Typical Application Timelines
The best plan begins at least 18 months before you start law school. But many people can't reorganize their lives for a year and a half. They're studying abroad, or have a heavy course load, or don't feel ready for the June test and defer. Most applicants can squeeze everything into a slightly shorter time, if nothing goes wrong.
A Comfortable Plan for Applying to Law School
This timeline is fine if you don't have to re-write essays six times, and if you don't need to retake the LSAT. November, December and January become quite a scramble if you need to retake.
A Slightly Uncomfortable Application Plan
I urge applicants on this schedule to apply to schools with February 15th and March deadlines. If the majority of your chosen schools have February 1 deadlines, you'll almost certainly make the mistakes caused by too little time.
What if you procrastinated, or felt unready for the LSAT in October -- can you map a course from a December test date to a March application deadline? You can apply to law school in a even shorter time if you don't mind stress and sleepless nights.