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Saint Louis University School of Law

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Saint Louis University School of Law was founded in 1843 and is the oldest law school west of the Mississippi River. The school has been ABA approved since 1924 and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Offering both full and part-time programs, SLU LAW has the highest enrollment of law students in Missouri. SLU LAW consistently ranks in the top U.S. News and World Report's Top 100, ranking 82nd overall in the 2017 edition, with its part-time program ranking No. 25. [1] SLU LAW's Center for Health Law Studies also provides the premier health law programs in the nation, ranked No. 1 in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report Rankings, where it has placed 12 of the last 13 years. [2] The Legal Clinics also ranked No. 30. Additionally, SLU LAW is home to Saint Louis University's Vincent C. Immel Law Library, which is the highest-ranked law library in Missouri. [3]

Location

SLU LAW is housed in Scott Hall at 100 N. Tucker Blvd. in downtown St. Louis. Located in the heart of the downtown legal and business community, Scott Hall is situated next to the Civil Courts Building, a block away from the criminal courts and City Hall, three blocks away from the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Attorney's Office, and within walking distance to law firms and government agencies. SLU LAW is also within walking distance of Busch Stadium, Scottrade Center and the Edward Jones Dome, the respective homes of the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues and Rams. Additionally, SLU LAW is within walking distance of such St. Louis attractions as the Gateway Arch, Kiener Plaza and City Garden as well as the central branch of the St. Louis Library.

Admissions & tuition

Admissions statistics for the Saint Louis University School of Law are about consistent with what one might expect from other schools similarly ranked near the bottom of the U.S. News and World Report top 100. The middle 50% of the full-time 2015 entering 1L class sported GPAs and LSAT scores ranging from 3.17 to 3.66 and 152 to 158, respectively.

SLU is a private, Jesuit institution and, as such, whether a student is applying from within the State of Missouri or not has no bearing on the admissions process. Tuition for the full-time program in 2015-16 is $39,195 a year and $28,525 for the part-time program. This does not include other expenses such as cost of living in St. Louis, transportation, books, health insurance, etc.

Scholarship Opportunities

SLU LAW offers a variety of scholarship opportunities to admitted students. Every student accepted to SLU LAW is considered for a merit-based scholarship though SLU LAW's Dean's Scholar and Dean Select Scholarship programs. SLU LAW also offers 10 full tuition scholarships to incoming students each year as part of its 1843 Scholars program. Additionally, students ranking in the top 10 percent after their first year of school at SLU LAW and who were not awarded a merit-based scholarship upon admittance are eligible to receive the Deans Honor Scholarship. [4] Outside SLU LAW's in-house scholarships, several external and endowed scholarships are available to admitted students.

Employment prospects & bar passage

Because St. Louis University School of Law is considered a regional law school, it is unsurprising that the majority of its graduates opt to take the bar in Missouri. The bar passage rate is a very respectable 92.1% (two points higher than the state average of 90.4%). Only 67% of graduates are employed at the time of graduation, but within 9 months, 92% of SLU Law grads find themselves gainfully employed. Again, it should be noted that it is much easier for St. Louis University School of Law grads to find work in Missouri than elsewhere, but even there, things are not always so easy:

SLU LAW faces competition from the other local law school, the much higher-ranked and more nationally regarded Washington University in St. Louis. It is wise for someone considering SLU Law to consider that, even counting the large percentage of WashU Law grads who leave Missouri to work in other markets such as Chicago and DC, they will likely be the second choice of even local employers. Salary statistics seem to bear this out: The median private sector salary for a Saint Louis University Law School grad is $65,000 compared to over $100,000 for those who went to WashU.

Academics

Although SLU is not an academic powerhouse like WashU, it does hold its own in certain regards. For instance, SLU Law students have the unique opportunity to study at their Center for Health Law Studies, which is considered to be one of the finest places to study health law in the nation (USNews&World Report, in its specialty rankings, puts it as number one nationwide). SLU also has a decently-regarded Center for International and Comparative Law, and several clinics including a Judicial Process Clinic and a Criminal Public Defender Clinic.

While many law schools feature cutthroat competition among the student body, SLU LAW is known for a relatively collegial atmosphere, one which the school tries very much to foster. Additionally, for students interested in pursuing the study of more than just the law, they offer 11 dual-degree programs including the JD/MBA and a JD/Master in Health Administration. [5]

Quality of life

Saint Louis University Law School is working on a new building for the law school, the cost of which is estimated at between $30 and $35 million. Once fundraising is complete, groundbreaking is set to begin about 2010, however the extent to which these plans lack concreteness (no pun intended) implies that the new grounds should not be a consideration for applicants before groundbreaking.

St. Louis is a bustling city with much to do. SLU is located in the Midtown neighborhood which, while it has its share of problems (like much of the City of St. Louis), is also known as a haven for the arts, being home to both the Fox Theater and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Though many parts of the city are less than ideally safe, there are also plenty of safe, vibrant and exciting spots to hang out - not to mention one of the finest teams in the history of Major League Baseball and an NFL team with nowhere to go but up.

Synopsis

Saint Louis University Law School is a good choice for anyone who is certain that they would like to live and practice law in the state of Missouri.  Nevertheless, the tuition is steep for a school of its caliber and a careful cost-benefit analysis must be performed before one decides to attend.

Quick reference

Saint Louis University School of Law. Retrieved February 4, 2016
U.S. News Ranking: 82
LSAT Median: full-time 157, part-time 153 (2008)
GPA Median: full-time 3.47, part-time 3.40 (2008)
Multiple LSAT scores: Higher score accepted
Application Deadlines:  02/12
Application fee:  $0
Entering class size: full-time 145, part-time 25
2015-2016 Tuition : $39,195 (full-time) $28,525 (part-time)
Bar passage rate: 84.08% (Feb and July 2014)
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 83.1% (J.D.-required or J.D.-preferred positions)
Median private sector starting salary: $65,000 (Class of 2007, 68% reporting)

  1. U.S. News and World Report - Saint Louis University School of Law.
  2. U.S. News and World Report - Health Care Law.
  3. National Jurist - Best Law Libraries.
  4. SLU LAW Scholarships.
  5. SLU LAW Dual Degree Programs.