select from?
- Does the application ask about sexual orientation? If so, how is this information used?
- Why is my perspective and lived experience important at your school?
- Can I be connected with an LGBTQ+ alumni or current student to ask about their experiences in the law school?
- Self-reflection question: Does the application use gender-inclusive language? Do I feel seen when filling out the application?
- Self-reflection question: Do promotional materials regarding LGBTQ+ and diversity feel genuine, or do they feel more performative than anything else?
Personal and Community
- How many LGBTQ+ law students enroll each year? What related student organizations exist at your school?
- Are there out faculty, staff, and administrators at the law school?
- How welcoming is the campus and the surrounding area? Are there things I need to know about the state or region that could impact my experience overall or my safety?
- Are there all gender restrooms available? If so, where are they located? Are they easy to get to and in convenient locations? Are they ADA accessible?
- Is there campus family housing available, and are same-sex families eligible? Are related housing policies inclusive of nonbinary individuals?
- How does the school recognize things such as Pride Month, Trans Day of Visibility, etc.?
- If issues arise, who would I talk to and how would I seek support from the school's administration?
- Can my chosen name appear in campus systems (e.g., class rosters, student ID cards, diplomas, etc.)? What is the process for doing so?
- Does your school provide healthcare coverage? If so, is this coverage inclusive of affirming medical treatments and procedures for transgender students?
- Are there any other physical spaces specifically for queer students (e.g., LGBTQ+ resource center, dedicated space for the LGBTQ+ student group)?
Academic and Professional
- How many classes are offered specifically on issues affecting LGBTQ+ communities? How regularly are these classes offered? Who teaches them?
- Are LGBTQ+ issues/case law incorporated into the curriculum beyond specifically dedicated classes?
- Are there research centers, clinics, journals, or other opportunities where I can focus on LGBTQ+ topics?
- What kind of advising is available for LGBTQ+ students to help navigate the job search process?
- Is there an active LGBTQ+ alumni group, or some other way to engage with alumni who identify as LGBTQ+?
- Does the school offer mentorship programs specifically for LGBTQ+ students or other diverse groups?
- What is the school’s approach to addressing on-campus interviews by employers who may discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals or communities? Does your approach account for the experiences impacting nonbinary students?
- Does your school sponsor, promote, or connect students with the Lavender Law Conference ?
Self-Reflection After a School Visit
- Is there a visible queer presence at the law school? How important is this visibility?
- When interacting with students, staff, and faculty at the law school, do I get the feeling that I can safely be my authentic self?
- How much do I want to feel that I can be my authentic self on the larger campus and in the surrounding area?
- Can I see myself thriving here?