Chapman will compete in the rankings with Pepperdine, Loyola LA, and USD and it will take them about 5 years to reach do achieve this, assuming those other schools stay ranked in the 50-60 range.
My reasoning is based on a few points:
1) Chapman awards the most scholarship out of all other law school (--LinkRemoved--). As a result, this will allow them to continue to increase their admission statistics and attract brighter students. If you are a prospective law student with a 3.5 GPA a 160 lsat, would you rather attend Loyola in Los Angels where the student faculty ratio is nearly twice that of Chapman's, the campus is in a beat down depressed part of the ghetto in Los Angeles, a decent studio apartment costs $1,200 and you will come out of this "spectacular" academic institute with $120K + in debt. Or would you rather attend Chapman Law where the student faculty ratio is 8.5 to 1, the campus is located in the beautiful and safe historic district of Orange, you are no more than a 15 minute drive from the beach and Disneyland, the law building and facilities are brand new, you could rent a "luxury" studio apartment for $800 a month, and in addition to all of this, Chapman will offer you a 3 year full tuition scholarship and you come out of law school completely debt free! I know some may foolishly choose Loyola because they can't help but obsess over the "higher ranking"! But I would say a vast majority would take the Chapman option. In fact, this is the exact situation I was facing, and well, I think I made the right choice in choosing Chapman debt free over Loyola. By the way my stats were 3.5 GPA and 160 lsat.
2) Chapman is incredibly well funded, and as result, allows them to continue to attract a well recognized and distinguished faculty (i.e. Noble Laureate Vernon L Smith). If you're a noble laureate or distinguished law professor would you rather live in the cold Arlington Virginia suburb or take an increase in pay to move to sunny Southern California to pioneer your own academic legal program in an ambitious well funded academic environment?
3) Because of points 1 & 2, you now have a better faculty and brighter students, which both will presumably translate into a better education and greater bar passage rate.
4) Because of points 1, 2 & 3, the school's reputation begins to climb along with peer review scores from lawyers, judges and law school deans.
5) Because of points 1,2,3,4 & 5 the school's USNews ranking continues to increase, and soon enough, your school is now in the upper echelon of tier two schools and is bordering a tier one ranking.
If the school continues to take the steps is has been, it is only a matter of time before these hypotheticals are a reality. In fact, I think we have begun to witness this effect already with Chapman rising from a tier 4 only three years ago to moving past USF, UOP, Santa Clara and now into the top 100 in the rankings.
I have put a 5 year target on Chapman breaking into the 50-60 range. I understand this may be a stretch for some to accept, but I really do think its not far from reality. I certainly believe its perfectly safe to assume that a larger, 5-10 year range, will give them enough time to attain this goal.
Hope this helps anyone one the fence about attending Chapman Law.