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ASU Law welcomes highest-credentialed, most diverse class in its history

New class represents students from more than 35 states, 11 countries

New Master of Sports Law and Business students socialize during an orientation session before the start of their first class.

New Master of Sports Law and Business students socialize during an orientation session before the start of their first class on Aug. 15. Photo by Tabbs Mosier/ASU Law

August 17, 2022

For the fifth year in a row, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is welcoming a record-breaking class of students.

The Juris Doctor (JD) class of 2025 comprises close to 290 students from more than 35 states and 11 countries. It is the highest credentialed to date, with a median LSAT score of 167 and a median GPA of 3.85.

ASU Law remains steadfast in its commitment to diversifying the legal field, and this year’s JD class represents a record number of diverse scholars. Students of color make up more than 35% of the class, while 20% are first-generation college students and 19% identify as LGBTQ.

"We are excited to welcome this incredibly talented cohort of students to ASU Law," says interim Dean Zachary Kramer. "We always strive to give our students an unparalleled legal education in an inclusive environment that is committed to student success. These students are going to thrive with us.”

Kiara Sims, an incoming first-year JD student from Wyoming, is a first-generation college student and the first in her family to attend law school. For her, ASU Law checked all the boxes, including being situated in downtown Phoenix, employment outcomes and the hospitality the college offered.

“Beyond family and existing connections, ASU Law held a lot of potential for me,” Sims said. “I quickly bonded with some of my cohort during Admitted Students Weekend, and I knew I would commit on the flight home due to the amazing experience.”

Attending a law school that has made strides toward improving diversity was important to her. Sims also had a desire to be a part of a community where she could help move the legal profession forward and inspire change. At ASU Law, she discovered the Advance Program.

ASU Law established the Advance Program last year, furthering ASU’s charter to foster and grow an inclusive community of legal leaders by providing students the tools needed to succeed and to expand access to the field of law.

“Representation in the law field is extremely important for both aspiring lawyers and clients,” Sims said. “Potential lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds can largely benefit from seeing their goals realized in someone who looks like them. Knowing that others have succeeded makes the hard work feel like it is going towards something. Simply knowing that being a lawyer is possible makes it feel more real and more attainable.”

Through the Advance Program, she has a community of peers, mentors and faculty to guide and advise her on navigating the first year. She will be connected to second-year students who participated in the Advance Program the year prior. These students will serve as her mentors and be her support system as she navigates the coursework that lies ahead.

“Programs like the Advance Program are important to our communities because it levels the playing field of law school,” Sims said. “Those from underrepresented backgrounds often lack the positive exposure to the legal profession and community that many other students may have thought to be ‘normal.’ Programs like this one promote community acceptance.”

In 2020, ASU Law established a growing prominence of female editors-in-chief for its law journals. Today, the college has the largest number of women ever in an incoming JD class, at 55%, and for the second time in the past four years, women make up a majority of incoming JD students.

Representation also goes beyond ASU Law’s JD program. 

Understanding the importance of the law and how it’s implemented in various capacities, the college has created graduate degree offerings for those who want to understand legal principles but do not intend to practice law, such as the recently established Master of Human Resources and Employment Law (MHREL)

“We have long been extremely successful producing practice-ready attorneys who are dedicated to community service,” said Joey Dormady, director of graduate programs. “Over the past several years, we have leveraged our considerable staff, faculty and curricular resources to create a learning environment that provides the myriad non-lawyer professionals in our programs the legal knowledge they need to both excel in their respective fields and become instruments of change for the society we all want to build.”

The MHREL, the Master of Laws, the Master of Legal Studies and the Master of Sports Law and Business programs collectively welcome more than 300 graduate students this fall, the largest class to date. The incoming graduate student class, collectively, represents 40 states and seven countries, with 68% women and 45% students of color.

“ASU Law is a proud standard-bearer of the university’s charter, which prioritizes inclusion, knowledge, innovation and success to make the world a better place today and for generations to come,” Dormady said. “We are beyond excited to welcome such a large, highly-credentialed and diverse incoming class of MLS, MHREL, MSLB and LLM students to the ASU Law family.”

The college has and continues to attract students who are committed to the field of law, want to expand their legal knowledge and have a vested interest in serving their communities. With highly ranked programs in the areas of legal writing, health care law, dispute resolution and environmental law, along with new specialties such as the Antitrust Law program, students can tailor their legal education to their interests from day one.

"ASU Law continues to set records for the strength and diversity of our incoming classes," Kramer says. "It is a testament to the college's efforts to create the finest educational experience possible for all of our students.”

Editor’s note: ASU Law’s figures are subject to change before the final American Bar Association reporting deadline in October. Students of color are students self-identifying their primary ethnicity as either Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Asian or American Indian/Alaskan Native.

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