OFF THE RECORD - Seton Hall Law

Law Professor Explains How to Tackle the LSAT Writing Sample

Posted by Melanie Perez-Vellios on 12/3/19 11:15 AM

So, you want to go to law school?  You already know you will need to complete the LSAT exam, as well as the LSAT Writing requirement.  LSAT Writing is a thirty-five minute writing assignment requiring you to assess a hypothetical problem, select between two possible solutions and write a persuasive essay advocating for one side.  While the essay is not scored, it will play a role in admissions committees’ evaluation of your application so you will want to make the best possible impression.

The Legal Practice Curriculum at Seton Hall Law School is centered on learning by doing, where students practice hands-on lawyering skills, including legal writing, oral arguments and negotiation.  Like practicing attorneys, students approach these tasks with a three-step process:  plan, execute and reflect.  In order to put your best foot forward for LSAT Writing, we suggest you follow the same formula. 


Begin tackling LSAT Writing by completing sample topics.  Attorneys frequently prepare to advocate for their clients by conducting practice simulations.  You should practice too.  You can prepare for LSAT Writing by reading the assignment instructions and doing the practice sample topic posted on the LSAC website

Before you begin writing your essay response, you should know which of the two possible solutions you think is best.  There is no “right” choice, but you will want to clearly set forth your conclusion and stick with it.  To have a balanced analysis, your essay response must advocate for your preferred choice and address any downsides or counterarguments to your choice. 

Continue planning by taking the time to outline your essay.  The best LSAT Writing essays will share three characteristics - they will be organized, clear and will stay on topic.  You can achieve each of these by simply taking the time to organize your thoughts before diving into writing your essay. 


As you begin writing your essay, stick with your outline.  Your mind may wander to other things that might affect your particular choice.  However, you should not address any extraneous information outside of your essay prompt.  Instead, your response should remain entirely focused on the information provided and the option you believe is best.

While writing, resist the urge to use fancy vocabulary, or to sound “like a lawyer.”  You should write like you, not force yourself to write like anyone else.  Above all, your language should be clear, straightforward and easy to understand. 


Once you are done writing, be sure to take a moment to review your work.  You should briefly read over your essay to make sure you have complete sentences that are grammatically correct and are free from typos.  While small issues like these will not likely keep you from being accepted to law school, they will never help you to make a good impression.  Instead, take the time to clean up your work.

Using the plan, execute and reflect formula, your LSAT Writing will also help you sharpen the skills you will use as a law student and throughout your legal career.  It will pay off to take the extra effort making your LSAT Writing shine.   Best of luck with your LSAT exam and LSAT Writing.  We look forward to seeing you in the halls.   

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Topics: Advice and Tips, Admissions, Writing

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