Home Page Catholic University, Columbus School of Law website CUA Law E-newsletter - April 2014 Home Page Catholic University, Columbus School of Law website Home Page Catholic University, Columbus School of Law website

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A letter from Dean Daniel F. Attridge:

Dear CUA Law Alumni, Family, and Friends,

Fresh off of our spring break during the week of March 9-15, we are now in the midst of one of the busiest times in our Law School calendar. It is a crescendo of activities and events leading up to the end of classes on April 30, the final examination period from May 1 to 12, and our Commencement Day on May 23. This is a brief report on what’s been happening and what’s coming up:

1. New Master of Legal Studies Program. We are actively seeking applications for our new Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree program, set to begin in the summer of 2014. The 15-month, 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 two summers, one fall, and one spring semester. Initially the degree program will offer an area of emphasis in intellectual property law. The program is expected to expand into other areas in the future. We encourage you to refer potential applicants to us. For more information about the new program, please click here.

2. Rankings. As we advised you earlier in March, CUA Law experienced a significant drop in our U.S. News ranking from #80 to #107 this year. While this is highly disappointing, this annually recalculated ranking has no connection to the excellence of the legal education we offer. We are the same law school with the same strengths that we had before the latest publication. As two of our students wrote in reaction to the new ranking, what matters is that CUA Law "prepares students for practice and builds a sense of community." Nonetheless, this U.S. News ranking does include some good news: our clinical training in law is ranked at #14 in the country, while our part-time evening J.D. program is ranked at #20.

As I observed last year when CUA Law moved up in the rankings, although the U.S. News rankings seem to be highly publicized, other rankings may be just as notable. For example:

Forbes recently ranked law schools based on their graduates’ median salaries. CUA Law is ranked 23rd overall, based on our graduates’ median starting salary of $75,600. Forbes also reports that CUA Law graduates have a median mid-career paycheck of $146,400. CUA Law is one of only two law schools in the local Washington/Baltimore area on Forbes’ top 25 list.

The National Jurist recently graded the “Best Schools for Practical Training,” listing the schools with the most comprehensive offerings with simulated courses, clinics, and externships. CUA Law received a B+ rating, tied for 38th place out of more than 200 schools.

The National Law Journal recently released its report on “The Top 50 Go-To Law Schools.” CUA Law ranked 38th on the list of the most associates who made partner last year in the largest law firms.

3. J.D. Program Admissions. The signs are continuing to point to another down year for law school applications. The number of applicants to all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association has dropped by another 12% compared to last year. This follows a drop of 32% over the previous three years. These trends are of concern, despite our great success in recruiting an outstanding first-year class entering in the fall of 2013 that is 14% larger than our 2012 entering class. To counteract the national trends, we are continuing to take steps to better target and recruit prospective students. These steps include (1) initiating contacts with select groups of LSAT takers who fit our profile as potential applicants; (2) having students, faculty, and alumni follow up directly with admitted applicants; and (3) arranging specially tailored on-campus visiting programs for admitted applicants. If you are interested in getting personally involved – by referring a prospective applicant or by assisting our efforts to reach out to admitted students – please contact our Director of Admissions, Shani Butts, at butts@law.edu. We appreciate your help in recruiting our next great class of CUA Lawyers.

4. Merit Scholarships. A key factor that negatively influences our U.S. News ranking, as well as the attractiveness of our Law School to potential applicants, is our current inability to do what many of our competitor law schools do: offer very significant merit-based scholarships to applicants whose high LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs would drive up the reported LSAT and GPA medians for the entering class. While we appreciate the generous donations we receive at CUA Law, they cover only about one-third the cost of the over $4 million in merit scholarships that we already award. We currently have no full tuition scholarships to offer, and our median tuition scholarship of $10,000 covers only a portion of the total annual cost of approximately $70,000 for a student’s tuition, fees, and living expenses. In contrast, at two other mid-Atlantic Catholic law schools with whom we compete for students, there are 50 full tuition scholarships per class available at one school and median scholarships of $32,500 offered at the other. Many CUA Law students receive no financial aid from us at all. As a consequence, to be candid, this often makes our Law School seem non-competitive in our efforts to attract the most highly qualified students to CUA Law. We lose them to other schools that have greater financial resources and can offer better scholarship packages. We have a great faculty and staff, terrific programs, and wonderful facilities to attract even the strongest of applicants, but not without more funding for scholarships. So, when alumni ask what you can do to help, I hope you will consider funding a partial scholarship at $10,000 (or more) annually – either individually or banding together with a group of alumni friends. Those are the kinds of gifts that can help us attract more and stronger applicants. Please think about it; you can really make a difference in one student’s decision to attend CUA Law.

5. The Dean’s Dinner. Last year, our Board of Visitors began an important new tradition, the Dean’s Dinner, with the purpose of raising scholarship funds for the Law School. This year, our featured speaker will be former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more than 70 cases in the Supreme Court. The Dean’s Dinner will be held on April 10 at the Army-Navy Club. If you are interested in joining us as a host or supporter of the fundraiser event, please click here.

6. Alumni Events. We have held a variety of alumni events during the past month, including a breakfast for alumni at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a dinner and musical performance of Godspell for our 1897 Society Leadership Donors at CUA, a luncheon for alumni at FINRA, an evening reception for alumni in Rockville, a dinner for alumni in Boca Raton, an evening reception for alumni hosted by Linda O. and Luis J. Perez ’83 at Hogan Lovells LLP in Miami, and a breakfast for alumni at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Coming up, our schedule of alumni events includes a Scholarship Donor Luncheon to connect donors with the student recipients on March 28, an evening reception in Philadelphia on April 2, a luncheon in New York City on April 3, and an evening reception in Northern Virginia on April 22. If you’re interested in attending any of these events, please click here. Also, if you would be interested in having me or other representatives of the Law School visit your group of alumni, please contact Tanya Easton, our Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at eastont@law.edu.

7. Interesting Events. This past month has included many other interesting events and programs:

• On February 26, Chief Judge William T. Newman ’77, of the Arlington County Circuit Court, spoke to students about his career experiences and offered advice on how to advance in their legal careers.

• On February 28, we hosted our annual First Year Student-Faculty Luncheon. Highlighted by a fun trivia contest between tables, the event is an important socializing opportunity for students to get even better acquainted with their classmates, faculty, and staff. As I told the students: “You are the reason all of us are here. Some of the people here will be your lifelong friends.”

• On March 6, our Comparative and International Law Institute sponsored an international career panel and networking reception for students and alumni at the Embassy of Poland. The panelists included immigration law expert Jerry Erickson, World Bank investigative analyst Khaliunaa Garamgaibaatar ’12, Department of Commerce deputy chief counsel Robert Heilferty ’88, and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce Patrick Mulloy.

• On March 20, the Black Law Students Association hosted their 20th annual alumni-student reception honoring S. Jenell Trigg ’97, a member of Lerman Senter PLLC, where she is chair of the firm’s intellectual property and new technology practice group, and a member of the Law School’s Board of Visitors.

• On March 21-22, the Law School’s Moot Court Association hosted the Sutherland Cup Competition, which is believed to be the oldest interscholastic appellate moot court competition in the country. A team from Boston University, whose dean is the daughter-in-law of two distinguished CUA Law alumni, won the competition.

Thank you for your interest and support for CUA Law. I welcome your comments at attridge@law.edu.


Daniel F. Attridge
Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law

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