Robert Schwartz

Assistant Dean of Admissions

UCLA School of Law

I've been the dean of admissions at UCLA School of Law for the past 13 years. Prior to that I served as the dean of admissions at Cardozo Law School in New York City. I am a graduate of Cardozo, and prior to entering law school admissions, I practiced law for several years primarily in the areas of Family Law and Bankruptcy Law. Over the years I have served on a number of committees for the Law School Admission Council.

The Basics

What are your best tips for asking for an application fee waiver?

Each school will have its own policy; the policy for UCLA is posted on our web site here:

Honestly, what is “yield protection” and does it really exist?

My understanding of "yield protection" is a school does not admit an applicant because the candidate is unlikely to enroll. I cannot say for certain whether or not it exists.

Applicants can go to the law school numbers web site and see for themselves how often a particular school may not be admitting candidates with LSAT scores and grades above its posted medians. But there could be many reasons why a school does not admit a particular candidate. It is not only for yield protection.

Understanding that all schools may have different procedures, but generally, if an applicant doesn’t get accepted to a school when they applied ED, do they automatically get rolled over to regular decision or is it possible that you can be rejected directly from ED?

At UCLA, it is possbile to be denied directly during the ED process. However, if this is the decision of our committee, they are confident that we would deny through the regular decision process. At least this way, the applicant knows the decision sooner than had they applied through the regular process.

Understanding that all schools may have different procedures, but generally, what is the latest you would recommend a student taking the LSAT if they wanted to apply to law school during a given admissions cycle?

The latest administartion we accept is the January test. I recomennd taking the test as early as possible when you are the most prepared.

Will K-JDs need to submit to LSAC another copy of their transcript after the fall semester and/or spring semester of their senior year? And, be honest, how much does a POST-admission GPA really matter to an admissions committee?

Yes, we require a final official transcript. I do recommend submitting updated transcripts if the grades are improving.

The Law School Application

In your view, what is the biggest impact that can be had by hiring a law school admissions consultant?

I'm not certain as I haven't had any experience but I assume it could be helpful to strategize where to apply. It might also help to have someone help you present your file in the strongest possible light, (e.g., if there are character and fitness issues that need explaining).

When reviewing an applicant's file, where do you typically start and what part do you tend to spend the most time (and why)?

I generally read the application followed by the personal statement and then the CAS report and recomendations which come from LSAC. I would say analyzing the transcript and reading the personal statement take the most time. Also, if the letters of recommendaiton are long that can add time.

Aside from typos, or naming the wrong law school, what are the other two biggest mistakes that far too many students make in their personal statements?

The other two biggest mistakes for UCLA are: failure to provide any indication why the applicant wants to attend law school and poor writing.

The best personal statements I’ve read always contain:

An indication of why law school.

If a law school has a page limit for their personal statement but does not list a font size min/max, what do you recommend?

I'd recommend 12 point font. Keep in mind that we need to read thousands of statements so please be kind to our eyes!

Name TWO things that all applicants need to consider when asking for a letter of recommendation.

Applicants should consider how well the recommender knows them and has seen them demonstrate skills which be used in law school and as an attorney; and the applicants should be certain the recommender is enthusiastic about writing the letter.

A resumé is a resumé, however, aside from typos, what are TWO things you've seen included on a resumé that can totally sink an applicant?

I would say rarely does a resume "sink" an applicant. However, if a resume is "light" on work exerience and or extracurriculars such as leadership or community service, that can be viewed as a negative in the review process.

Character & Fitness

What is the impact of failing to disclose something on the Character & Fitness section of the application?

The impact could be serious. The law school could revoke the offer of admission. In addiition, the applicant might have difficulty gaining admission to the bar.

What’s your best advice for students wrestling whether to disclose unflattering periods in their past?

Disclosure is always better than not disclosing. Failure to disclose could have serious repercussions as discussed above. Many applicnats have unflattering periods in their past. The applicant should be honest and discuss what they have learned.

The Admissions Review

What is the best way to prepare for an admissions interview, either online or in person?

Thinking in advance about what you want the admissions committee to know about you and being prepared to work that information into the interview regardless of the questions asked. I'd also suggest trying to relax and doing some research on the school and being prepared to discuss why you are interested in attending.

What is the one thing a student does NOT want to do during their interview?

I'd say do not dress unprofessionally.

What are TWO things you hope you leave an admissions interview knowing about the candidate?

I'd like to know why they are interested in attending the law school and what kind of peer they will be to their classmates.

What is the best question a candidate ever asked YOU during an admissions interview?

I was once asked what I anticipated would be growth areas and/or new programs at the law school in the next five years.

The Dreaded Waitlist

For waitlisted candidates who would immediately accept an offer of admission, how would you recommend that they convey that enthusiasm with your admissions team (and how often)?

I'd recommend following our instrucitons which suggest updating us by email approximatrely once per month.

When you do go to your waitlist, what piece of information most significantly impacts your decision to extend an offer of admission?

We need to consider the entire file along with all others. Interest in joining the class is very important.

Aside from an outright denial of your offer, what is the most frustrating thing a student can do after being offered a spot from the waitlist?

The most frustrating thing is to constantly write and call and visit and speak to multiple people in the office.

Social Media & Internet Forums

What role, if any, does an applicant’s social media presence play in the admission decision (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram)?

Social media presence plays a very minor role unless we have some reason to look at it (which is rare).

Do you, or members of your admission team, review Internet forums that discuss the law school admissions process (e.g., r/lawschooladmissions, LawSchoolNumbers) and, if so, what information do you typically learn or seek to learn?

We do review them on occasion. I find it helpful to see how applicants are viewing our admisisons process. Sometimes we learn something that we can change, i.e. better communication.

If you review internet admissions forums, in your estimation, what percent of the time are references to your law school or the procedures followed in your admission office INACCURATE.

I'd say they are generally pretty accurate.

Have you ever tried to identify an Internet forum poster in your applicant pool and, if so, were you successful?

Yes, I've successfully identified an applicant a number of times.

Visits & Admitted Students Days

If you were a prospective student visiting a law school, name TWO things you would do and/or look out for during the campus tour.

I would be sure to visit a few classes to get a sense of the classroom environment. I'd also attempt to speak with random current students in the student lounge or in the halls.

If you were a prospective student visiting a law school, what TWO questions you would ask current students?

I would ask current students if they had any regrets about their decision to attend the school and I'd ask them to name one thing that could be improved.

If you were a prospective student visiting a law school, what TWO questions you would ask law school administrators or faculty?

I would ask the faculty how long they have been at the law school and why they have chosen to teach there. I'd ask the administration what services are available to support students.