Would a law school rescind your admission?

You've probably heard some of the many horror stories of colleges and universities rescinding (note: not "resending" – which would mean to barrage someone with the same admission over and over again). In fact, I can vividly remember my dad telling me after I got into my dream school for my undergraduate degree that if I did poorly my last semester of high school the college would pull my offer. These cases have become more common, especially with cases of social media;  here is one example that you may recall: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/6/5/2021-offers-rescinded-memes/

The question at hand, then, is "do law schools pull admit offers and why would they?" First, the very good news. This happens much less frequently than we have seen at the undergraduate level. It is very, very rare. At our firm, we each could think of a couple of cases where admission offers were rescinded, and they were almost always related to Character & Fitness issues/ misrepresentation on applications that were later uncovered. I'll get into those later but let me answer the most prominent question first.

Would a law school pull your offer of admissions for a drop in grades alone?" The technical answer is "yes, that could happen,"  and we have seen it. But keep in mind we have well over 100 years of  law school combined admissions experience,  and we've only seen this twice in all of those combined years. And in those two cases, there still was another external factor. The common mistake that the students made was that they let the school discover the drop in grades instead of telling said school and putting the grade drop into context. Note, importantly, that in doing so this caused the discovery to occur much later in the cycle, which leaves schools with fewer options for admitting others above the GPA to maintain medians. The point, then, is that if your GPA drops, particularly if it drops below the school's median, the school will find out. It is still exceptionally unlikely (and we can't emphasize that enough) your offer would be rescinded, but it also behooves one to let the school know. They are going to find out anyway.

What about those other cases? If an offer is rescinded, it is much more likely to do with character and fitness issues or misrepresenting oneself on a law school application. I can think of a case where an admitted student was drunkenly unruly during the entire admitted students program – not just at night, but during the classroom experiences also. We have seen a forged letter of recommendation and an LSAT tutor taking the LSAT for a student. I could give many examples, but the general rule of thumb is that if it is going to cause a problem with sitting for the bar, or if there is great reason for concern to the office of admission that there is an issue or problem that will persist into law school, these would be the primary reasons for rescinding an admit offer. Even here though, it is not easy to pull an offer of admission; in many cases the school's general counsel office has to approve the decision. If something happens, the most important thing you can do as an applicant is to get ahead of it. Tell the school. Talk to the school. Every important conversation I have, I do over phone not email – and there are many reasons for this. Sending a school a blind email at 2:00 a.m.  saying "I just wanted to let you know I got my second DUI last night" isn't going to cut it. Again, they are going to find out and going to want to hear your side of the story anyway. So make sure you get the chance to tell them as soon as possible.  

Finally, what about social media? These cases tend to bother me the most – when I see them I can't help but ask "what is the point of any of this behavior?" Everyone of us will make some mistake at some point in our lives, but they are tremendously forgivable when they are rash, in the moment, and not systemic. But there is nothing "in the moment" about a prolonged, unerasable history of being maleficent online. I can think of someone on Reddit's lawschooladmission board a few years ago who was in the crosshairs of a number of schools.  The poster kept harassing deans of admissions on the board, calling some ugly, etc. Every time fellow message board posters would tell them that they were bound to be outed, said poster would talk about how they would drive to various libraries to protect their IP address and thus identity. Yet sure enough based on the applicant's disclosures on the board, cross referenced with their application, schools were able to narrow down and pinpoint all of the person's posts. Those posts are all gone now, and I imagine because of an incredibly stressful meeting that occured with the dean of student affairs at a law school. Why on earth would you ever put yourself in this situation? To try to get the attention of strangers online? Assuredly most everyone isn't thinking about you or your posts in this situation – there is absolutely no upside and potentially devastating downside. There's good news here too, though, as I mentioned the other week, I have seen less drama in this cycle's message board posters than I have in many years. What I mean by that is there are more positive posters and  embracing culture. Even that overall culture has caused law schools to scrutinize posts less.

To summarize, don't sweat the small stuff, and it is indeed almost all small stuff. The number of rescinded offers we have seen in our many years doing this is a tiny fraction of a fraction. They generally involve making a mistake and then trying to cover up that mistake. As a life rule, the best thing to do is to admit when you do something wrong, take measures to correct that wrong deed, and then to move on. If you follow this advice alone, even if something happens, you should be fine. Enjoy your admit, it isn't going anywhere!

One final point. Do not miss post-May 1 deadlines associated with admissions requests. We have heard last year that some students were forced to defer after initially accepting admissions by the May 1 deadline!