Law School Dean’s Letter or Certification
A dean’s letter or certification is a form required by a small number of law schools, to be completed by the first year JD applicant’s undergraduate college or university. Many law schools also require a dean’s letter or certification for transfer law school applicants. If you will need a dean’s letter, you must sign a release form to authorize Cornell to release your academic and disciplinary information to the law schools (see instructions below). Assistant Dean Heather Struck is responsible for law school dean’s letters in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Most law school applications also require the applicant to provide information about prior disciplinary, judicial, or academic history, whether or not a dean’s certification is required. The law schools ask whether you “have you ever been subject to disciplinary action for scholastic or other reasons...?” This question is broader than the information provided in the dean’s letter, which is based upon university records. Applicants are advised to answer such questions truthfully and completely, disclosing information even when records have been expunged or sealed. Failure to disclose this information can trigger severe consequences in the admissions process and later in the bar admission process. A law school application is considered to be a “continuing” application; it must be updated if anything occurs that makes the initial response inaccurate or incomplete. If you have a history of academic sanctions or disciplinary misconduct, make an appointment to discuss your situation with Dean Struck (172 Goldwin Smith; 607-255-4833)
DEAN’S LETTER INSTRUCTIONS:
- Fill out, sign, and return the release form two weeks before the dean’s certification is needed. This authorizes Dean Struck to check the campus, including record files of the Office of the Judicial Administrator, Cornell University Police Department, College Academic Integrity Board and College Academic Records.
- Return the completed release form to:
College of Arts and Sciences
172 Goldwin Smith Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3201
Fax (607) 255-8297
- If no violation is on record, a letter is prepared and kept on file to be sent out with the law school forms.
- If you are responsible for a violation of the Campus Code of Conduct or College Academic Integrity Board, you are advised to make an appointment with Assistant Dean Struck.
- Submit the Dean's Certification form (a.k.a. College Questionnaire, College Certification) from the law school at least 2 weeks* before the law school’s deadline. We must also receive your signed release form (see above).
*Materials received late or after the deadline will be processed, however we cannot guarantee the processing and receipt of the letter by the school’s application deadline.
Heather C. Struck
Assistant Dean and Pre-law Advisor
College of Arts and Sciences
172 Goldwin Smith