Law School Admissions News Roundup

  • New Law School in Savannah- The ABA has approved the opening of Savannah Law School next fall, a branch of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, The National Law Journal reports. The nearest law schools from this new campus are over 90 minutes away by car, and there are more than 20 colleges and universities nearby. The school aims to admit 60 full-time and 35 part-time students next year, with a total of 96 students. Plus, “administrators are touting a ‘noncompetitive’ environment intended to encourage teamwork.” Despite the approval from the ABA, Savannah Law will still need provisional accreditation.
  • Top Schools for Public Service- The National Jurist has listed the best law schools in preparing its students for public service in five categories: public interest, prosecutor/public defender, Federal clerks, state judicial clerks, and government. There are 15 law schools in each category besides government—which has 20—and they are unranked. For clerkships, the magazine just used employment placement data; whereas, for the other three categories, curricula, employment data, and standard of living were considered. The only law school in three out of five lists is Penn State University. A number of schools made two categories, including Brooklyn Law, Northeastern, University of Arizona, and Yale. The complete lists are not published yet, but check here for some of the categories.
  • UC Irvine Edges Out Harvard- Another solid contender when it comes to public service is the new UC Irvine School of Law. As Above the Law reports, the school continues to impress, now with one of the “highest federal clerkship placement rates in the country.” Nearly a fifth of UC Irvine’s 2012 class has been placed with district and circuit court judges, a rate which would place the school just behind Yale and Stanford, and ahead of Harvard, in clerkship placement. Unfortunately, the school isn’t even ranked yet, since it’s still waiting on the ABA for full accreditation. Reuters attributes Irvine’s success to “money and influence”—the majority of the school’s funding comes from high-profile donors, which has also allowed the school to “attract top-notch students.” And with all this, its inaugural class hasn’t even graduated yet.
  • February LSAT is Just Like All Other LSATs- Contrary to what you may have heard, the February LSAT is not any tougher than the other LSATs. As Most Strongly Supported points out, fewer people tend to take the February LSAT, besides retakers who are trying to get off waitlists. Others more likely to take it in February are either procrastinating and sending in their applications for that year, or “over-achiev[ing]” and starting their application process for the next year super early. The main aspect that sets the February LSAT apart is that it’s undisclosed. You only get to see your score, without the opportunity to review the test and your mistakes. Perhaps for this reason people assume the February test is somehow tougher than the others, but these tests are standardized, and all have the same level of difficulty.
  • A Law School Alternative- Although not very popular, ‘reading the law’ is still an option for those who can’t or don’t want to attend law school. According to The National Law Journal, some states still allow this alternative: Virginia, California, Washington, and Vermont allow people to learn the law in an experienced attorney’s office for three or four years—instead of going to law school—before taking the bar. Those in New York, Maine, or Wyoming can attend one or two years of law school and then do a legal apprenticeship to supplement the missing years. Avoiding exorbitant tuition may seem tempting, but not many people have taken this route. To be specific, only 59 people across the country (0.08 percent of all test takers) took a 2010 state bar exam after finishing a law office study program instead of law school. And of those 59 people, only 17 percent passed, versus the 74 percent of grads from ABA-approved law schools. This low passage rate can contribute to the small number of participants in these programs. Plus, they’d have to contend with the lack of mobility, since generally “the only state that recognizes the law license is the state in which it was obtained.” And while each program’s specifics vary depending on the state, they are usually very demanding and require a lot of discipline—only for the real Lincolns and Marshalls among us.

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