First Monday - May 6, 2013
In this issue:
- College of Law Applications Increase, Bucking a National Trend
- Finalists Announced for Interim Dean Position
- Faculty Adopts Professionalism Requirement
Fall admission applications to the College of Law are up nearly 9 percent over 2012 – defying a steep decline in new student applications at most peer institutions nationwide.
“With so many law schools struggling during this year’s national decline in admissions, I could not be more thrilled that prospective students are hearing about and applying to our college,” says Carole Wells, the College’s interim director of admissions.
As of May 1, 2013, applications to our College — the only American Bar Association-accredited law school in Idaho — totaled 625, up from 574 this time last year. Of its 199 ABA-accredited peers, the College is one of only eight reporting any 2013 increase in admissions applications.
Nationally, law schools are reporting average application declines of 20 percent. Regionally, the average is almost 21 percent, according to figures in the latest Law School Admissions Council volume report. Moreover, 168 of the nation’s accredited law schools are coping with greater declines in applications than they experienced in previous years.
Jeff Dodge, Associate Dean for Students and Administration, attributes Idaho’s increase to a combination of value and cost-effectiveness. “Our comparatively affordable tuition, our record of transparency in providing post-graduation employment information, and the strong data on employability among our graduates are vitally important to students seeking to balance their debt load with realistic career prospects. A law degree from our college is a great return on investment, which is very attractive to applicants.”
A spring survey conducted by the College of Law showed higher employment among its 2012 alumni, even when compared to the previous graduating class. Additionally, a greater number of those graduating in 2012 passed the bar exam; and more of them were employed in legal positions than were 2011 graduates.
“I am proud of the collective efforts of faculty and staff to promote our complementary programs in Moscow and Boise,” said Don Burnett, dean of the College, who’s becoming the University of Idaho’s interim president in June. “An accreditation-validated law degree from the University of Idaho opens doors of opportunity, in Idaho and elsewhere, ranging from law practice to business and entrepreneurship, the judiciary, teaching and administration in multiple educational settings, social services, public and nonprofit entity management, and civic leadership.”
As reported in April’s “First Monday,” Dean Burnett has been appointed interim president of the University of Idaho and will formally assume that office on June 1. A search is underway for an interim dean of the College of Law. A search committee appointed by University Provost Doug Baker has identified finalists for the interim law dean position. Alphabetically, they are professor Elizabeth Barker Brandt, professor John A. (Jack) Miller, attorney Briane Nelson (Nels) Mitchell of Boise, and attorney Marcus William (Mark) Nye of Pocatello. View further information about each finalist.
The Provost’s office and the search committee encourage input on the finalists from “First Monday” subscribers as well as other friends of the College of Law and members of the public. Information on how to participate in the process and provide that input can be found at Interim Dean Search College of Law website. Input should be submitted by Friday, May 11, 2013.
Under a plan adopted by the law faculty this spring, students entering the College in the fall of 2014 and thereafter will be required to complete a professionalism education program as part of the J.D. curriculum. The plan, developed by a committee chaired by Professor Ben Beard, provides for a multi-year series of educational programs addressing cultural competencies; civility and appropriate professional behaviors before courts, tribunals, and in other professional settings; law practice management; bias and thought processes; and other topics related to the development of a student’s professional conduct and identity. These learning opportunities will enhance our graduates' readiness for future success in their careers.
This educational series will be in addition to the required Professional Responsibility course and the “first day of law school” orientation program in which students participate in professionalism and ethics workshops featuring small-group discussions with selected members of the bench and bar. Further information about the professionalism requirement is available from Professor Beard.