Our 2014-15 academic year has just started, and we’re looking forward to a great year. We’re delighted to welcome a new group of first-year students and to welcome back our upper-division students. This is a brief report on our latest developments and what’s coming up soon:
1. A New Class of First-Year Students. Law schools are continuing to be challenged by the unprecedented drop in the number of applicants to all ABA accredited law schools in the past few years. Despite this negative trend, our Admissions Office, led by Director Shani Butts, is making great strides in attracting high-quality students in our Law School. This year we are fortunate to be enrolling 143 new first-year students to our J.D. program, a slight 1.4% increase in 1L enrollment over the past two years (compared to a decrease of 19.9% in applicants to all ABA accredited schools during the same two-year period). While this year’s 1L class is smaller than last year’s, recall that last year CUA Law was one of the relatively few ABA accredited schools to report any increase in 1L enrollment.
As we are getting to know the new students, we are discovering that our 1L class is yet another remarkable group of people. Drawn from a pool of over 1,500 applicants, our new 1Ls hold undergraduate degrees from 96 different colleges, and they come to us from 30 different states, the District of Columbia, and three foreign countries. 55% are men; 45% are women. 35% are minorities. Of the 143 new 1L students, 101 are enrolled in the full-time, day program, and 42 are enrolled in the part-time, evening program. We also enrolled three visiting upper-division students for our J.D. program and two new students for our LL.M. program.
Our new students participated in orientation events from August 12th to 14th. The events are chronicled here. New this year was an induction ceremony during which Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia administered an oath to our incoming class. It was an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon the important new responsibilities our new students are undertaking as they begin their journey into the legal profession.
To mark the beginning of our new academic year, many of our new students participated in a community volunteer service program organized by Jen Tschirch, our Pro Bono Coordinator. Along with members of our faculty and staff, our students fanned out to five nearby locations to lend a helping hand. For details and some photos, please click here.
2. New Master of Legal Studies Program. We have just enrolled our very first class of five students for our new Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree program. The 26-credit program aims to meet the demand for professionals who want to develop specialized knowledge and enhanced understanding of the critical role the law plays across various industries and disciplines. M.L.S. students will complete the program on a part-time schedule over three or four semesters. The new degree program offers four choices in areas of emphasis: intellectual property law; compliance and corporate responsibility; employment and human resources; and general U.S. law. For more information about the new program, please click here.
3. New 3/3 Joint B.A./J.D. Programs. We are pleased to announce that we have entered into agreements with two colleges — Stonehill College in Massachusetts and Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland — that will enable their top undergraduates to obtain early admission to our Law School. These are called 3/3 programs because a student can obtain a bachelor’s and J.D. degrees in six years as opposed to the usual seven years. These agreements are designed for colleges that are looking for a way to build a strong bridge for their students who are interested in obtaining a law degree. These agreements expand on a 3/3 program that we have had at CUA for our own undergraduates.
4. Columbus Community Legal Services. Professor Ellen Scully has just retired after 40 years of service to the Law School as a Clinical Assistant Professor and former Director of the Columbus Community Legal Services. Fortunately for us, Professor Scully will be continuing with us as a volunteer, assisting our faculty and staff, and most importantly our students and clients, at CCLS. We are very appreciative of her long and distinguished record of service to the Law School community. But for her efforts, CCLS would not have become as successful as it has been in training our students and serving the public. Through CCLS, Professor Scully has given us her heart and soul, and everyone she has touched in her work here is better off because of it. We congratulate her and thank her very much for her service.
Alvita Eason Barrow, Managing Director of CCLS, is leaving us at the end of August to head back to her native North Carolina. We are grateful for her contributions and wish her well in her new position in the career placement office at Wake Forest’s Law School. Director Paul Kurth, who runs the Consumer Protection Project at CCLS, will become the Acting Managing Director of CCLS.
5. Upcoming Speakers. On September 15, Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will give a Constitution Week Lecture on the topic of “The Catholic Law School and Constitutional Self-Government.” On September 29, Commissioner Daniel Gallagher, CUA Law ’99, of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, will deliver remarks on “Recent Developments at the SEC.”
6. Best of Legal Times Survey. The Legal Times is conducting its annual “Best of” survey. Questions 56-58 relate to law schools and offer the opportunity for you to select CUA Law as the best. We urge you to participate as a way to increase our profile. Here’s the link to the survey: 2014 Best of Legal Times Survey. Voting closes Friday, September 19.
7. Career Placement. Led by Director Jill Frost, our Office of Career and Professional Development has been busy supporting our students’ and graduates’ efforts to land jobs. 82.3% of our class of 2013 graduates reported having secured employment as of February 15, 2014 (the day the data are collected). 51.4% of our class of 2014 graduates reported having secured employment as of Commencement Day last May. Looking forward, our OCPD has been hosting employers interested in hiring our students for next summer and post-graduation. Employers on campus interviewing in August include Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Arent Fox LLP, Bingham McCutchen LLP, Dechert LLP, Delaware Department of Justice, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Goodwin Procter LLP, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, and Venable LLP.
8. 20th Anniversary of the Law School Building. October 1, 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the dedication of our Law School building. We are planning a cake and champagne celebration to mark the occasion. All are welcome. Please click here for more information.
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