Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Situated just a few miles from the mayhem of Mardi Gras, the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans has been educating future lawyers since 1914. Though occasionally overlooked in favor of literal next-door neighbor Tulane or LSU, Loyola provides a solid education and inducts graduates into a successful alumni network that extends throughout Louisiana.
Admissions & tuition
Admission to Loyola is not particularly competitive - in 2009 50.8% of the 1827 total applicants were accepted. For full-time, 825 of 1671 applicants were accepted (49%); part-time accepted 103 of 156 (66%). Of the 1827 accepted students, 323 decided to enroll, leaving Loyola with a matriculation rate of 17.67%. Statistically, admissions at Loyola fall squarely in the middle of the third tier. LSAT scores ranged from a 25th percentile of 150 to a 75th of 155, and GPAs from 3.01 to 3.51. On their website, Loyola claims that "Generally speaking, not less than a 154 LSAT score and a 3.4 GPA" are required for admission, though "a higher LSAT can balance off a lower GPA and vice versa."
Tuition at Loyola costs $34,166 for full-time students and $23,096 for part-time. Despite this high cost of attendance, Loyola graduates generally only have approximately $50,000 in debt upon graduation - an extremely low total by law-school standards. This owes mainly to Loyola's generous financial aid office. The school reports that 68% of students receive financial aid of some sort, with 41% receiving scholarships. Though median grant aid was only $13,000 per year, clearly scholarships were generous enough to keep indebtedness low.
One interesting tidbit about study at Loyola: it is one of only three law schools in the country to offer curricula in both civil and common law, reflecting Louisiana's mixed heritage. Thus, what would be a typical first year of study evolves into something slightly more varied, with Contracts I & II and Property available in both civil and common law flavors. Outside of the first year, students take a variety of required courses and electives common to tier three schools - Evidence, Business Organizations, etc. In addition, Loyola students are required to earn eight "skills credits," in more hands-on courses focusing on "fundamental lawyering skills" and "taught by practitioners and judges from the local legal community."
An academic area that Loyola prides itself on is moot court; the school's teams are extremely competitive both nationally and internationally. This skill perhaps stems from an unusual facet of Loyola's first-year curriculum: every student is required to take a two credit-hour course in Moot Court. In addition to moot court, Loyola offers a multitude of extracurricular activities, including four journals - Loyola Law Review, Journal of Public Interest Law, Maritime Law Journal, and Loyola Law and Technology Annual. Loyola also provides several opportunities to study abroad in Europe, the near East, Russia, and Central and South America.
Quality of life
Located in the historic Audubon Park district in New Orleans, the Loyola environs boast beautiful greenery. Contrary to the concerns of many prospective students, this area was almost entirely undamaged by the flooding of Hurricane Katrina. The school is also located only a few miles from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, providing an eventful nightlife/refuge from stress for those bold enough to make the trek. Tulane University is quite literally right across the street, giving Loyola students the opportunity to mix with fresh faces from time-to-time. Living in New Orleans is actually quite affordable (slightly below the US national average COL), a fact that comes as a pleasant surprise to new residents. And obviously, as a big city, New Orleans has a lot of culture to offer - music, museums, world championship sports teams, and much more.
Though the Loyola's LA bar-passage rate may look low (67.4%), it is actually a bit above the state average of 65.5%. It is, however, notably lower than the rates at in-state competitors Tulane (75%) and LSU (81%).
The vast majority of Loyola graduates remain in Louisiana, with many remaining in New Orleans itself - not necessarily a bad thing! The school has a well-established network throughout the city and state - one of the reasons that 94.6% percent of 2008 Loyola alumni were employed within nine months of graduation. Most went into practice in the private sector: 62% at law firms, and 11% in business/industry. There are also relatively large percentages of Loyola graduates employed in government work (12%) and as judicial clerks (10%; percentage federal judges unknown), again owing to the school's strong reputation in Louisiana.
For the student interested in Louisiana or the Gulf coast, Loyola New Orleans is one of the best "bang-for-your-buck" law schools. The school is generous with financial aid, and enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in New Orleans, resulting in good job prospects. The school's blending of civil and common law curricula offers a distinct advantage for a student attempting to navigate Louisiana's difficult legal system.
Students interested in practice elsewhere, however, should proceed with caution, as the school tends to be overshadowed by higher-ranked competitors, and graduates generally have little success winning coveted jobs.
Loyola University New Orleans
School of Law
7214 St. Charles Avenue, PO Box 901 New Orleans, LA 70118
Ranking: Tier 3
Median LSAT: 150-155 (Full-Time)
Median GPA: 3.01-3.51 (Full-Time)
Entering Class Size: 323 (Full- and Part-Time)
Full-Time Tuition: $34,166 Full-Time, $23,096 Part-Time
% Employed Within 9 Months of Graduation: 94.6%
Median Private-Sector Starting Salary for class of 2009: $90,000 (Unknown percentage reporting data)