Members of the Class of 2017 start law school

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About 872 people are expected to begin their legal studies this fall at law schools in Indiana.

As all five Indiana law schools welcome members of the Class of 2017, the deans at each school are touting the talents of the incoming students. The schools released enrollment numbers and LSAT scores but stressed the class sizes are preliminary and could change slightly.    

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, the institution from which a majority of Indiana attorneys have graduated, is welcoming a class in the 270 range, including about 80 part-time students, according to Dean Andrew Klein.  

The incoming class is bigger than last year’s entering class of 230 but smaller than May’s graduating class of nearly 310.

“It’s a really, really strong group of individuals,” Klein said of the Class of 2017.

The median LSAT score for the incoming class is two points lower than last year, but the collective GPA remains strong between 3.3 and 3.4, Klein said. The school reports that 20 percent of the new students are people of color.

In addition, Klein touted the entering class’s yield rate – or the percentage of students who accepted offers from IU McKinney – of 50 percent, up from last year’s rate of 40 percent. The dean attributed the improved rate to the increased effort the law school has made to welcoming potential students.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Dean Austen Parrish also praised the talents of the new law students coming to Bloomington.

The incoming class has approximately 188 students and a median LSAT score of 161. Last year, IU Maurer welcomed a class of 204 with a median LSAT score of 162.   

During the height of the recession, IU Maurer saw its incoming class size swell to 251 in 2010 and 242 in 2011. Parrish said the school is now aiming for smaller classes ranging between 180 and 190 students.

University of Notre Dame Law School is expecting more students this year. The incoming class is anticipated to reach 196, compared to 163 last year.

Dean Nell Jessup Newton noted the “rather high increase,” but said the South Bend law school has not set class size although it typically aims for a class of 180. Still, the institution has welcomed entering classes as big as 201 students.

The Notre Dame Class of 2017 has a median LSAT of 163, the same as last year’s class, and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.63, slightly higher than the 3.60 GPA of the previous year’s class.

At an alumni reception in Indianapolis, Valparaiso University Law School Dean Andrea Lyon talked optimistically about the school’s incoming class. About 188 students are expected with a collective LSAT score that is two points higher than last year’s class.  

Indiana Tech Law School is welcoming its second class of students and proceeding with the process to become accredited by the American Bar Association.

Interim dean andré douglas pond cummings said the incoming class will have about 30 students with a median LSAT score of 148. Students in this second class, he said, are coming from undergraduate institutions as diverse as Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and Weber State University along with schools throughout Indiana including Ball State University, DePauw University and IU Bloomington.

The interim dean also said the law school’s accreditation application “looks excellent,” and an ABA team is scheduled to visit Sept. 14 through 17.


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