Valparaiso law school told by board to not admit first-year students in 2018
In light of “severe financial challenges” and dropping enrollment, the Valparaiso University board of directors has voted to suspend the admission of first-year students at the law school for the fall of 2018.
That likely means that Valparaiso University School of Law will close, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reported.
However Andrea Lyon, dean of the northwest Indiana law school, told the ABA Journal on Thursday that the school is not closing. According to a Nov. 16 press release (PDF) she sent, possibilities for the law school’s future include affiliating with another law school or relocating to an area where there is greater demand for legal education.
The board’s move comes a few days after the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar removed a 2016 public censure, which at the time stated that the law school was not in compliance with admissions standards. According to Valparaiso’s 509 Report (PDF) for 2015 , its median GPA was 2.93, and the median LSAT score was 145.
On its 509 Report (PDF) for 2016, the median GPA was 3.02, and the median LSAT score was 147. Earlier this year, Lyon told the ABA Journal that in the reliable plan submitted to the ABA, the school listed a goal of getting the median LSAT score at 150. According to her, this fall it averaged out to 151.
And with those improvements, the school’s 1L class shrank from 139 students to 28 students between 2015 and 2017.
“Based upon third-party projections, including the law school’s probable continuation of significantly decreased student enrollment, it has been determined that the law school is financially unsustainable for the foreseeable future and its continued operation could significantly impede the University’s ability to achieve its mission, vision and goals,” the Nov. 16 press release reads.
Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, released a statement Thursday about Rule 34 of the Rules of Procedure. It details the required steps to close law schools. He wrote that the section had seen reports that the law school would stop enrolling students and go through the process of closing,
“We look forward to the law school formally communicating that decision to our office in the very near future. From there, we will follow the requirements of Rule 34, working with the school and other regulatory bodies, as appropriate,” he wrote in the statement, which was posted on Legal Ed’s website.
Updated Nov. 17 to include statement from Barry Currier.