UI College of Law First-Year Enrollment Increases Despite Nationwide Downturn

Thursday, August 29 2013


MOSCOW, Idaho – Contrary to national and regional trends, the University of Idaho College of Law (Idaho Law) is showing increases in enrollment, diversity and total applications.

“The excellence of our programs comes from the combined efforts of many people,” said Michael Satz, interim dean. “But the end result is that a law degree from the University of Idaho provides countless opportunities and a promising future. We are excited to welcome Idaho Law’s class of 2016 into our community.”

This year, most law schools experienced significant decreases in applications, Idaho Law, however, showed an 11.9 percent increase in applications, from 580 completed applications in 2012 to 658 in 2013.

According to the Law School Admission Council’s summary report, only three other schools nationwide saw increased applications of 10 percent or more in 2013. Nationally, applications were down 17.9 percent, and 20 percent in the Mountain West region.

Idaho Law enrolled 110 new first year students in 2013, a 7.8 percent increase from the 102 students who entered in 2012. Even with the increase in applications, the Idaho Law admissions committee carefully considered applications to only enroll students who would perform well academically and succeed in the practice of law, public service, business or the many other careers advanced by an accredited law degree.

New students hail from across Idaho and 18 different states, and are more ethnically diverse than the past five year’s classes. The class also has a higher percentage of women than in 2011 and 2012 and is comprised of accomplished professionals, including a dentist, veterinarian, business executive, crime scene investigator and artist. The final enrollment number will be official in October.

“Law school is a serious investment and even with scholarships offered by other schools, students selected Idaho Law because our tuition is the 13th most affordable in the country and our employment prospects are encouraging,” said Jeffrey A. Dodge, the associate dean who oversees admissions at Idaho Law. “We worked hard to promote the quality of our faculty and academic program during the last admissions cycle. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see increases in applications and enrolled students.”

Idaho Law’s high-quality education is demonstrated by a spring survey showing that higher employment numbers were reported by its 2012 graduates than in 2011. A greater number of those graduates also passed the bar exam and more gained employment in legal positions than in the previous year.

Last week, PreLaw magazine recognized Idaho Law’s Boise program and curriculum as one of the top 25 most innovative in American legal education. The same magazine ranked Idaho Law as providing the 15th best externship program in the country.

The recent issue of National Jurist magazine also recognized Idaho Law’s Boise program, this time as one of the top 15 experiential law programs in the country. These figures and recognition further demonstrate that a law degree from Idaho Law yields a high value return on investment.

More than 30 members of Idaho’s bench and bar were on hand last week to welcome new students as part of our Annual Professionalism Program.

Leaders of the program included Idaho Supreme Court Justices Daniel T. Eismann, Warren E. Jones, and Joel D. Horton, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson and current Idaho State Bar President Bill Wellman, among others.

Later in the day, future Idaho State Bar President Bob Wetherell delivered welcome remarks at the Idaho Law convocation. University of Idaho Interim President (and past law dean) Don Burnett founded this unique professionalism program and collaborated in presenting it again this year. The support of Idaho’s legal profession greatly enhances the value and impact of an Idaho Law degree.
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About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.

**Media Contact: Cynthia Hollenbeck, UI College of Law, (208) 885-6437, cynthiah@uidaho.edu