Law Schools Stalk You on Facebook, Google to Find Dirt

LSAT Blog Law Schools Facebook Google Find Dirt Googled Applicant
We all know employers google and facebook job applicants to find additional information about them, but did you know law school admission officers do the same thing?

While you might be looking up your law school admission deans on Facebook and Google, they're doing their own background research on you, too.

(See, LSAT scores and GPAs aren't all they care about.)

A recent survey of 128 ABA-accredited law schools indicates that 41% of law school admission officers had looked up an applicant on Google, and 37% had searched for an applicant on Facebook.

LSAT Blog Law Schools Facebook Google Find Dirt Facebooked Applicant

32% of law school admission officers who searched for an applicant on a search engine or social networking website found information that negatively impacted the applicant.

In contrast, only 27% of business school admission officers had searched for an applicant on Google, and only 22% looked up an applicant on Facebook. Only 14% of the business school admission officers who looked up applicants found something that negatively impacted the applicant.

LSAT Blog Law Schools Facebook Google Find Dirt Negative Impact Applicant

I'm guessing that business school applicants are just better behaved than law school applicants, or they're better at covering their tracks when it comes to the web. (Smart money's on the latter.)

Guys, you're going to need to either stop partying so much, or you'll have to learn to better manage the privacy settings on your Facebook accounts.

(Neither of those is especially easy to accomplish, I know, but at least one of the two is crucial if you want to get into law school.)

Why are law school admission officers far more likely to look up applicants than business school admission officers?

Well, in order to be admitted to the bar and become a practicing attorney, you need to pass a character and fitness evaluation (commonly called C&F). During this review, the bar will conduct a background check on you.

Law schools want to make sure that you'll pass this review, since there's not much point in educating someone who likely wouldn't be able to gain admission to the bar. (They also want to avoid admitting students who are likely to cause problems and publicly embarrass the school. These things have a way of making their way online.)

If you do manage to become admitted to the bar, law schools want to feel relatively confident that you won't later do something stupid or questionable that might get you disbarred. They basically want to cover their asses because you'll make their school look bad when a front-page article comes out that says something like, "John Smith, Esq., was recently convicted of animal cruelty after electrocuting a giraffe. He had recently graduated from Acme Law School."

Business school graduates, on the other hand, don't need to gain admission to any membership organization upon graduating in order to practice their profession. As such, they won't need to pass any kind of character and fitness review. (Business schools don't bother to look them up because they assume anyone who would apply must have questionable character. Kidding. Sort of.)


I'm not your mother, so I'm not going to tell you to party less. (Disclaimer: Doing illegal or stupid things is never a great idea. In fact, don't do anything illegal, ever, and keep the stupid stuff to a minimum.)

Clearly, those of you who have done, or can't stop doing, stupid or illegal stuff will need to get better at covering your tracks on the web. You need to fool law schools into thinking that you have good judgment and won't break the law.

Here's how to cover your tracks:

1. Google yourself. If you see something you don't like, ask the site owner to remove it. Then ask Google to remove it from its cache. [tips]

2. Change your Facebook profile photo to something classier than you doing a kegstand. Anyone who finds your profile can see your profile photo - even if they're not your Facebook friend. Review the other info that you have on your profile (stated interests, pages you "like," etc.). Make sure it presents the professional image you want to convey. ("Liking" marijuana might've seemed like a good idea a few years ago, but it may be time to make that interest less public, even if your personal passion for it hasn't declined.)

3. Limit your Facebook privacy settings so that only friends can see what you post. Choose to "Limit The Audience For Past Posts" under privacy settings to make private any posts that were previously public. Enable Timeline review and tag review so that you have the power to prevent people from tagging you in photos, etc.  [tipstips]

4. Protect your Twitter account so your tweets won't be visible to the entire world. You can enable this within your Twitter account under Settings -> Account by selecting "Protect my Tweets." Alternatively, don't display your full name on your Twitter account. Instead, consider changing it to something that would make it more difficult for someone to find by googling you, like replacing your last name with only the first letter of your last name.

5. Close all of your social media accounts and stop using the Internet altogether. You won't have time for any of it when you're in law school, anyway.

For more information:

Every Potential 2040 President Already Unelectable Due To Facebook [The Onion / YouTube]


  1. i just looked up my name on google, but only came up with different people with same name. What if law schools mistake them for me?

    1. I wouldn't worry. Presumably, they'll be discerning enough to tell the difference.

  2. I run a political blog. Besides that, my facebook is on lockdown. I'm concerned that the political views I state from blogging and subsequently share via my twitter account may be used against me if the admissions fellow disagrees with my views. Is that reasonable?

    Closing or limiting the blog may not be an option since I've developed an audience over the past few years of doing it.

  3. The average age for MBA students skews older than the average age for law students. It's more common to have students go directly from undergrad into law school than it is to have undergrads go directly into an MBA program.

    Undergrads tend to be more liberal with what goes on social media, posting picutres of partying, using social media to spread the word about parties on campus etc than a 26-27 year old who hasn't been on frat row in 5 years and whose friends use facebook to post photos of their weddings and babies... might be a reason why law applicants have it worse off than MBAs when it comes to finding info on social media...just a theory