University of Dayton School of Law
The University of Dayton's College of Law was established in 1922, but closed in 1935 due to the Great Depression. It stayed closed for nearly 40 years, reopening as the School of Law in 1974 and gaining ABA accreditation a year later. Dayton Law is one of the few schools in the nation that offers an accelerated two-year JD program in which prospective law students can begin in the summer and complete their JD requirements in five semesters. This option has attracted middle-aged professionals, parents and career graduate students who want to fast track their degree.
Admissions & tuition
Students matriculating in 2009 to the full-time JD program had a median GPA of 3.16 and a median LSAT of 151. In 2009, Dayton Law had 2,097 applicants, accepted about 58 percent of applicants and enrolled 202 of those accepted. Current students say the admissions process was very simple, focusing on an applicant's LSAT score and GPA. Students seemed concerned about the admissions office's apparent lack of organization and encouraged prospective students to stay on top of their applications by calling the school periodically to check on their status.
Full-time annual tuition costs $32,684. In 2009, the law school offered about 47 percent of students grant aid, with a median amount at $10,000. Typically, Dayton Law students graduate with around $71,000 in law school-related debt. The school does not offer a loan repayment assistance program.
Dayton Law has a typical lecture size of 90 students for its first-year students. The law school has 48 total teaching faculty members and a student-to-faculty ratio of 16.2 to 1.
All first-year students take the same requisite courses, include civil procedure, criminal law, lawyering, property, torts and contracts. Current students say the workload is enormous and that the grading curve is set to a strict C average. Because of the difficult work, Dayton has an attrition rate of 17.5 percent after the first year, and 6 percent after the second.
Quality of life
While the cost of living is low in Dayton, Ohio, there are few amenities in either the city or the surrounding area for law students. To make up for the lack of social opportunities in Dayton, the Student Bar Association hosts some activities throughout the semester. However, since administrators frown upon alcohol being served at any social gathering associated with the law school, they don't provide much to help the overloaded students who run the Student Bar Association. This leads to a lower quality of life at Dayton Law, and to a student body that seems unhappy with the law school's lack of social events. The city, situated in the heart of the Rust Belt, has been described as a bit depressing because of the decline of American manufacturing. Dayton's population peaked in the 1960s at 262,332 and has fallen ever since. Forbes recently named Dayton on its list of emptiest cities in the United States.
Employment prospects & bar passage
In 2008, 92.1 percent of graduates were known to be employed within nine months of graduation. Of those, 62 percent were working in Ohio. Many students stay in the region, while others spread themselves around the country. Of those working, graduates earn a median salary of $58,900 in the private sector and $45,000 in the public sector. Current Dayton Law students say the school's tier 4 ranking hurts employment prospects upon graduation. The school's reputation is described as regional but its alumni network is described as expansive and very supportive when it comes to helping recent graduates find jobs.
Most recently, 93.5 percent of graduates passed the Ohio bar exam, five percentage points higher than the state average.
For a school that costs over $30,000 in tuition annually, Dayton Law offers little with regards to social functions at the school or in the city. However, scholarships are good and employment prospects are not necessarily limited to the region. There is some risk for students who wish to attend, as $70,000 in debt is nothing to ignore. This risk is present for all students who wish to enroll in law school, which makes Dayton Law a middle-of-the-road choice for applicants who want to work in the region.
U.S. News & World Report ranking: Tier 4
LSAT Median: 151
GPA Median: 3.16
Application Deadline: May 1
Application fee: $50
Entering class size: 202
Yearly Tuition: $32,684
Bar passage rate in Ohio: 93.5%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 92.1%
Median private sector salary: $58,900 (Class of 2008, 81% reporting)