The break from work over the last two weeks was quite comforting and relaxing – travelled to Hawaii to spend Christmas with my family, visited some old haunts around the island, rang in the new year here in Palo Alto with good friends, got caught up on some favorite TV shows (thank goodness for TiVo) and am almost done with Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants.  Now, though, we’re back in business and we need to turn our attention to the task at hand.  Mail is being opened.  Applications are being downloaded.  Files are being read.  Decisions will go out this week.  Yesterday flew by as we all got back into the routine and I suspect the rest of the week will be a similar blur.  Onward we go.

At this stage in the game, there a three groupings of completed applications – easy admits, easy denies and those in a holding pattern.  This latter group is the largest by far right now.  These are candidates whose files are strong, but I’ve put them on “hold” until I see the larger pool or see something else that will convince me to nudge the application into one of the other two groups – hopefully the one with the corresponding thick envelope.  If you’ve received notification indicating that your file is in review and you’ve not heard from us, treat this as an opportunity to update your file.   What you submit may be that nudge I need.  Keep in mind, that this is not an invitation to clutter my in-box with non-essential information or to call me with weekly updates. Although I really don’t mind chatting with you on the phone or opening up yet another email, I suspect my time is better spent reading applications.  So, use your best judgment when thinking about how to update your file.

Winter quarter classes started yesterday and it’s nice to once again feel the energy and buzz around the building.  This may not be the best week to visit as everyone is just settling in, but when you have a moment take a look at our current course schedule and pay special attention to the Constitutional Law course listings and the Property course listings.  These are two required 1L courses and ones you should consider sitting in on if you do indeed end up visiting the law school.  Our dean, Larry Kramer is teaching one of the Con Law sections so you might want to sit in on that class.  It’s not every day that you’ll see a dean teaching a 1L course.  Another section is taught by Pam Karlan – one of the founding directors of our Supreme Court Litigation clinic.  Check out the Property offerings and see if you can squeeze in a visit. One section is taught by Buzz Thompson – the founding director of our Environmental and Natural Resources Program and the Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment.  Another section is taught by Michael Wara – a geochemist and a scientist in his former life before undertaking his JD studies here.  Whatever class you choose to attend, you’ll walk away excited about what you’ve just experienced, excited about the possibilities that exist here and excited about joining the SLS community.

4 Responses to Hello 2011
  1. Dear Dean Deal,

    Some of us are receiving our December LSAT scores today. In the case that an applicant has two scores (e.g. 165, 172) where the higher score seems to “fit” the applicant’s academic profile better, and where the difference can be explained (e.g. an illness), how does your office consider the two scores? Should an addendum be included in the application package? Thank you for your support and transparency.


    1. I always look at both scores. I may need to report only the highest, but I will still look at everything. That said, though, I have always had the ability to discount one and focus on the other. That’s not changed. If there is a reason for the gap in scores, you should let me know about that. I’d rather hear what you have to say than have to draw my own conclusions. And, I’m fairly certain you’d want that as well. Yes, the way to handle this is through an addendum. Be brief as I don’t especially want to read a treatise on the subject.

  2. Dear Dean Deal,

    I was thinking of updating my file with a letter of continued interest, conveying specifically why Stanford is by far my first choice, and addressing what I perceive to be a weakness in my application. I am not sure if this would fall under the category of cluttering your inbox unnecessarily. I would be grateful if you shared your thoughts on the matter.


    1. A letter of continued interest does not fall under the category of cluttering my inbox unnecessarily. The cluttering in my inbox is due to many other things and never to letters of continued interest 🙂

      Check out my reply to an earlier comment to the “And So It Begins…” posting for some additional insight.

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