UD law school jumps 22 spots in rankings

The University of Dayton’s School of Law is located in Keller Hall. FILE
The University of Dayton’s School of Law is located in Keller Hall. FILE

The University of Dayton’s law school jumped 22 places in U.S. News & World Report rankings, something the dean attributes in part to a higher rate of passage on the bar exam that all attorneys must take and better-quality candidates who are applying.

“As we sort of become a more prominent national law school, and our credentials go up, we can attract really great future lawyers,” said Andrew Strauss, dean of the University of Dayton law school.

The law school is currently tied for 119th in the nation, and is tied for this year’s largest leap among U.S. law schools, according to U.S. News & World Report

The law school rankings matter because future lawyers use them to determine where they want to go to school.

The quality of candidates who are now applying to UD law school have improved and applications have gone up, Strauss said.

The law school saw 630 applicants in 2018 compared to 1,265 applicants in 2020 and applications for 2021 are up 32% over this time last year, he said. In the last five years, the scores on the LSAT, the law school entrance exam, went from a 148 median (placing UDSL in the bottom 36% of test takers) to 152 this year (placing UDSL in the top 52% of test takers), while median GPA went from 3.04 to 3.48.

UD also is doing well at getting their graduates jobs, the dean said. Job numbers for the class of 2019 show 83.3% of graduates got full-time, long-term, bar required or J.D. advantage jobs in the 10 months after graduation, according to the university.

Bar passage rate also improved, which the school says is a result of increased credit hours for several foundational courses tested on the bar, additional assessments for each class so students see where they need improvement, an additional two required academic support courses and a strengthened final semester bar course that uses letter grades, rather than pass/fail.

The law school had a bar passage rate of 83.8% in 2019. Just 61% of UD law graduates passed in 2016.

ExploreUD Law celebrates high scores after years of needed improvements

Strauss said many attorneys who practice in Dayton went to UD law school, though he didn’t have exact information on how many attorneys stay in Dayton after graduating law school.

“Bringing in people that are really, really strong, it’s going to improve the whole quality of the bar in Dayton,” Strauss said.

Michael J. Newman, a United States Southern District of Ohio judge in Dayton, said he was “very proud” of the law school for their jump in rankings. He is also an adjunct professor at UD.

He said the Leadership Honors Program at the law school, a tuition-free program for students who have an interest in leadership, is great for the school and Dayton.

“Those students in particular, are really, I think, the future leaders of the Dayton community and the legal community, and it’s been very significant,” Newman said.

In Other News