Dean’s Certifications Forms

What is a Dean’s Certification Form?

There are several ABA-Approved law schools require a Dean’s Letter (also known as Dean’s Recommendation, Dean’s Certification, or College Questionnaire) as part of the J.D. application process for entering first year students. Some require the form at the point of application, others once you have been admitted or once you have decided to matriculate. Many of these schools are located in the Northeast. The primary purpose of this requirement is disciplinary clearance, although some forms also include questions about the applicant’s academic performance, leadership, motivation and character.

In addition, on most law school applications, an applicant is asked to provide information about prior disciplinary, judicial, or academic history, whether or not a dean’s certification is required. The question is often something like “Have you ever been subject to disciplinary action for scholastic or other reasons?” This question is broader than that answered by college officials, who typically respond in a dean’s letter based upon a check of the records, not personal experience or knowledge. It is advisable for the applicant to answer such questions truthfully and completely, disclosing information even when records have been expunged or sealed. Failure to disclose can trigger severe consequences in the admissions process and later in the bar admission process.

Some law schools require a dean’s certification for transfer students, but not for entering first year students. It is important to note that a law school application is a “continuing” application; it must be updated if the initial response becomes inaccurate or incomplete.

What is the process for completing a Dean’s Certification Form at Hopkins?

First, you are responsible for obtaining the Dean’s Certification Forms from each individual law school to which you apply which requires same. When you have done so, forward them here, to the Office of Pre-Professional Programs & Advising, Attn: Ana L. Droscoski, Esq. for completion. Note that you do not need to furnish a stamped envelope addressed to each law school.

Second, in order for this office to complete the form, we must have on file for you the following items:

1) a copy of your transcript
2) completed Law Professions forms, and
3) a completed Dean’s Report form

The Dean’s Report form is different from the Dean’s Certification Form required by law schools. The Word Document: Dean’s Report form was developed by our office and can be found online. Be sure to complete the top portion of the Dean’s Report form and submit it to Associate Dean Tamara Saunders. The forwarding instructions for the Dean’s Report form can be found on the form itself. Dean Saunders will complete the Dean’s Report form and forward it to our office.

Note that all three items listed above must be completed and on file for you prior to completion of the Dean’s Certification Form(s).