1L class brings strong credentials; 104 students return to Valpo

Freshly arriving law students are turning on their laptops, getting their student IDs, finalizing their schedules and preparing for the start of classes at Indiana’s law schools.

Classes began Monday at Valparaiso Law School and will start Tuesday at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Both Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Notre Dame Law School will start classes Monday, Aug. 20.

IU McKinney, IU Maurer and Notre Dame have all enrolled a new set of 1Ls. The preliminary breakdown of the incoming classes at each law school is as follows:

IU Maurer
• Number of 1L students: 177
• Median LSAT: 162
• Median GPA: 3.73
• Percentage who are female: 50
• Percentage who are minorities: 18

IU McKinney
• Number of students: 196 full time, 60 part-time
• Median LSAT: 153
• Median GPA: 3.45
• Percentage of women: 48
• Percentage of minorities: 18

Notre Dame
• Number of students: 190
• Median LSAT: 165
• Median GPA: 3.71
• Percentage who are female: 51
• Percentage who are minorities: 27 percent.

Not welcoming a new class this year is Valparaiso Law School. The northwest Indiana institution announced in November 2017 that it was suspending admissions and looking for a new way forward in light of declining applications and revenues. The law school has since started discussions with Middle Tennessee State University.

Last year, Valparaiso, still under sanction from the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, admitted an academically strong class but also an exceptionally small one at just 28 students.

An estimated 104 second- and third-year students are returning to Valparaiso this semester, according to interim dean David Cleveland. About 12 students have transferred out, most of them from the 2017 incoming class.

Neither Notre Dame nor IU Maurer had any transfer applications from current Valparaiso law students. However, IU McKinney received several and the Indianapolis school is expecting to enroll about six transfer students from Valparaiso, according to IU McKinney vice dean Michael Pitts.

In addition to fewer students, Valparaiso Law School has a leaner faculty roster. Most recently, two professors — David Herzig, who taught tax law, and Geneva Brown, who taught criminal law — left the school and returned to private practice. Their positions are not being filled at this time, Cleveland said.

The law school now lists 15 full-time faculty on its website. Five more, including former dean Andrea Lyon, are identified as senior research faculty.

As the university continues exploring strategic alternatives, Cleveland said the day-to-day operations and classes are continuing at the law school. The courses, professional services and clinics are all available.

Moreover, the law school is focused on the returning students. A continental breakfast was served to the students Monday as they started their fall classes.

“I’m very excited to have the students back and starting the academic year,” Cleveland said.

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