JD Admissions

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Thomas Jefferson School of Law is now admitting new students for its JD degree as a California Law School, accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.

For more than fifty years, the Law School has trained outstanding lawyers and offered opportunities to deserving students from all walks of life, and remains committed to that tradition. Graduates of the Law School will be academically qualified to sit for the California Bar Examination, and can become eligible to practice in a number of other states after meeting criteria set out by the admitting authority in those states. We are looking for students who, through their personal, intellectual or professional background and experience, will contribute to the rich and diverse tapestry of our law school community. Each applicant is a unique individual, and each application to Thomas Jefferson School of Law is considered individually. Every application receives full, careful, and personalized consideration.

Eligibility

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned an associate’s degree or higher from an accredited institution by their first day of classes at the Law School. Applicants must submit an LSAT score.

Apply for Free

There is no application fee. Apply now through the LSAC.

Apply Now

Applications must be completed through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Only complete applications will be reviewed.

Online Status Checker

You may check the status of your application by visiting the LSAC Online Status Checker. Unique usernames and passwords are automatically emailed to each applicant after they submit an application.

Accept Admission and Pay Seat Deposit

Once accepted, you must pay a $200 non-refundable seat deposit to secure your seat in the class. The deposit will be credited to your student account and deducted from your tuition. You can submit your deposit here. You can also submit your deposit through the New Student Portal, which will require a username and password. Please refer to your acceptance packet for these credentials.

Program Details

The Law School offers traditional Fall and Spring enrollment. Students that choose to enroll in the Fall have the option to begin law school in the summer through our Early Start Program.

Questions

Contact TJSL Admissions
Office: 619.961.4300
Email: admissions@tjsl.edu

Contact an LSAC Representative
Website: http://www.lsac.org
Additional Assistance: https://www.lsac.org/contact

*Early Start classes will be held in late-afternoon and evening sessions (between 4:00pm and 10:00pm). It is anticipated full-time students will take all three courses and part-time students will take the first two courses.

Students seeking admission to Thomas Jefferson School of Law must complete the following steps:

  1. Register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC)

  2. Apply online through LSAC

  3. Provide the following to support your application 

    • Personal statement

    • Résumé

    • One Letter of Recommendation (Maximum 3)

    • Transcripts (from all other universities and colleges attended)

    • Any required addenda or additional statements in support of your application

  4. Interviews

    • The Law School requires some applicants to complete interviews.Applicants required to interview must complete their interview with an Admissions Officer so the results of the interview can be considered along with the rest of their application documents.  Applicants not required to interview may still request to meet with an Admissions Officer to discuss the merits of their application.  

  5. Deadlines

    • Early Start (June): May 11

    • Fall Enrollment (August): July 15

    • Spring Enrollment (January): December 15

  6. Seat Deposit 

    • If admitted, you will be required to pay a $200 non-refundable seat deposit. The deposit will be credited to your account and deducted from your tuition.

  1. Once your application is submitted through LSAC, it will be sent electronically to our office.
  2. Applicants will receive email notifications from the Admissions Office once their application is received and again when their file is complete and ready for review.
  3. Only files that are complete and contain all of the required documents listed above will be reviewed for admission.
  4. Files are reviewed on a rolling basis.
  5. All formal decision letters will be mailed to the current address on file. Please keep your address up to date. With the exception of the formal decision letters, email communication is the primary method of communication – please keep your email address up to date.

Eligibility

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned an associate’s degree or higher from an accredited institution by their first day of classes at the Law School. Applicants must submit an LSAT score.

Create a CAS Report File

Register with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). The CAS report will contain your LSAT score(s) (no more than 5 years old), LSAT Writing Sample, letters of recommendation, and all required transcripts.

Register for LSAT

Register for and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admissions Council. You can register directly with LSAC by accessing their website. Please note that LSAC will only release your application to the Admissions Office once your LSAT score has posted to your account. If taken multiple times, we will accept your highest score.

LSAT Writing Sample

Your LSAT Writing Sample must be included with your application to be considered complete. Applications sent by LSAC to the Law School without the Writing Sample will remain on file as incomplete until received.

Personal Statement

Please upload your personal statement through your LSAC account. We ask that you prepare a double-spaced, two-to-three-page personal statement. We are looking for information about you that distinguishes you from other applicants. Tell us about your life experiences, accomplishments, aspirations and what you can bring to the law school community. We also encourage you to write your personal statement in a narrative style so that more of your personality and who you are will come through in your writing. You should envision the personal statement as your opportunity to have a conversation with the Admissions Committee, highlighting what you think is important.

Letters of Recommendation

Please have your recommenders submit their letters directly to LSAC. Although we accept up to three letters of recommendation, the recommendation requirement will be considered complete when one letter has been received. Letters can be from college professors who can attest to your ability to perform in a challenging academic setting. If you have been out of school for some time, letters from an employer are also appropriate.

Transcripts

Transcripts from all of the colleges or universities you have attended must be submitted to LSAC. LSAC will process and evaluate each transcript and will forward a report to us.

International Applicants: If your education was received from a school outside of the United States, you must have your transcript(s) evaluated and translated to determine whether you possess the equivalent of a U.S. undergraduate degree. A detailed report from the evaluation will be sent to us from LSAC. Applicants who have earned their degree from a non-English speaking country also must provide their TOEFL or IELTS exam results. Our school code is 4973.

Addenda

Please upload your addenda through your LSAC account.

Previous Law School Attendance: Students who have previously attended law school must provide detailed information regarding their attendance at the law school and their reason for leaving. They must also provide a copy of their law school transcript and letter of attendance /standing.

Additional Statements

Additional statements should be no more than one page in length – be specific and brief. You are welcome to address anything in your application that might require further explanation. Examples include a gap in schooling or employment, undergraduate GPA anomaly or multiple LSAT scores.

Interviews

The Law School is proud to include an interviewing program as a component of our application process for select applicants. Applicants who are required to interview will have the option to interview in person (on campus), or via Skype. Interviewing will supplement the Law School’s holistic approach to evaluating each application and allows the Admissions Committee to build a talented and diverse entering class. Interviews are conducted by members of faculty and Admissions Office and allow the Admissions Committee to assess an applicant’s perseverance, maturity, skills, and aptitude beyond the LSAT and undergraduate grade point average.

Applicants who are not required to interview may request a meeting with the Admissions Office to learn more about the school, discuss the merits of their application and have their questions answered. Meetings can be requested online, or by contacting Admissions by phone at 619.961.4300, or by email at admissions@tjsl.edu.

Required interviews are typically scheduled during the last of week of every month. Requested meetings can be scheduled for any time.

Character and Fitness

Thomas Jefferson School of Law admissions policies and practices are consistent with the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. To be eligible for practice in California, in addition to successfully passing the California Bar examination, all students must establish their character and fitness. The application includes a series of character and fitness questions. Students who provide an affirmative response to any character and fitness question must submit an explanatory addendum with their application. These may include juvenile offenses.Failure to disclose an act or event can lead to more serious consequences than the act or event itself. Failure to provide truthful answers, or failure to inform the Office of Admissions of any changes to your answers in advance of matriculation or during school enrollment, may result in revocation of admission or disciplinary action by the Law School, or denial of permission to practice law in California. We encourage each applicant to consult with the California State Bar for additional bar admissions information regarding its Moral Character requirements.

Post Application Process

Once your application is complete, it is forwarded to the Admissions Committee for a decision. An application may be accepted, denied, or waitlisted. The majority of the communication and information we send will be via email, although official decision notices (including interview notices) will be sent by postal mail.

If admitted, you will be required to submit a $200 seat deposit, and send to Thomas Jefferson School of Law an official copy of your undergraduate transcript showing the granting of your undergraduate degree.

Quick Links

Special Students

Thomas Jefferson School of Law is accredited by the State of California’s Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE).  The Law School welcomes transfer applications from students at law schools accredited by the CBE,the American Bar Association (ABA), and from accredited foreign law schools. Students offered admission to Thomas Jefferson will be enrolled in the CBE program. The Law School does not accept transfer applications from students at unaccredited law schools.  All transfer applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and current LSAT score.  Passing the First-Year Law Students’ Examinationis not required to apply as a transfer student.   

Students seeking to transfer from law schools accredited by the CBE or ABA must submit:

  • To LSAC:
    • A “Transfer Application,” which includes the following:
      • Personal Statement
      • Resume  
    • CAS Report, which includes the following:
      • Law School transcripts
      • College transcripts, showing bachelor’s degree granted
      • LSAT score
      • Writing sample
      • One current letter of recommendation  
  • To Thomas Jefferson School of Law:
    • A letter of good standing from your current law school
    • Course syllabi for each course you are seeking to transfer units 

In accordance with the California Business and Professions Code and the regulations of the State Bar of California, transfer credit is awarded at the discretion of the Law School. However, the Law School generally accepts credit for courses completed within 36-calendar months of the anticipated date of enrollment and only for courses in which the applicant received a grade at the “good standing” level or higher from the originating law school.  The number of units of credit allowed for any course completed at a prior law school cannot exceed the number of units the Law School awards for the same or similar course and corresponding classroom hours. The Law School may not award credit for prior externships or clinics.  Transfer credit is limited to a maximum of 40 units, which is half the credit required for graduation. The determination regarding unit transfer is made by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs after reviewing the syllabi for the courses for which the applicant is seeking transfer units. 

The Law School does not have a transfer or articulation agreement with any other college or university. 

Students seeking to attend Thomas Jefferson as a visiting student, must:

  1. Register with or reactivate their CAS reporting through the LSAC;
  2. Submit law school transcripts; and
  3. Submit a letter of good standing from your current law school which lists the courses you are eligible to take and confirms that the credits earned at Thomas Jefferson are transferable back to your law school.

Both the copy of your official law school transcript as well as the letter of good standing should be obtained from your current law school and submitted directly to our admissions office by mail.

We consider visiting students from CBA and ABA accredited law schools.

Please visit the Class & Exam Schedules webpage for current schedule and course offering information.

Students seeking to audit a class at Thomas Jefferson may be approved to enroll as an auditor in a limited number of courses without complying with degree program admissions requirements or procedures.  

Applicants must demonstrate through prior study and/or experience that they have the ability, knowledge, and motivation to benefit from their enrollment in the course and to contribute favorably to the quality of other students’ learning in the course.

Applicants who have earned a law degree, equivalent to either a JD, LLB, LLM, MSL, or JSD, may apply by submitting a Non-Degree Seeking Auditor Application and providing proof of the degree earned (official transcript or letter verifying degree) as well as a current resume.  Practicing attorneys must be active or retired in good standing, meaning that they are not currently on suspension or probation, disbarred, or resigned with disciplinary charges pending. 

Other candidates may apply by submitting a Non-Degree Seeking Auditor Application as well as a current resume.  They must also provide an explanation of qualifications and experience that provide sufficient background for beneficial participation in a law school course.  Candidates who have earned an Associates or other undergraduate degree must provide proof of the degree earned (official transcript or letter verifying degree). 

Admitted applicants must have sufficient qualifications to ensure that their presence in the course will not be a detriment to students enrolled in the course as part of their degree program.  Auditing opportunities may be limited based on course type and enrollment of degree-seeking students. Auditing students will be charged tuition but will not earn units for the course, and are not considered enrolled in a degree program nor eligible for financial aid.

For more information regarding course audit and admissions requirements, please contact our Admissions Office.

Apply for Free – Click here to access the Non-Degree Seeking Auditor Application  

International Students

If you received your college degree outside the United States, you must have your transcript(s) evaluated by a professional evaluation service to make sure you have the equivalent of a U.S. undergraduate degree. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) offers a Credential Assembly Service to evaluate your transcript. Transcript evaluations for transfer students and non-JD students may also be evaluated by World Education Services (WES).

Applicants from non-English speaking countries must also provide their TOEFL or IELTS exam results. Our school code is 4973.

Please visit the LSAC website for more information: www.lsac.org

If you received a law degree outside the United States and are interested in seeking admission to a U.S. bar, you may seek admission to the JD Program as a transfer student. You may also be interested in our LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree in American Legal Studies (ALS). The LL.M. in ALS is a one-year program for candidates who seek a U.S. law degree, potentially leading to eligibility to sit for the bar exam in a small number of US jurisdictions, including New York and California.

Student Affairs Can Help

Student Affairs Office:

Location: Second Floor

Telephone: 619.961.4202

Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday - Thursday

8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday

Contact: Lisa Ferreira, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs lisaf@tjsl.edu

If you have not yet applied to Thomas Jefferson School of Law, please click here.

Important Information:

This page is designed to help answer your questions regarding the steps to take for pursuing your legal studies at our campus if you are neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident alien. We understand that the transition to law school and living in the United States can be challenging. Our Student Services team is ready to help manage this process and we look forward to working with you as you relocate to San Diego.

Transfer Students: International students currently enrolled in an educational program in the United States may transfer to a new learning institution. Students interested in transferring to Thomas Jefferson School of Law should complete the admissions application process through our Admissions Office. Upon notification of admission, you must alert the Student Affairs Office of your intent to transfer. While each school has its own process, the home school (the school you are seeking to transfer from) will need to release you and update you as a transfer on the SEVIS website. An official from your home school should contact our Student Affairs Office to inform us of the release and/or you can provide us with a document reflecting the completion of the transfer. Once the transfer information is complete, we will contact you about the issuance of an I-20 document.

Requesting an I-20 for F-1 Student Status: International students are required to obtain an I-20 document to study in the United States. Thomas Jefferson will only issue the I-20 after an individual has been admitted. Upon receipt of an "offer of admission letter" from our Admission Office, our Student Affairs staff works directly with each student to communicate the information needed to support the request for an I-20 document. The admission letter will disclose the financial obligations for studying at the law school. Students should be prepared to provide financial records that demonstrate the ability to finance their studies in the United States.

Please note: F-1 students must maintain full-time status throughout their law school career.

I-20 Document: The I-20 document supports the F-1 student status. This form is very important and should be treated similarlky to a passport. This document will be needed when making an appointment for a visa to enter the country, as well as when arriving into the United States. Upon receipt of the I-20, students should carefully review it to ensure accurate information (name, birth date, and all other information). If there is a discrepancy, please notify the Student Services Office immediately. Please Note: F-1 students may enter the country 30 days prior to the start of classes, as indicated on your I-20 document.

Visa Appointments: Non-resident aliens and non-U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa prior to entering the United States. However, Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. Students who are not Canadian citizens should contact the United States Consulate Office within their home country for more information. Visa appointment times can vary; therefore, it is recommended that students make an appointment as soon as possible. For information regarding the nearest Consulate Office, go to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html. This website will also provide you with information on what documents are needed for the appointment, as well as the wait time for an appointment at the Consulate Office in the student's home country. Prior to the meeting at the Consulate's Office, students will need to pay fee I-901, which can be paid online at http://www.fmjfee.com/. There may be additional fees accessed for the visa application as each country is different; therefore, please check the Consulate website stated above for further information.

In general, a visa application requires the following:

  • A valid passport (six months remaining)
  • An I-20
  • Proof of funding (bank statements, letters of support, etc.)
  • Photographs for the Visa
  • Payment of Visa application fees
  • Visa application forms (D-156, D-157, and D-158 as required)
  • Payment of I-901

Once issued, the visa will be stamped into the student's passport. The visa has an expiration date that indicates the period of time the student can enter the United States.

Entering the United States: Students are required to go through United States immigration and customs inspection when entering the United States. All documents will be reviewed by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. The I-20 document will be stamped and an I-94 form will be issued. The I-94 document will indicate the date of entry, your status in the United States, and the day you will leave the United States. It is extremely important that your I-20 and I-94 stamps reflect your F-1 status; therefore, please check the documents prior to leaving the United States Customs area. If your stamp reflects any other status (such as visitor) notify the CBP immediately so that the documents can be corrected.

Orientation and Checking in at Thomas Jefferson School of Law: Once you are settled in San Diego, make an appointment with Dean Lisa Ferreira to set up your school check-in. Check-in appointments will include welcoming you to the campus, completing your international student file, registering you in the SEVIS website, providing information on maintaining your F-1 status and orienting you to beautiful San Diego, CA. Students are also required to attend the law school's orientation, about which the Admissions Office will mail information to each student.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is designed to provide students with additional educational opportunities through externships. Students interested in pursuing an externship for CPT should contact the Student Affairs Office.

Optional Practical Training (OPT): Optional Practical Training is designed to provide work experience to students in the legal community. This experience can be received in school or after degree completion. Students interested in OPT should contact the Student Affairs Office for further information.