Is It O.K. to Apply Binding Early Decision to More Than One Law School?

My post last week talked about when it makes sense to apply to law school binding early decision. I had assumed it was obvious that you can commit yourself to only one school as part of a binding early decision program, until this past week when I received the following email from an admissions officer at a top-10 law school:

[My office colleague] just got a call from a guy who wanted to check with us that it's okay to apply to two schools early decision.  I told her to say no, and explain why. He told her that UVA said it's okay—you'll just be bound to whichever school contacts you first! And of course they'd say that, as they're already making early decision offers. Lovely. That, to me, is clearly wrong (both the advice and the behavior).

Is UVA Law School actually telling applicants that? I don't know. Maybe the applicant was just calling around hoping to hear from some school that it's OK to make more than one binding commitment.

But I would hazard a guess that most admissions officers would consider the practice of applying ED to more than one school totally improper. This is a good time to remind applicants that the admissions community is a small one, and schools can get wind of multiple, conflicting commitments. You do not want to be the test case who learns the hard way where individual admissions officers draw those boundaries. When you make a binding commitment to a school, you should do so with the intention of honoring it.

Have you heard conflicting advice from different schools? If so, please share!

Former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and a recovering lawyer, Anna Ivey founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process. Read more admissions tips in The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions, recently updated and available as an e-book. Follow Anna on Twitter (@annaivey).