Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
JayhawkLaw
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:26 am

Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby JayhawkLaw » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:25 pm

Hello everyone.

I'm Steven Freedman, the Assistant Dean of Admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law. Twice previously I've hosted a forum here to answer questions about KU Law. I enjoyed responding a wide variety of questions - what we have to offer, how the application process works, plus a whole host of other KU Law related topics. Last year I did not host the thread, but I think I am going to restart it since I've heard from many people that the thread was helpful for them when making their decision to choose a law school. Not only that, but I survey our incoming class every year and Top Law Schools always comes up as a top resource for students thinking about law school.

So I'm looking forward to hearing from everyone (but see below) and answering questions about KU Law. We have a lot of great programs here and offer a high quality program of legal education. We're also a great value, something we're not shy about highlighting. So if you're looking for more information about one of the best law schools in the Midwest, please drop by and chat.

Regards,

Steve F.

p.s. Right up front I should announce that this is a forum to discuss KU Law. Other issues about legal education are certainly valid and interesting topics for discussion, but not on this thread. Thanks to the great editors here, comments that are off-topic, rude, argumentative or otherwise not helpful to the conversation will be removed.

p.p.s. I travel a bit for work, which means sometimes I can fall behind on responding to questions. I'll do my best to keep up, but please be patient if I don't respond right away.

User avatar
Ron Don Volante
Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby Ron Don Volante » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:53 pm

JayhawkLaw wrote:Hello everyone.

I'm Steven Freedman, the Assistant Dean of Admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law. Twice previously I've hosted a forum here to answer questions about KU Law. I enjoyed responding a wide variety of questions - what we have to offer, how the application process works, plus a whole host of other KU Law related topics. Last year I did not host the thread, but I think I am going to restart it since I've heard from many people that the thread was helpful for them when making their decision to choose a law school. Not only that, but I survey our incoming class every year and Top Law Schools always comes up as a top resource for students thinking about law school.

So I'm looking forward to hearing from everyone (but see below) and answering questions about KU Law. We have a lot of great programs here and offer a high quality program of legal education. We're also a great value, something we're not shy about highlighting. So if you're looking for more information about one of the best law schools in the Midwest, please drop by and chat.

Regards,

Steve F.

p.s. Right up front I should announce that this is a forum to discuss KU Law. Other issues about legal education are certainly valid and interesting topics for discussion, but not on this thread. Thanks to the great editors here, comments that are off-topic, rude, argumentative or otherwise not helpful to the conversation will be removed.

p.p.s. I travel a bit for work, which means sometimes I can fall behind on responding to questions. I'll do my best to keep up, but please be patient if I don't respond right away.

Hi there,

Law School Transparency shows that of your school's graduates, by the most recent numbers you have posted, 40 percent are unable to find long-term work that requires bar passage nine months after graduation. Additionally, your resident students, by your school's cost of attendance estimates and tuition, assuming they have no scholarship, graduate with about $140K in debt. Out-of-state student graduate with almost $200K. By your 509, most students appear to receive a scholarship, but the 75th percentile grant is only $11K per year. On top of that, almost a third of your students lose their scholarships because of grade stipulations. So, in summary -- again, by the numbers your school provides -- the vast majority of students are graduating with, at minimum, six figures in debt; less than 10 percent of students will end up in a large firm or with a federal clerkship, 40 percent of your students will never become an actual attorney, and the 50 percent left will, if they're lucky, have jobs that pay less than half of their graduating debt load: objectively, a pretty bad place to be.

So you're coming here to answer questions about "one of the best law schools in the Midwest"? My first question: how do you possibly keep a straight face when telling prospective students that UK is "one of the best law schools in the Midwest"?

Thanks for doing this!
-ron don

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby AReasonableMan » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:58 pm

Ron Don Volante wrote:
JayhawkLaw wrote:Hello everyone.

I'm Steven Freedman, the Assistant Dean of Admissions at the University of Kansas School of Law. Twice previously I've hosted a forum here to answer questions about KU Law. I enjoyed responding a wide variety of questions - what we have to offer, how the application process works, plus a whole host of other KU Law related topics. Last year I did not host the thread, but I think I am going to restart it since I've heard from many people that the thread was helpful for them when making their decision to choose a law school. Not only that, but I survey our incoming class every year and Top Law Schools always comes up as a top resource for students thinking about law school.

So I'm looking forward to hearing from everyone (but see below) and answering questions about KU Law. We have a lot of great programs here and offer a high quality program of legal education. We're also a great value, something we're not shy about highlighting. So if you're looking for more information about one of the best law schools in the Midwest, please drop by and chat.

Regards,

Steve F.

p.s. Right up front I should announce that this is a forum to discuss KU Law. Other issues about legal education are certainly valid and interesting topics for discussion, but not on this thread. Thanks to the great editors here, comments that are off-topic, rude, argumentative or otherwise not helpful to the conversation will be removed.

p.p.s. I travel a bit for work, which means sometimes I can fall behind on responding to questions. I'll do my best to keep up, but please be patient if I don't respond right away.

Hi there,

Law School Transparency shows that of your school's graduates, by the most recent numbers you have posted, 40 percent are unable to find long-term work that requires bar passage nine months after graduation. Additionally, your resident students, by your school's cost of attendance estimates and tuition, assuming they have no scholarship, graduate with about $140K in debt. Out-of-state student graduate with almost $200K. By your 509, most students appear to receive a scholarship, but the 75th percentile grant is only $11K per year. On top of that, almost a third of your students lose their scholarships because of grade stipulations. So, in summary -- again, by the numbers your school provides -- the vast majority of students are graduating with, at minimum, six figures in debt; less than 10 percent of students will end up in a large firm or with a federal clerkship, 40 percent of your students will never become an actual attorney, and the 50 percent left will, if they're lucky, have jobs that pay less than half of their graduating debt load: objectively, a pretty bad place to be.

So you're coming here to answer questions about "one of the best law schools in the Midwest"? My first question, how do you possibly keep a straight face when telling prospective students that UK is "one of the best law schools in the Midwest"?

Thanks for doing this!
-ron don volante

He had to know this was coming. It's a pretty fair response in that it's school specific and Mr. Freedman mentioned great value. Employment is at least part of the return on the investment, and value implies you get a lot relative to it's cost. I'd be curious about how those employment scores are in comparison to other schools with similar COA schools, keeping in mind the COL and average salary of those employed in KS is less than the coasts. Value directly makes this the primary issue in analyzing the validity of the statement.

User avatar
Sheriff
Posts: 265
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:06 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby Sheriff » Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:54 pm

Well, that didn't last long.

mps59
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby mps59 » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:07 pm

Just here to watch the show...

User avatar
Ron Don Volante
Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby Ron Don Volante » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:18 pm

Kindly cease posting off-topic and otherwise not helpful comments, please.

User avatar
whitespider
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:37 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby whitespider » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:17 am

I'm curious if you have any thoughts about the censure that was issued against Kansas Law last year by the ABA...

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf


Specifically...

"The Law School did not disclose that an application was pending for a new degree before the Kansas Board of Regents. That information was not provided even after the Consultant’s Office advised the Law School that the Committee would need to know whether the new program required changes to the Kansas degree. On three separate occasions after applying for approval of the new degree from the Kansas Board of Regents, the Law School repeated its position to the Consultant’s Office that the new program was simply a new concentration in the existing LL.M. program, without disclosing its pending application for approval of the degree. The Law School also did not reveal that two students had been admitted to the Program and were currently enrolled in the Elder Law LL.M. Program, despite the fact that the students did not satisfy the admission requirements, had not applied to that program, and presumably were not expecting to receive that degree"

Do you believe the ABA painted a fair picture of how things happened, or do you think that's a misrepresentation of Kansas Law's behavior?

AReasonableMan
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby AReasonableMan » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:42 am

What started off as a simple marketing campaign will now become a Friday meeting on damage control. But when the average player on the Kansas basketball team has a better chance at being drafted into the NBA than the average JD has of getting a job with an annual pre-tax salary job of at least 2/3 of their debt burden, you know that Kansas has an awesome basketball team.

User avatar
JerryLundegard
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby JerryLundegard » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:21 am

Shots fired

Mod edit: Please stay on-topic or be quiet.

User avatar
KMart
Posts: 3628
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:25 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby KMart » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:37 pm

Sheriff wrote:Well, that didn't last long.

Reading the opening post I thought it was coming, but as the first question it was pretty surprising. He had to know it was coming/it's a fair question.

User avatar
20160810
Posts: 19648
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby 20160810 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:06 pm

In-state tuition isn't horrible at least, and you have to imagine the only people for whom Kansas makes sense is people from Kansas anyway because I highly doubt a single firm there is hiring someone without ties to the area.

User avatar
baal hadad
Posts: 3168
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:57 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby baal hadad » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:09 pm

OP pls

bl1nds1ght
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:33 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby bl1nds1ght » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:34 pm

To come to the aid of the Dean for just a second, the school has shed roughly 60 incoming 1Ls since 2010 (from 165 to 106), which has helped lower its gross un(der)employment from 32.1% for c/o 2011 to 22.0% for c/o 2013. Plus, they're already one of the cheapest options out there.

I definitely would like to see the Dean answer some tough questions, but it's not like he can do much to change their biglaw hiring rate or the rate at which the community can feasibly accept new JDs into jobs in Kansas. It's not like we're dealing with a GWU, Emory, or Fordham here.

User avatar
Mack.Hambleton
Posts: 5417
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:33 pm

*crickets*

Mod edit: Please stay on-topic or be quiet.

User avatar
baal hadad
Posts: 3168
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:57 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby baal hadad » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:46 pm

bl1nds1ght wrote:To come to the aid of the Dean for just a second, the school has shed roughly 60 incoming 1Ls since 2010 (from 165 to 106), which has helped lower its gross un(der)employment from 32.1% for c/o 2011 to 22.0% for c/o 2013. Plus, they're already one of the cheapest options out there.

I definitely would like to see the Dean answer some tough questions, but it's not like he can do much to change their biglaw hiring rate or the rate at which the community can feasibly accept new JDs into jobs in Kansas. It's not like we're dealing with a GWU, Emory, or Fordham here.

Did the cut classes voluntarily, or was it more that he couldn't convince 60 ish people to enroll

User avatar
KMart
Posts: 3628
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:25 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby KMart » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:55 pm

baal hadad wrote:Did the cut classes voluntarily, or was it more that he couldn't convince 60 ish people to enroll

So the theory begins as to why he had the thread again this year: to try and get a few more admits again.

Mod edit: Please stay on-topic or be quiet.

User avatar
WichitaShocker
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:21 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby WichitaShocker » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:57 pm

baal hadad wrote:
bl1nds1ght wrote:To come to the aid of the Dean for just a second, the school has shed roughly 60 incoming 1Ls since 2010 (from 165 to 106), which has helped lower its gross un(der)employment from 32.1% for c/o 2011 to 22.0% for c/o 2013. Plus, they're already one of the cheapest options out there.

I definitely would like to see the Dean answer some tough questions, but it's not like he can do much to change their biglaw hiring rate or the rate at which the community can feasibly accept new JDs into jobs in Kansas. It's not like we're dealing with a GWU, Emory, or Fordham here.

Did the cut classes voluntarily, or was it more that he couldn't convince 60 ish people to enroll


Being from Kansas I can say for sure that this is not the case. There are plenty of people who want to go to KU Law. It is not a terrible option if you have instate, get a decent scholarship, and want to work in Kansas.
Last edited by WichitaShocker on Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
baal hadad
Posts: 3168
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:57 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby baal hadad » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:09 pm

WichitaShocker wrote:
baal hadad wrote:
bl1nds1ght wrote:To come to the aid of the Dean for just a second, the school has shed roughly 60 incoming 1Ls since 2010 (from 165 to 106), which has helped lower its gross un(der)employment from 32.1% for c/o 2011 to 22.0% for c/o 2013. Plus, they're already one of the cheapest options out there.

I definitely would like to see the Dean answer some tough questions, but it's not like he can do much to change their biglaw hiring rate or the rate at which the community can feasibly accept new JDs into jobs in Kansas. It's not like we're dealing with a GWU, Emory, or Fordham here.

Did the cut classes voluntarily, or was it more that he couldn't convince 60 ish people to enroll


Being from Kansas I can say for sure that this is not the case. There are plenty of people who want to go to KU Law. I would not go to KU, but it is not a terrible option if you have instate, get a decent scholarship, and want to work in Kansas.

Are u the co-dean?

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 11953
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby Rigo » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:13 pm

bl1nds1ght wrote:To come to the aid of the Dean for just a second, the school has shed roughly 60 incoming 1Ls since 2010 (from 165 to 106)

Minor point of correction: The 1L class this past fall was 125.
They did raise their median from 156 last year to 158 this year, so props to them for raising standards at least.

User avatar
WichitaShocker
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:21 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby WichitaShocker » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:17 pm

baal hadad wrote:
WichitaShocker wrote:
baal hadad wrote:
bl1nds1ght wrote:To come to the aid of the Dean for just a second, the school has shed roughly 60 incoming 1Ls since 2010 (from 165 to 106), which has helped lower its gross un(der)employment from 32.1% for c/o 2011 to 22.0% for c/o 2013. Plus, they're already one of the cheapest options out there.

I definitely would like to see the Dean answer some tough questions, but it's not like he can do much to change their biglaw hiring rate or the rate at which the community can feasibly accept new JDs into jobs in Kansas. It's not like we're dealing with a GWU, Emory, or Fordham here.

Did the cut classes voluntarily, or was it more that he couldn't convince 60 ish people to enroll


Being from Kansas I can say for sure that this is not the case. There are plenty of people who want to go to KU Law. I would not go to KU, but it is not a terrible option if you have instate, get a decent scholarship, and want to work in Kansas.

Are u the co-dean?


If I am, I am a shitty one. I just said the only way the school is worth attending is with a good scholarship, in state, and a desire to stay in Kansas.
Last edited by WichitaShocker on Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JayhawkLaw
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:26 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby JayhawkLaw » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:10 pm

I'll address the issues raised by Ron Don, they are fair questions so far as they pertain to KU Law. But before I do, I'd just like to say that it's obvious there is a group of folks out there with an anti-law school agenda. Not sure if Ron Don is part of that group, but for those that have that agenda, I'd invite them to visit elsewhere. This is a forum for KU Law, not the "great debate" over whether people should go to law school.

This will be my first and last comment on Law School Transparency, the general validity of employment statistics, or any number of similar topics. I’ll discuss it below here, and then that’s it. If you disagree, disagree somewhere else. I will ask the moderator to delete any follow-up questions about what numbers we use, whether solo practitioners should be included in employment numbers, whether LST uses the right methodology, etc. Similarly, this is not a forum to give life advice to people asking questions. You may offer that advice, just do it somewhere else.

There are many, many other forums where these topics are discussed and they have been discussed ad nauseum. After this post, this is a forum about KU Law, that’s it. I will close this thread if it is hi-jacked by people who are not genuinely interested in KU Law. And no trolling. We’re clever enough here to know when someone is trying to be clever.

JayhawkLaw
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:26 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby JayhawkLaw » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:13 pm

So here goes my response to Ron Don and the others. …

First, I want to correct some misinformation Ron Don posts. Our average debt at graduation last year was $74,890, down nearly $5,000 from the 2013 graduating class which had an average debt of $79,670. So his statement that “the vast majority of [KU Law] students are graduating with, at minimum six figures in debt” is incorrect.

Second, I’ll address the censure issue. It's a bit deep in the weeds, but someone asked. We started a LL.M. in American Legal Studies program in fall, 2012. We had all of two students the first year, both of whom graduated with the degree. We mistakenly assumed that we did not need approval from the ABA for this program as we had received approval for our LL.M. in Elder Law years ago. As the censure states, we viewed it as a new LL.M. concentration, not a new degree program. They concluded that because we sought approval from our university for the program (which is a whole ‘nother long story), that we knew it needed ABA approval. That’s not what we thought, but that’s what the ABA concluded. Anyway, two years ago we made a mistake about the process for starting an LL.M. degree, and we accept responsibility for it. End of the story - the ABA then approved our LL.M. program, which we continue to offer today.
Last edited by JayhawkLaw on Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JayhawkLaw
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:26 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby JayhawkLaw » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:16 pm

Now on to the LST stuff…
[About which I am not seeking a response]

There is no damage control meeting here at KU. While our students have been affected by the recession like law students at every other law school, the strong majority of our students have continued to find the types of employment they came to law school for. Sometimes it’s happening a little later in the employment cycle, sometimes the career starts off in a different direction than expected, and for a small percentage of students, it did not happen. But it does happen very frequently and it is absolutely getting better. Our stats and our outcomes have improved. Last year our topline employment stat was 86%, up from 80% three years ago. That’s not perfect, but it’s not too bad either. And we’re happy to talk about it to students genuinely interested in KU Law.

I know that Ron Don and others take the LST numbers as gospel, so they might say that if our LST score is 60%, then 40% of our students are failures who made a mistake by going to law school. Or as Ron Don puts it, “40% of your students will never become attorneys”. That’s clearly an overreach. I like some of what LST does, but I don’t think their stats equal what their proponents seem to use them for. I think it’s a fallacy to say that if a law school’s LST score is 60%, then 60% of students are success stories, and 40% of students are law school failures because they will never be attorneys. For the reasons outlined below, employment stats are better seen as benchmarks, rather than the absolute answer to the question of what percentage of students found success after law school.

There are a lot of assumptions in LST’s methodology, most of which follow a narrow view of what constitutes a positive outcome for law graduates. Among other issues, the score does not count students starting as solo practitioners in the score. For more than 125 years, people have been coming to KU Law with the purpose of starting as solo practitioners. It’s tough to do, and a fair percentage don’t make it long-term. But it’s a legitimate thing to do after law school. I’ve had friends go on and do it, it’s not impossible. A lot of these folks might not make it long-term as solos, but their experience often leads to work at small or medium sized law firms. While I’m sure some students have hung a shingle as a last resort response to the tough job market, we haven’t seen a huge jump in that number. Last year, out of 173 graduates, eight students reported starting out as solos, not much different from past years.

There are other reasons to think LST scores are not that effective in approximating successful outcomes for law grads. For one, if a student lands a job on Feb. 15, it counts. If it happens on Feb. 16 or later, it doesn’t count. This happens every year, and more than just one or two students. Think about students who don’t pass the bar exam. If you don’t pass the bar the first time, it’s going to take longer to find a job. This year the ABA is changing the reporting date to March 15, this should increase everyone’s LST and ABA score by at least a few points. There are other areas where I don’t agree with LST’s methodology, but this would become a very long post. If used properly, I think it’s a good comparative tool. But I strongly disagree with the premise that the LST can be used to determine the percentage of law students with good outcomes.

And for what it’s worth, I believe we do pretty well on LST as I believe we’re in the top 1/3 of law schools for LST score. Finally, if you want to see our ABA employment report, it is available on our website.

JayhawkLaw
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:26 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby JayhawkLaw » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:17 pm

Finally, finally.

Ron Don asks me how I can keep a straight face when telling prospective students that KU is one of the best law schools in the Midwest. I do that almost every day. What gives me the confidence to say this? I’ve spoken with hundreds and hundreds of our students and alumni who share that with me. We offer an outstanding program of legal education at one of the lower tuition rates in the country. And we’re located in one of America’s best college towns, Lawrence, KS. You are welcome to come visit anytime, perhaps you’ll have a different point of view about what we do here.

Now, I look forward to hearing from people genuinely interested in KU Law.

User avatar
Hand
Posts: 3524
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 11:33 am

Re: Kansas Law Admissions Dean Answers Your Questions

Postby Hand » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:24 pm

JayhawkLaw wrote:Ron Don asks me how I can keep a straight face when telling prospective students that KU is one of the best law schools in the Midwest. I do that almost every day. What gives me the confidence to say this? I’ve spoken with hundreds and hundreds of our students and alumni who share that with me. We offer an outstanding program of legal education at one of the lower tuition rates in the country. And we’re located in one of America’s best college towns, Lawrence, KS. You are welcome to come visit anytime, perhaps you’ll have a different point of view about what we do here.


How often do you talk to the numerous alumni who struggle to find gainful employment? Do they share that view with you?




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], hwwong, LewD33, r2d2111 and 1 guest