Wednesday October 21, 2009

A Celebration of Success

When the School of Law holds its 35th anniversary gala Nov. 7, it will be able to celebrate a year of successes that include record job placement numbers, successful bar passage results and national acclaim.

The University of Dayton School of Law will have much to celebrate when it holds its 35th anniversary gala at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, in the Keller Hall atrium.

In the past year, the school has received much acclaim in national media for its programs and faculty, while its graduates achieved record job placement rates and tied for the best bar passage rate in Ohio.

"We have so much to be proud of at the School of Law," Dean Lisa Kloppenberg said. "We owe a debt of gratitude to the students, faculty, staff, University administration, donors and friends of the School of Law. Each is a stakeholder in our success."

Current students told The Princeton Review that they love the "emphasis on applicable skills" throughout the curriculum. One student said, "UDSL encourages students to learn practical lawyering skills by requiring students take either a clinic or a capstone."

"The externship program is world-class," a second-year student said. "It gives students real-world experience that is invaluable."

National Jurist and the National Law Journal have turned to Kloppenberg in the last year for her insights into curricular innovations such as accelerated degree programs and practical learning, two areas for which the School of Law is known.

"The movement to incorporate practical skills into legal education isn't new, but legal educators and researchers report that the floundering economy is increasing incentives for law schools to revamp their curricula to prepare students for the realities of the legal profession," National Law Journal wrote.

Kloppenberg told National Law Journal that curriculum reform has been a positive thing for the school and its students.

"The students are really beginning to see it pay off in their practical and marketable skills," Kloppenberg said. "It's not enough to learn the substance of the law. In the real world you have three or four areas of law intersecting and you're dealing with people and complications."

Kloppenberg said statistics for the class of 2008 — the first to complete the school's new curriculum, Lawyer as Problem Solver — showed job placement improved by 2 percent in a year when average placement figures fell at law schools nationwide. Nearly 94 percent of the class found employment within nine months of graduation. Law school officials call it "the highest employment rate in years."

Ninety-two percent of the University of Dayton law school's 2008 class who took the Ohio bar exam for the first time in July 2008 passed the test. That rate tied for second in the state. Among all test-takers, the University of Dayton tied The Ohio State University and the University of Akron for the top spot.

But University of Dayton students and the way they learn aren't the only things getting noticed. The professors are garnering attention, too.

"The professors are wonderful," a third-year student told The Princeton Review. "Choosing a favorite would be an impossible task, because it would be a 15-way tie."

TIME, Newsweek and The Associated Press are among the national media that have recently interviewed or quoted University of Dayton law experts.

The National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton will give Professor Dennis Greene a Humanitarian Award later this month for his community outreach efforts. Recognizing a need to help increase the number of members of minority groups who become lawyers, Greene organized a Law and Leadership Institute to give eighth-graders a taste of the legal profession and start a pipeline into it. National Jurist profiled Greene's efforts with the Law and Leadership Institute in its October issue. Greene also instituted a Street Law program for Dayton Early College Academy students. In Street Law, University of Dayton School of Law students teach practical law for credit or as part of pro bono programs.

The University of Dayton School of Law first opened in 1922 but closed in 1935 because of the Great Depression. It reopened in 1974.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of media relations, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.