A burning question for anyone who applied to law school during senior year of college: It's OK to slack off now, right? Because it's February and:
1. I'm in California, wiping that pesky dew off my windshield, and I'm sick of flinging myself across pretty green quads to get to class, and I'd rather go walk my dog/hang out on the patio at Jamba Juice/go for a run in the canyons/get my nails done.
2. I'm anywhere else in the country, freezing my tail off, and I'm sick of flinging myself over snowbanks to get to class, and I'd rather stay inside and watch Glee/MMA/Gossip Girl/Top Chef.
I feel your pain. I really do. The short answer:
If your applications are still pending right now, no, you cannot slack off, because those applications might still be pending by the time you get your spring grades. In that case, you'll have to send law schools your updated transcripts, and your spring grades will be evaluated just like all your other grades.
If you've already received an offer from your dream school and you are certain you'll be accepting, you can slack off... a teensy bit. You'll still have to send your updated transcript with your spring grades before you enroll, but as long as your grades haven't gone completely off a cliff, you should be OK.
Can a law school withdraw an offer if you really screw up? Yes. It doesn't happen very often as a result of grades, but in theory it's possible. A school is much more likely to withdraw an offer if it discovers some kind of breach of application ethics, say you "forgot" to disclose something serious that you had to disclose and the school finds out, or you do something really dumb like fake a recommendation and the school finds out. Not only can a school withdraw an offer, but it can also notify LSAC, which will conduct an investigation, and if it finds you guilty of misconduct in the application process, it will notify your other law schools and put its findings in your longer-term LSAC record. Effectively you can get blacklisted as a law school applicant, and that's not a happy outcome.
Those are very serious cases, though. If, instead, your final semester is sprinkled with a few Bs, or you take three classes instead of your usual four, that won't jeopardize your existing offers (assuming you don't put your graduation date at risk). And make sure to stay out of legal and disciplinary trouble.
Former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and a recovering lawyer, Anna Ivey founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process. Read more admissions tips in The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions, recently updated and available as an e-book. Follow Anna on Twitter (@annaivey).