The students in the Class of 2019 who recently began their legal studies at Indiana law schools are, for the most part, very similar to the crop that enrolled one year ago. Despite the drop nationally in qualified undergraduates applying to law schools, Hoosier institutions were able to maintain their academic standards.
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law enrolled the biggest class with 253 students, 183 of whom are in the full-time program and 70 in the part-time program. The overall median LSAT score was 153 and the median GPA 3.39.
IU McKinney’s first-year students are statistically similar to the class that started in the fall of 2015. A total of 254 students enrolled last year, bringing a median LSAT of 152 and a median GPA of 3.34.
Dean Andrew Klein and vice dean Antony Page credited the enrollment to faculty and alumni joining together to recruit students and “to help communicate to prospective law students there are a lot of advantages to attending school at IU McKinney.” Also, they credited the employment rate among its graduates in finding either JD required, JD advantage or professional positions, as attracting new students.
Valparaiso Law School accepted a smaller class as part of its effort to adjust to the changes in the legal market. In the spring, the institution announced it would be laying off faculty and reducing the size of the school in response to the declining number of JD-required jobs and shrinking applications.
This fall, Valparaiso welcomed 103 students, down from the 130 it accepted last fall. The median LSAT was 147 and the median GPA was 3.02. Both scores are up from the last year’s LSAT of 145 and GPA of 2.93.
Conversely, Indiana Tech Law School, which secured provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association in March 2016, has enrolled its largest class since opening in 2013. Fifty-five students started first-year courses this semester at the Fort Wayne institution, of which 45 percent were women and 30 percent were minorities.
Indiana Tech did not release the incoming class’s median LSAT and GPA scores.
Women are the majority at both Indiana University Maurer School of Law and University of Notre Dame Law School.
In South Bend, 50.5 percent of the incoming class of 187 is women, the highest percentage the law school has ever had. IU Maurer has 178 first year students of which 51 percent are women and 27 percent are minorities. A comfortable majority — 60 percent — of the new IU Maurer students are out-of-state residents.
The new class at Notre Dame also made history by entering with a median GPA of 3.71, the highest of any class. Its median LSAT score of 164 is equal to that of last year’s entering class.
IU Maurer’s Class of 2019 came with a median LSAT of 161 and a median GPA of 3.71, matching that of Notre Dame’s. Comparatively, last year’s entering students has a median LSAT of 161 and a GPA of 3.76.
Austen Parrish, dean of IU Maurer, said competition to recruit the top students is very fierce and credited his school’s success to a revitalized admission office and to the physical beauty of the campus and community.
“People come to Bloomington and sort of fall in love with it,” he said, noting the school increased the opportunities for potential students to visit.
About eight students in the Class of 2019 came to IU Maurer through the partnerships the law school has established with universities and colleges around the country. The top students from those institutions are offered scholarships to study law in Bloomington.
Parrish would like to see that program bring in more students but, he noted, the partnerships are raising the law school’s name recognition. Other students from those partnering undergraduate schools have been learning about IU Maurer and enrolling as a result.•