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Syracuse University College of Law

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Dineen Hall - Opening Fall 2014
The Syracuse University College of Law enjoys a reputation that exceeds its ranking and plays host to an increasingly strong set of academic programs. It could be a good match for students looking at specialized law programs in national security and counter-terrorism, technology commercialization, public administration, international relations, business administration, or politics and the media.

Dineen Hall, the new home of Syracuse Law will open Fall 2014. This state-of-the-art facility is designed to meet the personalized needs of law students, and create a community dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and advocacy.

Admissions & tuition

With an acceptance rate of nearly 59%, Syracuse Law earned an admissions selectivity rating of 60/100 from the Princeton Review. Last year, the 25th to 75th percentile GPA range for admitted students was 3.06-3.45 and the range for the LSAT was 152-156. The medians for such measures were 3.29 and 155, respectively.

For 2009-2010, Syracuse Law's tuition was approximately $45,000. Add to that room and board, $1,200 for book costs, and approximately $2,000 for miscellaneous fees, and the total cost of attendance for one year at Syracuse Law is $63,300. However, nearly 90% of Syracuse Law students receive financial aid. Last year, grants ranged from $5,300 to $17,500 for the 25th to 75th percentiles, respectively. The median grant was $7,500. Regardless of the efforts of the Financial Aid Office, Syracuse Law graduates still average over $119,000 of debt upon graduation (USNews).

Employment prospects & bar passage

According to the ABA, Syracuse Law's bar passage rate is 83.9%.

Of the members of the Class of 2012 whose employment status was known, 69% are employed in positions where their JD was required, 19% are working part-time, 13% are employed in short-term positions, and 35% of those employed are seeking a different position. Within nine months of graduation, 88% of students generally find work in some type of job-and those who do enjoy more national mobility than most schools ranked similarly to Syracuse.

While 59% of graduates end up working in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, graduates in 2012 found work in 21 other states around the Country. 20% of students found work below the Mason Dixon Line, and 6% went as far as the Pacific States. This is a testament to the reputation that Syracuse Law enjoys around the country, or the connections its students have, or perhaps a bit of both.

According to US News, the majority of Syracuse graduates work in either law firms (42%), business (27%), government jobs (16%), or judicial clerkships (7%). Some students also found work in public interest fields (7%), and other fields (1%).

Those who entered the private sector earned the most, with starting salaries that ranged from $52,000 to $85,000 for the 25th to 75th percentiles. The median in the private sector was $74,000. The median in public service was $55,300.

Academics

Syracuse Law is making a concentrated effort to boost its national reputation. The grading curve has gotten tighter, attendance policies more rigid and the curriculum more challenging. There has also been an effort to infuse the entire curriculum with skills-building and opportunities for experiential learning including the new Interviewing and Counseling courses.

This is not to say that Syracuse Law's academic program was in need of revamping. The school boasts a powerful trial advocacy program, which was tied with Harvard Law for the 12th spot in the USNews specialty rankings. In the past 16 years, its teams have won 3 national trial championships, 15 northeast regional first place awards, and 5 best-advocate-in-the-nation awards. five times in the past 9 years Syracuse law has been invited to the National Invitational Tournament of Champions, featuring the nation's 12 best teams. Syracuse Law was honored with the Emil Gumpert Award for best law school advocacy program in the United States by the American College of Trial Lawyers. The New York State Bar Association cited Syracuse Law as the best trial skills law school in New York State 10 times in recent years by awarding them its coveted Tiffany Cup. Each semester, Syracuse Law offers at least 4 sections of Trial Practice and also offers Appellate Advocacy Skills courses. Syracuse Law has an impressive Moot Court Honor Society that frequently wins awards at national trial team competitions.

What's more, students can take advantage of the various experiential education opportunities in clinic and externship programs both inside and outside of the U.S. including the Law in London Program; Social and Economic Justice in South Africa; and Washington, D.C. Externship Program to name a few. Student attorneys in the clinical courses can choose among a wide variety of substantive law areas and some of the clinics practice in numerous areas of law. The student to faculty ratio in Syracuse law clinics is 10:1.

If all of this wasn't enough, Syracuse Law School students can add to their coursework by cross-registering with one of Syracuse University's many other graduate schools to earn a joint degree. For example, students at Syracuse Law can choose to complement their JD with a Master's in International Relations, Business Administration, or Public Administration, among other degrees (though they can expect the admissions standards for the MPA degree to be higher at Syracuse's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs as it is among the very best in the country). Or, the interdisciplinary programs at Syracuse Law partner course offerings with other Syracuse University schools and colleges to create innovative certificate programs including national security, technology commercialization and policy making and the press.

Quality of life

Syracuse which is located in Upstate New York, is well known for its cold and snowy winters - so for those who enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowball fights, chili cook offs or simply watching the snow fall by a fire the city is perfect. Upstate New York is also known for its Fall season with beautiful foliage, apple picking, hayrides and wine country tours. So if you prefer 70 degree weather year round, Syracuse might not be for you. Beyond that, however, there seems to be few downsides to life in Syracuse.

The law school is part of the 200-acre main campus and sits atop the famed "SU Hill". Most students consider Marshall Street an extension of the campus and is the home of storied bars, stores and restaurants. The Carrier Dome is across the street for the best in Syracuse Orange sports; and for a night out, Syracuse's Armory Square district offers unique attractions for all ages. The law school is close by to the new Destiny USA, a 2.4 million square foot destination shopping complex that includes retail, outlet, fine dining and entertainment venues. For those who want to get further away from campus, Upstate New York provides a plethora of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Water sports in the Finger Lakes, Snowboarding at Hunter Mountain, Backpacking in the Adirondacks, the list goes on.

To top it all off, housing is generally inexpensive. Campus West is the new on-campus student housing that's located just steps away from the law school. It offers fully-furnished apartments with access to a fitness center, study lounges, free Internet and much more.

Syracuse Law has plenty to offer as far as quality-of-life is concerned.

Synopsis

Tuition could be lower and employment prospects could be higher; but students who do well at Syracuse may reap life-long benefits.

Quick reference

U.S. News Ranking: 96
LSAT Median: 155
GPA Median: 3.29
Multiple LSAT scores: Higher score accepted
Application Deadlines: 04/01 (Regular)
Application fee: $75
Entering class size: 196
2013-2014 Tuition: $44,000
Bar passage rate: 83.9%
Graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 87%
Median private sector starting salary: $74,000 (Class of 2012)