Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Please note those submitting an application for entering or transfer J.D. student admission must provide a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
Entering and transfer J.D. students are accepted for fall semester only and must submit their applications online. The links provided below will direct you to LSAC’s applicant website. Those who have a hardship and are unable to submit an electronic application should contact the Office of Law Admission by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-888-7213 for instructions on how to submit a paper application.
The deadline to apply is May 1.
To check the status of your application, use the link in our Applicant Status Online email (sent upon receipt of your application).
Applicants for the Juris Doctor degree must meet the following qualifications:
- Possess a bachelor’s degree from a college or university with institutional accreditation prior to entering law school.
- In light of the decision by the U.S. Department of Education to no longer differentiate between institutional and regional accrediting agencies, Samford will no longer require regional accreditation for transfer credits or prior degrees for admission into graduate programs. Rather, Samford will require these institutions hold institutional accreditation. A list of institutional accrediting agencies authorized by the U.S. Department of Education can be found here.
- Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) within the last five years.
- Register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) at lsac.org. Make arrangements for LSAC to receive and compile letters of recommendation, transcripts from all the colleges and universities attended, and LSAT score in a CAS report.
- Complete Cumberland School of Law’s official application and all that is entailed in the application instructions by the required deadlines. A completed application includes a personal statement, a résumé and any required addendum(s), and a CAS report.
Entering J.D. Student Admission
A complete application that is ready for review includes the following:
- Application (no application fee)
- Personal statement
- Explanations and additional documentation (as needed)
- LSAC law school report, including
- LSAT score(s)
- Two letters of recommendation
- College and graduate school transcripts
Office of Law Admission
Cumberland School of Law
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
Application Instructions and Admission Policy
The application is for students pursuing admission to Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law as a first-year law student. Separate application instructions are available for transfer and visiting students below.
Before you complete your application, please consider the following:
Applicants must provide complete, accurate and truthful answers to each question. Providing false, incomplete or misleading answers may result in the revocation of your admission or disciplinary action by the law school. It also may result in denial of permission to practice law in the state in which you seek admission to the bar. In addition, Samford University reserves the right to revoke the admission of, expel, refuse to award any degrees to, and/or recommend revocation of any degree earned by applicants who submit inaccurate information in this application or omit information requested by this application.
Therefore, it is imperative that applicants read and follow the application instructions carefully. Doing so ensures that you are providing appropriate and complete responses. Applicants should note that some questions could require additional documentation.
Only eligible applicants will be considered for admission to Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Eligible applicants are those who have or will obtain a bachelor’s degree from a college or university with institutional accreditation. The assistant dean of admission and enrollment management will determine the eligibility of those applicants who have enrolled in an ABA–accredited law school prior to applying for admission to the law school. Those applicants will be required to submit an official transcript and letter of good standing from any previously attended law school before their applications can be reviewed for admission. Please note students who are not in good standing or who have been academically dismissed from an ABA–accredited law school are ineligible to apply for admission.
The Application Process
Only complete applications will be reviewed for admission. The Office of Law Admission will contact applicants whose applications are missing any of the materials listed in the checklist above. Applicants will also be contacted if additional documentation is required to complete their applications. Applications can be submitted between Sept. 1 and May 1. Since admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their application, recommendations and all supplemental documents by the priority deadline of Dec. 31, as this will expedite the review of their application and give them greater opportunity to be considered for scholarship assistance, as noted below.
Once an application is submitted, a request for the applicant’s CAS report will be generated automatically. See the LSAT and CAS Report section for more information on the CAS report. Simply submitting your application online through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) does not mean that it is ready for review. Applicants must make sure that the Office of Law Admission has received all required supporting documentation via LSAC. The admission office staff will make every effort to email applicants in a timely manner when required documents are missing, but it is ultimately the applicant's responsibility to confirm that their application is complete.
Notifications from the Office of Law Admission
Applicants will be contacted via email, phone, regular mail or SMS, as needed throughout the application process. Please note that electronic communication is the primary communication method used by Cumberland School of Law admission office. Therefore, it is imperative that applicants provide contact information that will be valid between September and August. Applicants should plan to update their contact information to ensure that they are receiving all notifications and announcements from the law school. All mailed correspondence will be sent to the current address as noted in the application.
Emergency contact information is vital to the health and safety of the students of Samford University and Cumberland School of Law. The information provided for parents and next of kin must be accurate and current. This information will be used only by authorized Samford University personnel and only in case of emergency.
Applicants have the option to attend law school under full- or flextime status, which provides students an opportunity to take a reduced course load during law school. This option is ideally suited for those applicants with flexible work schedules, as students with flextime status attend classes during the day. While the admission process for applicants seeking flextime status is the same for those seeking full-time status, no scholarship assistance is available for flextime students.
LSAT and CAS Report
All applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and register for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through the LSAC website at lsac.org. Only LSAT scores earned within the past five years will be accepted. In the review process, the highest LSAT score will be considered. Applicants can elect to have their application withheld from review until a new LSAT score is received. Please note that without notification that the applicant will retake the LSAT, the admissions committee will consider the highest score on an applicant’s CAS report. Applicants should note that all admission decisions are final.
A complete application includes transcripts from all institutions of higher education, both graduate and undergraduate, at which an applicant has earned academic credit, regardless of the degree or certificate pursued. All transcripts must be sent to LSAC for inclusion in the applicant’s CAS report. Applicants will be notified when their application is missing a transcript. Applications that are missing transcripts are considered incomplete and will not be reviewed for admission until all missing transcripts are included in the applicant’s CAS report.
Two recommendations are required to complete an application but you may submit up to four. Letters of recommendation from family members, no matter how far removed in lineage, will not count towards the two that are required to complete an application. Recommenders should be advised to send letters of recommendation to LSAC and not to the law school. Evaluations do not count toward this requirement.
Applicants should take care to select recommenders who will provide the most compelling information in support of their application to law school. A meaningful recommendation will provide the admission committee with detailed accounts of an applicant’s academic ability, accomplishments and character. One letter of recommendation should be an academic reference from a faculty adviser or professor in one’s major field of study. Those applicants who have been in the military or workforce may substitute a letter from a commanding officer or employer. The other letter of recommendation should be a character reference from someone who has personal knowledge of the applicant’s integrity.
Character and Fitness Responses & Requirements
Every American jurisdiction in which you may practice law after graduation from law school requires each applicant for admission to the bar to meet character and fitness requirements as a condition of eligibility for admission. A character and fitness review will require truthful, accurate and complete reporting of all requested information related to past conduct that bar examiners may deem relevant to one’s fitness to practice law, in most jurisdictions including (but not limited to) all criminal arrests, charges, plea agreements, convictions, or instances of being taken into custody, as a juvenile or adult; all traffic violations except minor parking citations; involvement as a party to civil litigation; acts of fraud, dishonesty or lack of candor; educational discipline or misconduct; failure to pay financial obligations; and substance abuse. Many jurisdictions require disclosure of all criminal arrests, charges, plea agreements or convictions, as a juvenile or adult, even where the record has been expunged.
It should be noted, however, that while bar admission boards require complete disclosure of requested information, in many instances past relevant conduct, particularly if isolated and/or not recent, has not resulted in denial or delay of admission to the bar in a particular jurisdiction of interest. (This is not to suggest or predict how any jurisdiction’s bar admissions board would respond to any applicant’s particular conduct disclosures going forward).
A failure to truthfully, accurately and completely respond to a character and fitness inquiry, however, is commonly deemed a character and fitness violation in and of itself, and may be more detrimental to bar admission prospects than the undisclosed or incorrectly disclosed underlying conduct.
You are encouraged, as you go through the law school application process and before you enter law school, to determine the character and fitness requirements of the jurisdiction(s) where you intend to practice law. If you are uncertain where you will practice law, you may wish to review the Standard NCBE Character and Fitness Application, titled Request for Preparation of a Character Report, of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which is used by a number of jurisdictions’ bar admission authorities. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available at ncbex.org.
Applicants must attach separate addenda explaining in detail each instance that necessitates a “yes” response to these questions. It is not sufficient to simply attach court records. You must explain the circumstances that gave rise to each occurrence, any charges received and the outcome of those charges. Those who provide unclear responses will be asked for clarification and/or additional information.
Applicants should also be aware that this law school application is a “continuing application.” Continuing applications require applicants to update their responses to these questions as needed throughout the application process. Should an event occur, either before or after applicants receive their admission decision, that would change their response to a question in their application, they must immediately communicate the details of that event in writing to the assistant dean of admission and enrollment management.
Other than résumés, all supplemental documents must have the following format: double spacing, one-inch margins, 11-point Times New Roman font. Please remember to include your LSAC account number on all supplemental documents and addenda.
Applicants must submit a résumé that chronicles their employment, educational, and extracurricular history during and after college. It is important that résumés highlight academic honors, leadership positions, and volunteer or community work completed, along with any professional licenses an applicant has obtained, whether currently active or not. All entries should include dates of involvement and a brief description as to the nature of the applicant’s participation. For employment held during and after college, please note whether your position was full- or part-time. Résumés should not be more than two pages.
Our admission committee reviews many applications from candidates with strong credentials. Therefore, an applicant’s personal statement should set forth any additional information they feel should be considered by the committee when evaluating their application. Any experience an applicant has had that will enable them to contribute unique and enlightening perspectives to the law school is of interest to the committee. In addition, the reasons motivating your desire to study law and to attend Cumberland School of Law are also important to mention. Personal statements should not be more than three pages.
The Selection Process
Each year, the number of applications received by Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law far exceeds the openings available in the first-year class. The goal of the law school is to select the most qualified applicants possible and to award those applicants a seat in the entering class. It is our belief that we best serve the law school, our alumni and the current student body by choosing wisely those who will carry on the law school tradition.
Along with an applicant’s LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, the admission committee considers additional factors to measure an applicant’s potential to succeed in law school and the legal profession. Such factors include the difficulty of the undergraduate major pursued; upward trends in academic performance; the amount of time spent involved in extracurricular activities, athletics and/or employment while in undergraduate school; or any graduate studies completed. In addition, those applicants who because of their background bring to the school unique and enlightening perspectives will be recognized by the admission committee.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Assistance
Samford University’s Office of Financial Aid assists students with finding the appropriate federal financial aid. To be considered for federal student loans, applicants should file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the federal priority deadline of March 1. FAFSA applications can be found online. Please list “Samford University” as one of the schools to receive your FAFSA information, as this will expedite the processing of your financial aid award. Samford University’s federal school code is 001036.
Only those applicants admitted for full-time study will be considered to receive merit-based scholarship assistance from the law school. The Office of Law Admission will automatically contact all applicants who are being considered for scholarships or have been awarded scholarships. Competition is keen for these awards, and interested applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their applications by the law school’s priority deadline of Dec. 31. The law school’s additional merit, need-based, leadership and peer scholarships are reserved for current second- and third-year law students.
Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law welcomes applications from international students if the degree conferred is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
Please make note of the following if you are applying from outside the United States:
All transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be submitted through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service and evaluated by World Educational Services (WES) or AACRAO. Those evaluations must then be sent to our office (Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, Alabama, 35229, Attention: Office of Admission) by the evaluating agency. Transcripts must indicate the successful completion of a bachelor's degree-equivalent program.
Students from countries in which English is not the primary language and who have not earned a bachelor's degree-equivalent from an English-language institution must satisfy one of the following requirements for English language proficiency:
iBT TOEFL: Total score of 90, minimum 20 on each sub-sector
IELTS: 7.0, minimum 6.0 on each sub-score
In accordance with applicable federal and state laws, such as Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendments, the University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, religion, or any other protected status under federal, state or local law applicable to the University, in its education policies, programs, and activities, in its admissions policies, in employment policies and practices, and all other areas of the University. As a faith-based institution, the University is exempted from certain laws and regulations concerning discrimination.
Deferment is only offered to applicants called into active military duty or students in other extreme extenuating circumstances as determined by the Office of Admission. Outside of those situations, applicants who wish to attend Cumberland School of Law at a later date must reapply or reactivate their file. Applicants who reapply or reactivate their file are considered along with all other applicants for admission and are given no special preference.
Transfer J.D. Student Admission
The transfer application for 2021 is now open. The deadline to apply is Aug. 5, 2021.*
Transfer Application Checklist
A complete transfer application that is ready for review includes the following:
- Personal statement
- Explanations and additional documentation (as needed)
- LSAC law school report, including
- LSAT score(s)
- Two letters of recommendation
- College and law school official transcripts (law school transcript may be mailed directly to Cumberland School of Law Office of Admission.)
- Letter of Good Standing from current law school, mailed directly to the Cumberland School of Law Office of Admission. This letter must include your current law school class rank.
Any student currently enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school may be eligible to apply for transfer to Cumberland School of Law. Applicants must be in good standing at their current law school, rank in the top 50% of their current law school class, and have a current law school GPA of at least 2.70.
If a transfer student is admitted, the associate dean for academic affairs will determine the number of law school credit hours that will transfer. A maximum of 40 hours of previous coursework may transfer. In most instances all credit hours earned in regular first-year law courses at an ABA–approved law school with a grade of “C” or better will transfer. Transfer credit will not be awarded for coursework graded on a pass/fail or similar basis, or in which a student received a grade lower than a “C” or its equivalent. Transfer students are not assigned a class ranking until two semesters of study at Cumberland School of Law have been completed.
*Date subject to change
Visiting J.D. Student Admission
Print the Application for Visiting Students
Visiting students are accepted for summer, fall and spring semesters. These applicants must submit a paper application.
Cumberland School of Law's J.D. and master degrees have different application guidelines. Please reference each degree for its specific instructions.
Master of Studies in Law
The Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L) program is a fully online, 34-hour master's degree program. The program is designed for nonlawyers interested in pursuing a graduate degree that will position them for advancement in their current field, although practicing attorneys may choose to pursue a degree that complements their current practice or opens doors to a new area of practice.
Master of Laws
The Master of Laws (LL.M.) program is a fully online, 31-hour master's degree program designed for lawyers interested in pursuing a graduate degree that complements their current practice or opens doors to a new area of practice. Our faculty members are industry experts, practicing attorneys, Cumberland School of Law faculty and Samford faculty from other disciplines.