Some law schools require submission of a Dean's Letter (or Dean's Certification, College Certification, etc.) as part of the application process. The primary purpose of this requirement is to obtain disciplinary clearance from colleges and universities attended by the applicant. Less than 20 of the 203 ABA-Approved Law Schools require a dean's letter as part of the application; some of those require it from all applicants, but many only require it from those who have disclosed academic or disciplinary issues on the application. The appropriate form may be included in the school's application materials, or in the Supplemental Forms section of the electronic application software at www.lsac.org. Other law schools may require a dean's letter when an applicant is admitted and chooses to enroll in the law school, usually in the Spring or Summer before law school classes begin.
At Binghamton University, the Pre-Law Advisor in the Harpur Academic Advising Office is responsible for completing dean's letter requirements for students and alumni from all BU schools. Please do not send these forms to any other office on campus! It takes approximately two weeks to complete the disciplinary review and mail the dean's letter to the law school. Please time your request for a dean's letter so that the letter is sent to the law school shortly after you submit your application.
Choice 1: for a short letter addressing your disciplinary record or lack thereof (best option if you need a dean's letter prepared quickly),
Choice 2: alumni applicants may choose the dean's letter process outlined for current students if they want to discuss their plans for law school with the Pre-law Advisor during a telephone or in-person appointment. For this option, please follow the directions above for current students. Please mail the Pre-law questionnaire, resume, signed dean's letter form, and stamped envelope to the address above.
Many law schools, including those requiring dean's certifications, ask questions in their application about disciplinary violations (including academic dishonesty) during college, and about any prior criminal charges or convictions. Specific questions vary by law school, but most are seeking information about behavior that violated university rules of student conduct, such as alcohol possession, destruction of university property, misuse of university computers, possession of illegal drugs, plagiarism, cheating, etc. When you apply to law school, you are initiating a process that will continue beyond law school to admission to a state bar and your legal career. If you have any history of disciplinary or criminal violations, it is best to disclose the specifics when you apply to law school, and again when you apply for bar admission, even if records about these violations have been destroyed or expunged. Failure to disclose is considered a serious form of applicant misconduct, and can result in consequences including expulsion from law school, denial of bar admission, and disbarment. The Pre-law Advisor is available to discuss these issues and can advise you on how best to proceed.
Last Updated: 3/5/13