Happy March! This time of year in law school admissions means admitted student events, the release of law school rankings, and the inevitable waitlist questions—the most common of those waitlist questions being “what should I write in my LOCI?”
LOCI stands for Letter of Continuing Interest, a communication that you typically send after being waitlisted to let a school know that you are still interested. This is a necessary step in trying to get admitted off any waitlist.
What is an LOCI?
An LOCI is similar to a Why X essay, but it should also include some personal reflection and tell them more about you. It should be formatted like a letter and usually be no more than one page with 11 font and reasonable margins. Essentially, you want to communicate the following: (1) why you are so interested in that law school in a personal, substantive (i.e., not generic) way, (2) any relevant updates, and (3) your intention to remain on the waitlist as long as possible, if that is the case.
What to do:
- Lead with your interest in the school. Be clear and direct. Can you genuinely say that X law school is your first choice? If so, tell them, but be truthful (more on that below). Will you definitely come if you are admitted? Tell them this as well.
- Talk about any personal connections you have with the law school community or interactions that you have had. Have you visited? Did you have a fantastic conversation with a representative of that school at a law school fair? Coffee with an alum? When and why did you first become interested? Do you have a friend who attended that law school and speaks highly of it? Adding this type of personal element will keep your letter from sounding generic and boilerplate.
- Highlight a few key reasons why you are so interested in that law school, but do not just list them. Tell them why these things are important to you and resonate with you. Why is a small class size so important to your learning style? Why is the work their students are doing in a particular clinic so meaningful to you? Do not just tell them what is important, tell them why.
- Provide any meaningful updates. This may include an additional semester of grades, awards you have received, completing a substantial research or writing project, a promotion at work, or plans for the summer.
- In your conclusion, reiterate your interest and give them a sense of your plans. Are you able to remain on the waitlist until the first day of classes? If so, tell them.
What to avoid:
- Being disingenuous or misleading. Please be honest in your LOCIs because (1) it is the ethical thing to do and (2) schools can often tell. There are ways to express strong interest without being disingenuous. You do not have to tell a school that they are your first choice to convey an appropriate level of interest, and you can also express an authentic level of enthusiasm for a school even if it is not your first choice.
- Something that I refer to as “telling the school about the school.” Simply listing programs or attributes does not add value. Law schools read hundreds of LOCIs that simply tell them things they already know about their law school.
- Being careless or formulaic. We see LOCIs that reference the wrong law school, or cite an attribute that really is not considered a strength or strong identifier for that school. While there is no need to reinvent the wheel with each letter, put the time and thought in to personalize for each school and do it well.
Finally, a few logistics. If the school does not provide any guidance, submit your LOCI shortly after you are waitlisted and you can usually send it to the general admissions email. Some schools will provide more specific directions and deadlines—follow them.
Applicants often ask if they should send an LOCI when their applications have been pending for a while. Generally, the answer is no. Occasionally it can be appropriate for certain schools, but usually the right call is to let your application work its way through the review process.
On a related note, here are a few links to other blog posts on waitlists that may be helpful: