Earlier this week, a Michigan Law alumnus complained to the ABA about the school’s Wolverine Scholars Program. Well, last night the Michigan Dean of Admissions emailed the students about the complaint and a popular legal blog that she “doesn’t read.” Here’s the email from Sarah Zearfoss, Director of Admissions at Michigan Law:
Hope your summer is going well–we miss you here in Ann Arbor, and are confused by the number of empty parking spaces. My own summer has been quite lovely, and my vacation hiking in various western desert national parks made me profoundly, profoundly grateful for that Michigan weather about which so many have Issues. “Dry heat,” my fanny. 120 degrees is brutal.
So, I don’t actually read the Above the Law website, but I can’t seem to stop people from forwarding links to me from time to time. Yesterday featured a blurb that has prompted me to write to all of you because of a fundamental misconception it contained.
Oh come on Dean Zearfoss, you want us on that wall, you need us on that wall. Besides, we know your boss, Michigan Law School Dean Evan Caminker, loves to read us. Don’t you want to do what all the hot kids are doing?
More from the Michigan Director of Admissions, after the jump.
Dean Zearfoss went on to defend the Wolverine Scholars Program along the lines the University has defended the decision before:
You may recall that last fall, a big e-brouhaha broke out a couple of weeks after we posted a web announcement about the “Wolverine Scholars” program, which invites Michigan undergrads with exceptionally strong academic track records (GPAs of 3.8 and above) to apply to the Law School in the summer before or after their senior years, so long as they have not yet taken the LSAT. (They are free to take it after they receive a decision through Wolverine Scholars.) The Law School was promptly criticized by some for “gaming” the rankings–never mind that even the head rankings honcho himself said the 5 to 10 people we hope to matriculate couldn’t possibly have an effect.
The Law School has maintained that so few people will be admitted under the program that it won’t impact the school’s ranking. Maybe so, but that doesn’t exactly explain why Michigan Law School wants a limited group of students to not take the LSAT. What upside does the program have for Michigan Law?
The dean doesn’t go into details about why students who get a 3.80 GPA are disallowed from taking the LSAT. She doesn’t explain why the Law School can’t voluntarily disregard the LSAT scores of qualified students instead asking the students themselves to limit their options and disregard the LSAT. But she does explain that the school is not in violation of any ABA policy, contrary to the complaint we reported on yesterday:
I guess it’s been a slow news week, and the controversy has risen from the dead. Old news or not, though, since you all have an entirely rational basis for wanting assurance that we’re not running wild over here in Admissions, I wanted to make one point utterly clear: we are not in any way in violation of the ABA standards. We provided the ABA with extensive details and data to help them assess this program in the context of the ABA admissions standards, and have received a 5-year variance to pilot and test the program. Indeed, the Law School is not the only school with this sort of program; at least two others received the same sort of variance as we did (and we know of other schools whose programs have apparently not yet been looked at by the ABA).
I hope that any concerns raised by the Above the Law blurb are now laid to rest for you and that there will not, in fact, be any more after the jump.
See you in a month!
Well, to be clear, we didn’t raise the issue with the ABA, a recent Michigan Law graduate did. But since Dean Zearfoss doesn’t actually read our posts, we can forgive her for missing that.
At least the students now know that Michigan Law School received a waiver from the ABA to try the program out. It’s a pilot program. Pilot programs usually have only a small number of participants.
But if it goes well, will Michigan expand the program?
Earlier: Michigan Law Graduate Complains to ABA About ‘Wolverine Scholars Program’
University Of Michigan Law School: Please Stop The Insanity
Michigan Law School Circles The Wagons (Almost)
Law School Dean Hotties: Comment from Dean Caminker