Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are Law Schools Overreacting to the Annual Exodus of Students? (UPDATE)

Yesterday, I asked whether law schools were overreacting to the difficulties posed by increased transfer admissions. In particular, I reported a tipster's account of the administrative response to the transfer process undertaken by Brooklyn Law School; an account which was, as noted, corroborated by other former Brooklyn Law School students who had transferred after their first year.

Although I encouraged readers to not single out Brooklyn Law School, the story predictably generated much controversy and--in some cases--anger. I promised to provide an update in the event I was contacted by the school's administration and am pleased to do so now, having received the following e-mail communication from Associate Dean Beryl Jones-Woodin:
1) You report that we actively seek to encourage students who are considering transferring to remain at Brooklyn Law School. This is accurate. We are proud of the education we provide our students and are enthusiastic about the students we have admitted. We want to encourage them to remain as members of our community.

2) We do not prevent students who are thinking of transferring from using the services of our Career Center. They are barred from using these services only after they transfer.

3) Students who have been selected for a journal or for the Moot Court Honor Society do not lose their positions until they have notified us that they will definitely be transferring to another school.

4) We do discourage faculty members from writing clerkship letters of recommendations for students who have transferred to other schools because we believe that our faculty members’ primary responsibilities are to our students who are seeking the same positions. Students who are attending other law schools can secure recommendations from their professors at their new schools. Faculty members may nevertheless write letters if they wish.
We are grateful for Dean Jones-Woodin's response; her willingness to address our story and set the record straight speaks very well for the school.

Given the array of sources who indicated that Brooklyn had a categorical rule against allowing former transfer students to use Brooklyn faculty as references for clerkship applications, I followed up to inquire as to whether the recommendation policy she described in her message had recently been changed. I have yet to hear back, and will update this posting when I do. Regardless, I am sure this policy will be very welcome news to former Brooklyn transfers who are currently contemplating applying for a clerkship next fall; "discourag[ing] faculty members from writing clerkship letters" is a lot better than "prohibiting" them from doing so.


UPDATE (Apr. 7, 6:00 PM): Dean Jones-Woodin has confirmed that it has "always been [Brooklyn's] policy to discourage, but ultimately allow, faculty members to write in support of clerkship candidates who transfer."


  1. Dean Jones-Woodin is obviously mistaken because even though it may be BLS policy to "discourage" rather than prohibit faculty from writing recs, it sure doesn't seem that way.....in fact, it seems more like "an offer they can't refuse." Stupidity abounding.

  2. I was flatly told I couldn't get any recommendations, and it doesnt matter what the terminology they use is anyway because professors will NOT write for transfer students.

  3. This is basically a blatant lie.

  4. Good PR move by the school, but I doubt this fools anyone. Even if it's not a blanket policy against recs, which it is not, what professor is going to defy the school's wishes? none. I have friends who transferred from BLS to my T5 and they have said they're not allowed to use their 1L professors for rec letters.

  5. Did anyone really expect the school to admit to everything straight up?

  6. So don't go to Brooklyn Law. Work harder and get into a T-14 in the first place. Why wouldn't schools discourage people from leaving?

  7. Not everyone could get into a T14. Your comment is really naiive.

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