Some law schools require submission of a Dean's Letter (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.
Review the certification instructions for each law school. Of the Law Schools that require a dean's letter as part of the application, some require it from all applicants, others may only require it from those who have disclosed academic or disciplinary issues on the application, and others may require it when an applicant is admitted and chooses to enroll in the law school.
At Binghamton University, the Pre-Law Advising Office is responsible for completing Dean's Letter requirements for students and alumni from all BU schools.
We encourage current applicants to complete our Pre-Law Questionnaire (available online). The questionnaire includes contact information and a release of records.
If you need a certification:
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: 10/30/13