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KU Law targets smaller classes now and in future

Kansas City Business Journal
Paul Koepp
Monday, May 20, 2013

The University of Kansas School of Law will have a significantly smaller incoming class this fall — and in future years for the foreseeable future.

Faced with dwindling applications, law schools across the country either are slashing class sizes or admitting students with inferior credentials. Dean Stephen Mazza said KU set a target of 120 students this year and may end up a bit below that.

By contrast, there are 175 students graduating this year and about 140 each in the first-year and second-year classes.

Mazza said applications were down about 10 percent, far less than at many other schools.

“Over the past several years, prospective students have begun to question whether they should invest in a law degree,” he said, pointing to a legal job market that cooled in the recession and has been slow to heat back up.

Even if lawyer hiring sees a comeback, KU’s law school classes won’t necessarily return to their former sizes.

“We view this as an opportunity to right-size the law school,” Mazza said. “If and when applications do turn around, it’s also an opportunity for KU to be more selective.”

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms