Your Response Process
We wanted to offer some general advice about how we hope you will approach this final phase of the application/decision/response sequence. We do this without regard to whether we will offer you admission, because we hope you will understand that this phase is larger than any individual applicant or school. Another way to think of this next period is that the anxiety and uncertainty that applicants faced initially will eventually transfer to the law schools once they send our their decisions and wait for your responses!
Most LLM program applicants apply to more than one school, and many applicants have other contingencies (e.g. career opportunities, financial circumstances, or family considerations) that may determine where, and even if, they will attend an LLM program during the 2019-2020 academic year. The schools are aware of this and, as a consequence, they realize that they will have to offer admission to more candidates than they actually want in their programs. In order to make accurate projections of the final enrollment, schools will ask admitted applicants to respond to their offers by a deadline. Some schools will use a money deposit and others, like Chicago, will ask for just an email commitment. In either case, the spirit behind a response system is that admitted applicants are expected to 1) make decisions based upon the information they have available to them at the time they respond, and 2) to select one school if they have multiple offers and tell the other schools they will not attend.
Schools usually will not require admitted candidates to withdraw their applications from schools that have yet to make decisions on their applications, but it certainly speeds up the entire admission/response process if candidates do withdraw before a decision if they know that they are no longer interested in attending. Here is an example of why this is encouraged: once a candidate withdraws his or her application from a school, that school can then possibly offer admission sooner to someone still under consideration. That second person would then be able to withdraw his or her applications at other schools—perhaps schools where the first person is still waiting for a final decision! All of these decisions—by schools and applicants—are happening in a very short time frame and the actions of all candidates are connected. The sooner you may be able to say “no” to some schools, the sooner some schools may be able to offer you admission.
Some applicants have told us that even though they have decided to attend a particular school or know which of their current offers they prefer, they still want to get final decisions from all the schools to which they have applied before withdrawing from some schools. Please understand that doing this could hurt other candidates who are still waiting for final decisions. Some have also said they do not want to “offend” a school by withdrawing “too early.” Trust us, schools prefer to learn as soon as possible if an applicant, admitted or not, no longer wants to go there.
Many of you will say that the above is already obvious and you do not need us to remind you of your obligations. Unfortunately, you would be surprised at the number of admitted applicants who never respond, one way or the other, to offers of admission here and at other schools. Not only does this drag out the entire admission/response process, as noted above, it seems to us to be a matter of discourtesy and unprofessionalism. All it takes is a brief email message.
For information on application response timing, please review the section Important Dates.