Should You Write a Law School Addendum?

Have some weaknesses in your law school application?

You're not alone! So many people do.

But there's something you can do about it.

Weaknesses or discrepancies in your law school application can be explained in a short, one-page essay called an addendum.

Addenda can be written for many reasons, including but not limited to:

  1. Low grades
  2. Low LSAT score
  3. Withdrawal from classes
  4. Leave of absence in college
  5. Academic misconduct
  6. Disciplinary action in college
  7. Criminal record

Just because an addendum can be written, should it be written?

In the case of reasons #3-#7, yes, you should write an addendum. In the case of reasons #1 or #2, not always.

For example, I’ve met many applicants who have transcripts that show two initial years of mediocre grades due to taking premed course requirements, as well as two later years of better grades when they stopped taking premed courses. Law school admissions officers can spot a “failed premed” from a mile away—they don’t necessarily need or want you to explain it in an addendum.

On the other hand, maybe there was something else that contributed to you getting low grades. Perhaps you had to work 40 hours at a job because your father was laid off at work? Or your mother became seriously ill and you missed classes to visit her in the hospital? Or maybe you contracted mono and miss a lot of class?

In the case of unforeseen events causing and/or contributing to low grades or a low LSAT score, you should write an addendum.

Still not sure if you should write one?

If you’re not sure whether your issue should be explained, make an appointment to speak with your college’s prelaw adviser or contact the admissions office at a law school. If you want to remain anonymous when contacting a law school, call them rather than sending an email. Ask you and you shall receive. It's the best way to make an informed decision.

Want more tips for writing the addendum?

Check out my No B.S. Guide to the Law School Addendum. Not only does it provide detailed advice on writing the law school addendum, it also includes nine sample essays for the most common situations, including reasons #1-#7 listed above.

Have questions or comments about the law school addendum? I'd love to hear from you! Post your thoughts below and I'll respond.

PEG CHENG is the author of The No B.S. Guides for applying to law school and the founder of Prelaw Guru, where you can find law school admissions tips, videos, books, and more. For more great tips, follow Peg @prelawguru.

Sad man with rain photo by George Hodan.



Thanks! This was extremely helpful! I will definitely talk to my college’s prelaw adviser on this topic.
I also have found a resource on addendum writing that might be helpful -

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