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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Alumni Board Letter Re: US News Rankings

April 21, 2008

Dear fellow graduates of Ave Maria School of Law:

As you may recall, last year at this time the Ave Maria Alumni Association Board of Directors sent correspondence to you regarding the law school's 2007 rankings in the U.S. News & World Report. We have had a chance to analyze the law school's 2008 rankings, and to compare the 2008 rankings to last year's numbers.

-The law school's 2008 peer assessment score decreased from 1.4 to 1.3 of a possible 5.0, or -7%.
-The 2008 lawyer's/judge's assessment score remained 2.1 of a possible 5.0.
-The 2008 75th percentile GPA decreased from 3.02 to 2.93, or -2%.
-The 2008 25th percentile GPA decreased from 3.60 to 3.47, or -3%.
-The 2008 75th percentile LSAT decreased from 150 to 147 of a possible 180, or -5%.
-The 2008 25th percentile LSAT decreased from 158 to 155 of a possible 180, or -5%.
-The 2008 acceptance rate decreased from 52.8% to 51%, for a 2% improvement.
-The 2008 student/faculty ratio decreased from 16.1 to 15.7, for a 2% improvement.
-The 2008 nine-month employment rate decreased from 89.9% to 73.3%, or -17%.
-The 2008 bar passage rate in MI improved from 89.3% to 96.3%, for a 7% improvement.

In sum, the law school had marginal decreases in its peer assessment, GPAs, and LSAT scores, and marginal improvements in its acceptance rate, student/faculty ratio, and Michigan bar-passage rate. The law school sustained a substantial decrease, however, in its nine-month employment rate.

We have also analyzed the law school's 2008 rankings in comparison to other third and fourth tier schools ranked in the U.S. News & World Report.

-The law school's peer assessment was worse than all third-tier schools and better than or the same (better/same) as two fourth-tier schools, or 5%.
-The law school's lawyer's/judge's assessment was better/same as 7% of third-tier schools and better/same as 27 fourth-tier schools, or 64%.
-The law school's 75th percentile GPA was better/same as 7% of third-tier schools and better/same as 21 fourth-tier schools, or 50%.
-The law school's 25th percentile GPA was worse than all third-tier schools and better/same as 23 fourth-tier schools, or 55%.
-The law school's 75th percentile LSAT was worse than all third-tier schools and better/same as 26 fourth-tier schools, or 62%.
-The law school's 25th percentile LSAT was better/same as 5% of third-tier schools and better/same as 10 fourth-tier schools, or 24%.
-The law school's acceptance rate was better/same as 10% of third-tier schools and better/same as 19 fourth-tier schools, or 45%.
-The law school's student/faculty ratio was better/same as 33% of third-tier schools and better/same as 29 fourth-tier schools, or 69%.
-The law school's nine-month employment rate was worse than all third-tier schools and better/same as 3 fourth-tier schools, or 7%.
-The law school's home-state bar-passage rate was better/same as 100% of third-tier schools and better/same as 39 fourth-tier schools, or 93%.

In sum, it appears that these numbers indicate that the law school is somewhere in the middle of the fourth tier and will need substantial improvement in its peer assessment and nine-month graduation rate to move up from the fourth tier.

We also note the following points of interest: the law school's home-state bar passage rate was tied for tenth overall out of all ranked law schools. Also, the law school did not rank in the top ten of program specialties ranked by faculty who teach in the respective fields: clinical training, dispute resolution, environmental law, health law, intellectual property law, international law, legal writing, tax law, and trial advocacy.

We are certain that the members of the Alumni Association are anxious for the law school's ranking to improve. The Board of Directors has standing committees to address recruiting/admissions, career placement, and development. We welcome alumni involvement in these areas, which have the potential to positively affect the surveyed categories. Further, Assistant Dean Roboski has indicated that the law school has engaged in marketing/advertising campaigns in an effort to improve the peer assessment. We certainly recommend that members of the Alumni Association encourage the administration to continue and intensify such efforts.

We hope that you find this report informative and welcome your feedback, questions, comments, and concerns about this letter and anything else related to the interests of our alma mater.

Justin Berger '03
Peter Mansfield '03
Luke Reilander '05
On behalf of The Alumni Association Board of Directors

Cc: Assistant Dean Charles Roboski
Interim Dean Eugene Milhizer
Dean Bernard Dobranski