Most law schools allow students to begin study only in the fall term. The application should be complete in November of the calendar year prior to the semester when you want to begin law school.
For example, if you want to begin law school in the fall of 2020, then applications should be complete by November 2019.
You will note that most law schools have an application deadline in February or March. Do not wait for the deadline! Regardless of what the published deadline is, you should mail in your applications in late November so the law schools will have a completed application by December. (Remember they need time to receive your LSDAS report from Law Services, that’s why we recommend the June or October test dates). Knowing your LSAT score helps to ensure you have selected a reasonable set of schools to apply to.
The earlier you apply to law school, the better. The logic behind applying early is simply that you stand a better chance of being admitted by doing so. If an admissions committee begins applications in early December when there are many spaces available in the class, they may be more inclined to take a chance on admitting a borderline student than they would be after the application deadline has passed and there is keen competition for the few remaining spaces.
It is important to apply during the year you intend to matriculate. Most law schools do not grant deferred admissions. The few that do have significant restrictions on such deferrals.