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ASU Law welcomes its most highly credentialed class

Third straight year of record-setting class of incoming JD students

photo of fall 2019 ASU Law class

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law incoming fall 2019 students participate in orientation on Monday at the Beus Center for Law and Society on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

August 19, 2019

Ranked a top nine public law school in the nation, No. 27 among all law schools according to U.S. News & World Report and No. 23 on the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University continues to be a premier choice for law school students around the country.

Once again, ASU Law welcomes the most highly credentialed class in its history. The 271 incoming fall 2019 JD students have a median LSAT score of 164 and a median GPA of 3.81, up from last year’s 163 and 3.76. The group hails from more than 130 undergraduate institutions, 38 states and eight countries. In addition to setting records for entering credentials, ASU Law also set its all-time record for JD applications at more than 3,700 (more than a 10% increase), while nationally, applications were down 1.5%.

“We recognize that LSAT and GPA, although useful predictors of law school success, are not perfect. A far stronger indicator is actual performance in law school,” said Andrew Jaynes, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid at ASU Law.

A total of 299 students will be taking first-year JD classes, 28 of whom are part of ASU Law’s Master of Legal Studies Honors (MLSH) program. The MLSH is an innovative program that allows students an opportunity to gain admission to the JD program through classroom performance.

At ASU Law, students have the opportunity to tailor their education from over 250 unique courses to match their interests.

“Today’s law student is looking for a unique law school experience and to learn from professors that have real-world experience,” ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester said. “Additionally, outcomes are an important criteria in their selection process. At ASU Law we don’t think providing a top-notch legal education is enough. We were No. 15 last year in employment, and with a dedicated career services department we continue to make employment after law school a priority.”

ASU Law also offers a number of programs and externships, more than any other law school, that are led and supported by faculty, staff and other experts who are passionately focused on student success. Rising second-year JD candidate Anthony Studnicka knows this firsthand as he spent this past summer working with the Arizona Coyotes.

“The experience has been nothing short of incredible. I believe what sets ASU Law apart is the abundance of resources set in place to help students succeed not only inside, but outside of the classroom,” Studnicka said. “From resume help to assistance with externship placement, ASU Law really wants their students to succeed in the real world, and if you as a student take the time to utilize the resources, success is possible for anyone.”

ASU Law is also proud to announce that nine new faculty join the team this year to continue to bridge theory and practice. In the past three years, ASU Law has added 22 faculty to its roster. Last year, Gregg Leslie, executive director of ASU Law’s First Amendment Clinic and professor of practice, began his inaugural year with ASU Law. A year later he now sees the impact a comprehensive law school can have on its students and the surrounding community.

“The clinic students have had several opportunities to apply their legal knowledge to help those with First Amendment-related issues,” Leslie said. “It’s been wonderful seeing the students gain experience while helping journalists and other speakers gain access to information or fight for their rights. We’ve been working with clients trying to obtain police records and sealed documents in a criminal prosecution over border crossings, defending against penalties for printing court records, and fighting libel suits. These opportunities provide vital hands-on experience that will help these students greatly as they move on to law firm jobs.”

ASU Law also continues to see diversity in its incoming student group. This year the law school welcomes a majority of female students in its JD class at 52%, up from 48% last year. Over 30% of the new incoming JD students identify as a racial or ethnic minority (up from 21% last year), and over 10% of students identify as LGBTQ+. Additionally, 63% of the class (up from 57% last year) comes from outside of Arizona, solidifying ASU Law’s position as a destination law school for students around the country and the world.

The law school also offers nearly 50 student organizations that students can participate in, many appealing to diverse personal and career interests. These organizations include the Women Law Students’ Association, the Federalist Society, Asian Pacific American Law Students, Diverse Students Coalition, Environmental Law Society, Black Law Students Association and many others.

For individuals who want to expand their knowledge of the U.S. legal system to enhance their career opportunities without becoming an attorney, ASU Law offers a one-year Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree. MLS program enrollment also increased with 32 MLS on-ground students and 143 MLS online students. The MLS graduate program continues to identify trending industry needs to provide students with new focus areas of legal study, such as the construction law and gaming and governance law programs, all without becoming a lawyer. The Master of Sports Law and Business program also welcomes 54 new students, including those who are part of the Veterans Sports Law and Business program. Additionally, the Masters of Law (LLM) program will welcome eight new admits.

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