Richard Badger '68 is the Assistant Dean for the LL.M. Program and Alumni Development. He's been involved with JD and LLM admissions at the Law School for over 30 years, and has also served as Dean of Students and head of the Career Services office. There isn't much about law school administration that Dean Badger doesn't know. Below, an introduction to what Dean Badger does, and how he approaches the reading of admissions files:
"'Have a nice vacation.' That is often what our students say to me when they finish their Autumn Quarter exams and are heading off to various places around the world. Then I remind them that for those of us who are involved in the admissions process, this is one of the busiest times of the year. A day or two off is possible, a vacation is not! I tell our students that the admissions season begins at the end of the World Series in late October – earlier if one is making recruiting visits – and should end by Opening Day in early April. It won’t surprise you to learn, if you look at my background on our web page, that I am a baseball fan!
I have been reading applications to Chicago for 35 years. That’s a lot of personal statements. And a lot of interesting stories. With our students and many faculty now away from the Law School, things are pretty quiet and that makes it easier to really focus on application reading. I have found that the only way I can give applications the attention they deserve is to pace myself. This is not something you can do for long sustained periods and be just as fair to the last application you read as you were to the first one. I read applications in batches of six at a time. Then I take a short break and come back to read another six applications. The limit of my attention span is 12 files and after that I really have to spend time doing other things. As a consequence, I try to read 12 files at home in the early morning before I come to the Law School, another 12 files before lunch, 12 more during the afternoon and 12 in the evening. This is my ideal schedule but obviously it is subject to other demands on my time either at the Law School or at home. But if I can more or less stay with this rhythm on a regular basis it enables me to read the applications I need to review over the course of the season.
I mentioned earlier that our students head off all over the world after exams. That is particularly true for the students I work most closely with now. I am in charge of our one-year LL.M. Program which brings about 50 lawyers from other countries – 21 countries represented this year – to the Law School. These students take the same classes with our students in the J.D. Program and add a wonderful international flavor to our community. I urge our J.D. students to get to know the LLM’s, as they are called, both for professional networking purposes and because it is great to have friends as guides when one travels internationally. Every two years, for example, our Japanese Law Society will send a group of J.D. students to Japan for a visit during the break between our Winter and Spring Quarters. Our 100+ graduates (mostly LLMs) in Japan help to make that visit rewarding for our current students.
In addition to the LL.M Program, I also run the Law School’s fantasy baseball league which I created 20 years ago. Each year we have about 20-30 students, faculty and administrators participate. As one would expect, that begins right around the end of the admissions season! Send me an email and I will send you the details on how our league works.
Now, it’s time to read 12 more applications. I think they will be J.D. candidates this time!"