University of La Verne College of Law, Ontario, California
by Akbar Ali
While most U.S. law schools are experiencing small bumps in their numbers of applications received (registering in the single digits), La Verne has witnessed a massive surge of more than 200% in received applications.
While most U.S. law schools are experiencing small bumps in their numbers of applications received (registering in the single digits), La Verne has witnessed a massive surge of more than 200% in received applications. The number of students applying for admission over the last year has doubled, making it one of only two schools in the nation undergoing such intense demand.
The reason credited for the huge upswing in applicants is the fact that the school is located in a region of California where lawyers and other legal representatives are in very short supply. Since it attained accreditation in February of 2006, the University of La Verne College of Law has remained the only ABA-accredited school in inland Southern California, where the attorney-resident ratio is a staggering 840:1. Neighboring regions are comparatively well stocked with lawyers and legal professionals, with the attorney-resident ratios coming in at 217:1, 223:1, 232:1, and 341:1 for Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and Ventura counties. Because of its unique status, the law school serves more than 3.8 million local residents and an additional 2.2 million residents of the San Gabriel Valley and Eastern Los Angeles County.
Dean Donald J. Dunn declares, "We at the College of Law pride ourselves on offering our students a total educational experience, including an active Student Bar Association, moot court and mock trial activities, and clinical externship programs. While our curriculum is broad, we are small enough to take a personal interest in each student. Our student body is diverse, intelligent, and inquisitive. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and places, although the majority of students hail from California. Upon graduation, they enter private practice, government practice, the corporate sector, or engage in public interest work."
The law school also has a number of tenets it uses to guide its students throughout the course of their study, including:
Excellence in teaching is our highest priority.
Faculty research and scholarship inform teaching and advance the body of legal knowledge.
Motivating our students to reach and use their individual potential is one of our primary objectives as educators.
A well-rounded legal education includes practical applications of legal principles.
Instilling ethical values is an integral part of a legal education.
The development of written and oral communication skills is essential to a complete legal education.
Diversity enriches the educational experience by bringing a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints to the classroom.
Small classes maximize the potential for learning.
The legal profession is a noble one, in which action should be guided by principle.
The legal profession can effect social change, and our students should be sensitive to their potential roles in effecting that change.
A law school should actively serve the community.
A law school should encourage its students to participate in public service.
Alumni commitment is important to the success of an institution.
The school offers a traditional J.D. degree as well as two additional dual degrees: a Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) and a Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration (J.D./M.P.A.). A total of 88 semester units must be completed for the J.D. degree and can be pursued on either a full-time or a part-time basis. The full-time program takes three years to complete, while the part-time program takes four.
For the 2006-2007 academic year 256 students were enrolled at the University of La Verne College of Law—173 full-time and 83 part-time.
Full-time students are expected to take 14 to 15 units per semester in both the fall and spring semesters. Part-timers usually enroll in nine to 10 units per semester in addition to summer courses. The faculty also recommends that full-time first-year students refrain from working outside of school.
For the 2006-2007 academic year 256 students were enrolled at the University of La Verne College of Law—173 full-time and 83 part-time. Tuition for full-time students during the 2007-2008 year totals $31,590; for part-time students tuition runs to $23,690. Tuition rates are the same for residents and nonresidents. Living expenses in the Ontario area are estimated to be about $16,814 per year. University grants and scholarships are available for students. For 2006-2007, the median amount awarded to full-time students was $12,250 and to part-time students $9,200. More than 70% of full-time students and 83% of part-time students received grants.
Last year, 721 applications were received, 293 students were accepted, and 104 students matriculated. The median GPA for the 2006-2007 entering class was 3.05, and the median LSAT score was 148. The typical first-year section size is 60 students for a full-time course and 30 for the part-time program. The school recorded a bar exam passage rate of 27% in 2006 for its 33 students who took the exam for the first time. The state's overall passage rate is 62%.
The university reported that for its 2006 graduating class, 97% had secured a job within nine months of graduation, up from 85% the previous year; 75% entered private practice, 14% secured business positions, and 11% were recruited into public government positions.
Assistant Dean of Career Services and Alumni Relations Abbie Adams-Yaffe says, "Many more opportunities are available to our graduates than were available prior to the law school's receipt of provisional accreditation. Judicial clerkships, many government legal positions, and most large law firms require that their candidates have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school. This is the first time our students have had the opportunity to directly pursue many of these types of positions upon graduation."