Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa

Drake prides itself on having built a dual reputation for not only academic excellence but also providing hands-on professional training for its law students. One of the unique incentives Drake emphasizes in attracting potential students is that any enrolled law student may participate in a live client clinic in which elderly and low-income clients are provided with free legal assistance. Additionally, Drake currently stands as the only law school in the country where all first-year classes are conducted inside a live courtroom for a week. It functions as a laboratory in which students observe and then analyze multiple aspects of an actual trial, from jury selection to the final verdict, as well as participate in discussions with the lawyers, jurors, and judge involved in the proceedings. The Trial Practicum offers invaluable learning opportunities and perspective currently unavailable to students at other law schools. An average of 85% of Drake law students pass the bar exam on their first attempt, and more than 90% of students are employed within nine months of graduation.

The faculty is comprised of more than 30 law professors who have all practiced law and possess expertise in a variety of legal disciplines ranging from constitutional, environmental, and juvenile law to women's and civil rights. For the class entering the 2006-2007 school year, 139 of 1,119 applicants were enrolled with a median LSAT score of 155. The median GPA for members of this class was 3.40. Minorities made up about 14% of the incoming class, which was 57% male and 43% female. In early 2007, Drake University constructed a room in its law library to house the archives of the National Bar Association, the nation's oldest and largest national organization of African-American lawyers and judges.

National Jurist magazine has rated Drake University Law School a Top 10 private-school "Best Buy for Your Money." Total tuition for one year of law school at Drake in the 2007-2008 academic year is estimated at $41,275. Tuition runs $27,350, with the remaining costs being made up primarily of room and board, textbooks, travel, and miscellaneous personal expenses. The university awards more than $3 million in scholarships each year to about half of its student body, though more than 90% of students use government-funded loans to help finance their law education.

Notable alumni include Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus (1977), Mercy College of Health Sciences President Barbara Quijano Decker (2000), and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement in Washington, DC, Joan McKown (1983).

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