Law School sees strongest incoming class to date

by Vadim Lavrusik

The recruiting paid off.

The University’s Law School’s class of 2009 has entered the school with the highest median Law School Admission Test score in the school’s history.

The median LSAT score increased from 164 last year to 165 this year. The highest score possible for the LSAT, the standardized entrance exam for law schools, is 180.

Although the number of applicants to law schools nationwide is decreasing, the University boasts a greater number of applicants.

Joan Howland, associate dean of the law school, said broadened recruiting has been a key in the success of getting a stronger incoming class.

Howland said that in the past four years, the school has seen stronger applicants from a larger pool, resulting in a stronger incoming class each year.

Julie Tigges, interim director of admissions at the Law School, said the school has broadened its recruitment on the West and East coasts.

Tigges said the school

also uses an e-mail recruitment system. The admissions office receives names of students from the Law School Admission Council whose

scores stand out. The school then sends them an e-mail

and direct mail inviting them to apply, she said.

She said the school has also put its effort into local recruitment by offering two programs for undergraduate and high school students to explore the University’s Law School.

The focus of recruiting isn’t only academics, she said, but diversity as well.

The 258 members of this year’s incoming class represent 28 states, five foreign countries and 118 undergraduate schools. Most are from Minnesota, followed by Wisconsin and California.

Howland said the school also increased its gender diversity, increasing the percentage of women representing the incoming class from 39 percent last year to 43 percent this year.

She said applications to other law schools are decreasing because the economy is stronger.

“Many people are getting jobs once they are done with their undergraduate degree and not choosing law school,” she said.

Also, many are choosing more careers in the technology industry, she said.

Third-year law student

Joe Cassioppi said the economy wasn’t doing as well

when he chose to go to law school.

Although Cassioppi said

he had always planned on going to law school, many are not choosing the same path because of the growth in the economy.

“A lot of people are choosing other jobs that are available,

instead of spending three

more years in law school,” he said.

Cassioppi said one reason for an increase in applicants to the University was because the school’s recently resigned dean, Alex Johnson, made a great effort to expand recruitment on a national level.

“He did a really great job in expanding and pushing national recruitment,” Cassioppi said.

Howland said the school

still aims to continually improve the diversity and academic performance of entering students.

“Diversity enriches the entire University and the classroom experience; I think it makes the school richer and deeper,” she said. “We know that all these students are going to be incredibly successful.”

Nick Rogers, a second-year law student, said it’s not surprising that the new class is the strongest in the school’s history, considering he’s heard the speech before.

“Each year the class gets better,” Rogers said. “They gave us the same speech last year at orientation, how we are the strongest class to come through.”