Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Valparaiso University Law School Raises Admissions Criteria, and Welcomes 28 First Year Students for Fall 2017


http://www.theindianalawyer.com/articles/44565-valparaiso-law-incoming-class-significantly-smaller-but-posts-higher-lsats-and-gpas

The News: On August 18, 2017, the Indiana Lawyer published a Marilyn Odendahl piece entitled “Valparaiso Law incoming class significantly smaller but posts higher LSATs and GPAs.” Take a look at this segment:

“As classes begin again, Valparaiso University Law School is standing apart from other Indiana law schools as it welcomes an incoming 1L class of just 28 students, 73 percent smaller than the class that entered last year.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Indiana University Maurer School of Law are also matriculating fewer 1L students but the declines are not as dramatic as at Valparaiso. IU McKinney’s Class of 2020 is 4 percent smaller at 244 and IU Maurer’s is 8 percent smaller at 164.

Only Notre Dame Law School has posted an increase. The Catholic institution is reporting an incoming 1L class of 199 students, 6 percent bigger than the class that started in the fall of 2016.

Although class sizes at Valparaiso have been declining, this year’s drop is by far the steepest. Going back to 2013, the northwest Indiana law school matriculated a 1L class of 208. In the subsequent years, the size fell from 174 in 2014 to 130 in 2015 to 103 last year, according to the American Bar Association’s Standard 509 Reports.

The smaller class at Valparaiso has come with some of the highest LSAT scores and grade point averages of any recent 1L group. Students just starting their legal studies this semester have a median LSAT of 151 and a median GPA of 3.23.

Classes that entered Valparaiso between 2013 and 2016 all had median LSAT scores in the 140s. The lowest median LSAT score of 143 came from the 1Ls of 2013 and the highest of 147 was brought by the 1Ls of 2016. GPAs also ranged from 2.93 posted by the 2015 incoming class to 3.10 from the 2014 incoming class.

“I feel very optimistic,” Dean Andrea Lyon said. “I feel like our programming is working and we’re starting to have national rankings. I feel optimistic about the school.”

The incoming class is a bright spot for the northwest Indiana law school which has weathered some turbulent time recently. In 2016, Valparaiso downsized its faculty and was censured by the American Bar Association.

Valparaiso’s Class of 2020 is also diverse. Of the students, 39 percent are female and 25 percent are underrepresented minorities. In addition, 61 percent are first-generation college students and 21 percent are non-traditional students.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, I’m sure that these “educators” are thrilled about their tiny class of new lemmings. How many first year sections will Valparai$o Law feature this Fall? The fact remains that a median LSAT score of 151 does not come close to being impressive. That such an increase can be celebrated by an ABA-accredited diploma factory is further proof that the admi$$ion $tandard$ are pathetically low.

Diversity will not help these students land decent legal jobs. The same goes for non-traditional pupils. Age discrimination is rampant in this field. Law firms want to hire young people, i.e. those around age 25. In this field, a 30 year old applicant is considered damaged goods.

http://abovethelaw.com/2017/08/law-school-welcomes-its-tiniest-class-ever/

Other Coverage: On August 25, 2017, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry labeled “Law Schools Welcomes Its Tiniest Class Ever.” Here is the full text of that article:

“Many law schools have “voluntarily” reduced their class sizes since prospective law students discovered that they didn’t want to be in debt and unable to find a job that could service their loans, but one school recently decided to reduce its class size in the hopes of welcoming brighter students — perhaps in an effort to increase the number of graduates who are able the pass the bar exam.

Which school was it, and by how much has its class size been reduced? Here’s our stat of the week, courtesy of the Indiana Lawyer:

As classes begin again, Valparaiso University Law School is standing apart from other Indiana law school as it welcomes an incoming 1L class of just 28 students, 73 percent smaller than the class that entered last year. … 

The smaller class at Valparaiso has come with some of the highest LSAT scores and grade point averages of any recent 1L group. Students just starting their legal studies this semester have a median LSAT of 151 and a median GPA of 3.23.

Classes that entered Valparaiso between 2013 and 2016 all had median LSAT scores in the 140s. The lowest median LSAT score of 143 came from the 1Ls of 2013 and the highest of 147 was brought by the 1Ls of 2016. GPAs also ranged from 2.93 posted by the 2015 incoming class to 3.10 from the 2014 incoming class.

Congratulations to Valpo Law on raising its expectations.” [Emphasis mine]

Usually, Zaretsky does a decent job of reporting on law school updates. Yet, she failed to mention that this commode was censured by the American Bar Association, in 2016. That might be relevant as to why this school “voluntarily” reduced its first year class size.

Conclusion: As you can see, Valparai$o Univer$iTTTTy Law $chool is listed in the FOURTH TIER of ratings, courtesy of US “News” & World Report. In their parlance, they are included in the section labeled “Rank Not Published.” Yet, full-time tuition and fees at this cesspit amount to $41,522 – for the 2017-2018 academic year. That is one hell of a cost for weak employment prospects. The school raised admi$$ion$ criteria – and the best they could do was get 28 first year students this Fall. Once the ABA censure blows over, you can count on Valpo returning to admitting more marks with 143 LSAT scores.

22 comments:

  1. As opposed to admitting 100 students, most of whom are below qualifications, just to make bank, Valpo's decision here to admit just these 28 was ethical, even courageous. Would that more schools follow Valpo's lead!

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    1. Now, if Valpo's scamsters-in-chief really want to win the ethical prize, they'll shut their toilet down.

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  2. Which is actually more believable: Valparaiso Law raised their standards, or people have figured out that a law degree from Valpo is essentially worthless?

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    1. Seems like Old Ruster and 8:52 AM are both right here...too little courageousness, way too late.

      If Valpo had been ahead of the curve, they could touted their moral high ground and shamed other schools into following suit. No hiding it now, especially after the NY Times article, censure, etc.

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  3. You know that sinking feeling you get when you walk into a restaurant at 6:30 p.m. and see that there are no other customers in the place? That must be what it feels like to show up for your first year of law school and learn that you only have 27 classmates. Except that law school is going to cost you a hell of a lot more than $75 and an hour and half of your time for a bad meal.

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    1. Look on the bright side: they won't need hire a huge venue for their class reunion. (If the toilet lasts long enough for them to graduate.) They may even be able to hold it in a telephone booth in Valparaiso, Indiana.

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  4. Congratulations? For what? Raising the median score to the 50th percentile? By shrinking the class to the vanishing point?

    Zaretsky seems to be shilling for Valpo. As Nando pointed out, Valpo acted only because the ABA censured it for its foul stench. Far from raising standards, Valpo is struggling desperately to stay in business for another year.

    Thirty percent of the class at Valpo is unemployed, and 20% more is in part-time, short-term, or non-professional employment. Tuition for that appalling outcome nonetheless exceeds $40k per year.

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  5. I have speculated that Valpo may be the next law skule to close:

    http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.ca/2017/08/will-valparaiso-be-next-to-close.html

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    1. Well, it is certainly circling the drain. There is no way they can stay open with such a small entering class, if those numbers continue. I imagine they are hoping, against the odds, that being more selective will solve the problems with their reputation, which will lead to increased enrollment, which in turn will improve the finances.

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  6. Well, at least a few faculty pigs will have to get put out on their A$$es with enrollment this low.

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  7. I think we can forgive a citizen journalist for missing an ABA censure in the wake of a 28-person 1L class..... that's almost Indiana Tech territory.

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  8. If you are one of the 28, run! It's one thing to board the Titanic in Southampton. It's quite another to board it after it hit the ice berg and started to sink. Run, and run as if your life depends on running, which it does.

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    1. People there who scored 151 or better will be flying out of the toilet like bats out of hell. They should be able to get into fifth-tier, and possibly even fourth-tier, institutions, perhaps even with a discount. Students in traditional Valponian territory, namely the low 140s, would be stuck there or at another bottom-end toilet of the Cooley variety—but Valpo has been forced to stop accepting so many of those.

      How many students will remain after the first year? We can expect nobody to transfer into Valpo. I'm going to guess that 10 will leave, and that the class will therefore shrink to 18.

      A few years ago, a former professor from now-defunct Charlotte reported that Charlotte had added a bunch of supposedly experience-based courses to its curriculum, precisely to make it difficult for students to transfer to other schools. Maybe Valpo will do the same thing. On the other hand, with scarcely enough first-year students for a game of softball, it can't afford anything but the strict minimum, if that.

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  9. http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2017/08/will-valparaiso-be-next-to-close.html

    On August 20, 2017, Old Guy posted an OTLSS entry that was entitled “Will Valparaiso be the next to close?” Here is the full text below:

    “Valparaiso, which unaccountably prefers the ugly name Valpo, will have only 28 students in this year's entering class. As recently as four years ago, it had 208.

    The good news, from the Valponian scamsters' perspective, is that the quality of the class has gone up significantly: "Students just starting their legal studies this semester have a median LSAT of 151 and a median GPA of 3.23." Last year's median score was 147, so Valpo has risen from the 33d percentile to the 48th. It's still drawing the bulk of its class from the bottom half of people taking the LSAT.

    Scam-dean Andrea Lyon "feel[s] optimistic about the school", which appears to have changed its approach to admissions in response to last year's censure from the ABA. She could hardly be expected to say anything else. But the university's administration cannot feel optimistic about a micro-sized toilet school that, after the closure of Indiana Tech, has earned a reputation as the biggest laughing-stock in the region.

    With only 28 new students, the law school must be draining money from the university, even while it tarnishes the university's image. If the new students all paid full fare (primarily with federally guaranteed student loans), they would bring in scarcely a million dollars. But Valpo must have had to slash its fancy tuition in order to attract students of substantially higher (albeit still dreadful) quality. Who with a score above 150 would pay full price at risible sixth-tier Valpo, slapped last year with a censure and exposed inThe New York Times for its graduates' failure to find proper jobs, when any number of fifth-tier institutions and even some fourth-tier institutions would offer a discount?

    Valpo, therefore, is beginning to look like Indiana Tech redux. It cannot have taken in much money from the entering class, nor is it likely to see meaningful growth in the coming years. The parent university will not want to go on subsidizing the failed law school forever. I estimate that Valpo will announce its closure within a year or two.

    But Valpo is only one toilet among many. To see just how far legal "education" in the US has fallen, consider a hypothetical requirement that at least three-quarters of the class at each ABA-accredited law school score in the top half on the LSAT. Many people might deem that a modest requirement for access to an influential profession that claims to uphold a standard of excellence. It would entail a minimum LSAT score of 152 at the 25th percentile for each school's entering class. How many schools today fall short of that level? Wait for it: 107. That's the majority of ABA-accredited law schools.

    In less than a year we have seen three law schools close. Valpo may well be next, although Appalachian, Florida Coastal, Arizona Summit, and various others seem to be competing for that honor. It will be interesting to see how far the wave of closures progresses. I don't think that it will swallow up 107 law schools, although that would be a good start.”

    Personally, I don’t care to speculate about which school may be the next to close its doors – or whether any other ABA diploma mills will take that route. However, this small entering class size means that there is not a lot of money coming into the place, from tuition. Perhaps, the “professors” will donate to the school’s endowment.

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    1. Indeed, there's not much point in speculating on the next school to close its doors. Several candidates show promise.

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  10. I was just looking at a list of TV shows that got cancelled. And I realized most of them were shit. I got to about 40 of them and I realized only 1 or 2 (at most) were any decent. The same with law schools. Most of them are crap. And if a few close it's a good thing.

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  11. Indiana only needs two law skools. Notre Dame and IU.

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    1. Indiana doesn't need a single goddamn law school.

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  12. Back on June 17, 2016, the New York Times published an excellent article from Noam Schieber, under the headline “An Expensive Law Degree, and No Place to Use It.” Look at this opening:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/business/dealbook/an-expensive-law-degree-and-no-place-to-use-it.html

    “By most measures, John Acosta is a law school success story. He graduated from Valparaiso University Law School — a well-established regional school here in northwestern Indiana — in the top third of his class this past December, a semester ahead of schedule. He passed the bar exam on his first try in February.

    Mr. Acosta, 39, is also a scrupulous networker who persuaded a former longtime prosecutor to join him in starting a defense and family law firm. A police officer for 11 years in Georgia, Mr. Acosta has a rare ability to get inside the head of a cop that should be of more than passing interest to would-be clients.

    “I think John’s going to do fine,” said Andrew Lucas, a partner at the firm where Mr. Acosta rents office space. “He’s got other life skills that are attractive to people running into problems.”

    Yet in financial terms, there is almost no way for Mr. Acosta to climb out of the crater he dug for himself in law school, when he borrowed over $200,000. The government will eventually forgive the loan — in 20 years — if he’s unable to repay it, as is likely on his small-town lawyer’s salary. But the Internal Revenue Service will probably treat the forgiven amount as income, leaving him what could easily be a $70,000 tax bill on the eve of retirement, and possibly much higher.

    Mr. Acosta is just one of tens of thousands of recent law school graduates caught up in a broad transformation of the legal profession. While demand for other white-collar jobs has grown substantially since the start of the recession, law firms and corporations are finding they can make do with far fewer in-house lawyers than before, squeezing those just starting their careers.”

    This man has several strikes against him, i.e. non-traditional student at an expensive fourth tier diploma mill, seeking to enter a glutted “profession.” Do you see where he messed up, people? Law schools exist to benefit the “professors,” and not the students. However, low-ranked ABA-accredited in$titution$ such as Valparai$o Univer$iTTTTy are simply taking advantage of naïve fools who do not understand the implications of their decision. What a great use of taxpayer funds, huh? This amounts to grossly overpaying "educators" to teach archaic legal concepts to large numbers of people who will never practice law.

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  13. Law skool is such a big gamble I don't why so many people even take it.

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    1. Much of the phenomenon is due to the fact law school requires no particular undergraduate credentials. None. So your garden-variety political science major with nowhere to turn has someplace to default to when he graduates college and avoid he job market for a few more years. That's really it in a nutshell. Some kids really want to practice law, may be going to work for their dad, etc. But most default into the non-elite law schools hoping they can make magic happen because all they know of the law is what they saw on tv or in the movies.

      Sad!

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  14. http://www.nwitimes.com/news/education/vu-law-school-to-offer-faculty-buyouts/article_baf82ec5-8398-56ea-b05c-4d4c03321ae8.html

    Back on February 26, 2016, the Times of Northwest Indiana featured a Rob Earnshaw piece entitled “VU Law School to offer faculty buyouts.” Read this opening:

    "Facing a sharp decline in student applications and enrollment at its law school, Valparaiso University is offering tenured faculty and those with multi-year contracts a buyout.

    University spokeswoman Nicole Niemi said Friday that law schools in today's post-recession era are facing a sharp decline in student applications and enrollment, and are confronted with a diverse mix of financial challenges due to these issues.

    She said VU is no exception.

    "To put the law school and our students in the best position to succeed, we are taking steps to meet the challenges facing legal education," she said.

    Niemi said the purpose of the buyouts is to align the size of the faculty with the expected future law school enrollment.

    "Valparaiso University and its board are fully committed to the future of the Law School and are taking this step to ensure its future success," she said.

    Dean of the Law School Andrea Lyon said there are 36 full-time faculty members and the number of buyouts to be offered is still undetermined. Once there is a target number, officials hope the buyout works and the school can be right-sized.

    Lyon said if they don't reach the target number "we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it."

    Lyon said enrollment in the Law School has been going down and the school's been more selective from a much smaller pool of applicants. She also said legal education has taken quite a hit and people taking the LSAT nationwide has gone down 50 percent from 2009 to now."

    As you can see, the fourth tier cesspit is still thriving. I suppose the school only needs one section for its first year class now.

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