Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yale's Response to Legal Writing Profs' Letter

As most of you know, last week, legal writing professors and their colleagues sent a letter to the Yale Law School administration concerning a post on the Yale admissions blog.  (here)  Here is Yale's response:

Thank you for your feedback, which was forwarded to me by Dean Post, concerning the advice I provided to aspiring Yale transfer students on the 203 Admissions Blog in June 2011.  I would like to respond to your concerns and I hope you will share my response with the legal writing community. 

As you may know, the admissions process at Yale Law School is a holistic process, in which letters of recommendation are one of many factors considered in evaluating a student’s potential.  Our process is a faculty-driven one, in which individual faculty exercise enormous discretion to weigh various parts of an application according to their own criteria.  No one factor is determinative, and all parts of the application that provide evidence of a student’s ability are welcomed and considered in their entirety. 

My purpose in writing the June 2011 post was to give practical advice to potential applicants, not to articulate Yale policy.  There is in fact no formal evaluative policy.  I was describing, based on my experience reading almost 20,000 JD admissions files and almost 1,000 transfer files, the kind of application that is typically successful in gaining admission to Yale Law School.  I believe such transparency furthers the interests of both applicants and the Law School by allowing promising students to put together the most effective possible applications.  Because I am writing for a general audience, my advice is designed to offer broad, rule-of-thumb guidelines that will likely maximize a student’s chance of admission. 

In providing this advice, I did not intend for my post to cast doubt on the important role and valuable contributions of legal writing professors in legal education.  It seems clear to me that the concerns raised by the legal writing community highlight significant issues that are quite beyond the scope of my post.  In trying to address these issues, I have been unable to find a way to accurately revise or supplement my original blog post without making it too complex to be of any practical use for a potential applicant.  In the interest of staying true to both the practical purpose of my advice and the unique nature of our admissions process – which I believe is fair and respectful to applicants and all those who speak on their behalf – I have chosen, after much deliberation, simply to remove the post from the blog. 

Please feel free to write or call me directly if you have any questions about our admissions process.  I especially encourage you, as I do all faculty members, to reach out to me if you are personally recommending any students whom you feel would be strong candidates for transfer to Yale, and I would be happy to ensure that those students receive close consideration in our process. 

Sincerely yours,

Asha Rangappa

Associate Dean

Yale Law School

(Scott Fruehwald

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This is embarrassing: "I especially encourage you, as I do all faculty members, to reach out to me if you are personally recommending any students whom [should be WHO] you feel would be strong candidates for transfer to Yale. . . ."

Posted by: Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D. | Aug 31, 2012 9:53:52 AM

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