University of Kentucky College of Law
Admissions & tuition
Given that the University of Kentucky law school's entering classes usually consist of around 130 seats, the school's admissions process is bound to be selective. For the entering class of 2009, the school had an applicant pool of 1,074, extended admissions offers to 414 applicants, of whom 152 accepted the offers and matriculated at the school. The LSAT scores of this class at the 25th and 75th percentiles were 156 and 161, while the undergraduate GPAs of the class at the same percentiles were 3.33 and 3.82. Generally speaking, applicants with numbers that fall within these ranges should be at least somewhat competitive in future application cycles at UK Law, while those with numbers near or above the 75th percentile numbers of the 2009 entering class will in most cases gain admission. Those with numbers near or below the class' 25th percentile numbers, on the other hand, will have a tougher time gaining admission and, because UK Law makes admissions decisions on a rolling basis, would be wise to submit their applications as early as possible to maximize their chances.
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, the University of Kentucky law school's public standing allows the school to offer a lower rate of tuition to residents of the Bluegrass State. For the 2009-2010 academic year, resident tuition at UK Law was $15,111, while non-resident tuition was $26,849. The school aims to help students with these expenses by offering grants and scholarships in various amounts to about half of the student body in a typical year.
Academics & curriculum
Like students at most law schools, UK Law students enroll in a prescribed set of foundational courses during their first year, including Torts, Property, and Legal Writing. After this first year, students are mostly free to choose from among the many elective courses offered by the school to complete their 90 credit-hour degree requirement. These courses are offered in various legal areas, among them Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Tax Law. Students looking to broaden their legal education at UK Law can aim for one of the school's joint-degree programs: the JD/MBA, JD/MPA, and the JD/MA in Diplomacy and International Commerce. Those hoping to gain practical lawyering experience at the school, meanwhile, will have plenty of opportunity to do so through the school's five externship programs: a judicial clerkship externship, an externship at the Fayette Commonwealth Attorney's Office, an externship at the Federal Correctional Institute in Lexington, an externship with the Kentucky Innocence Project, and finally an externship with the US Attorney's Office in Lexington. Other opportunities are also available for students who wish to take their legal education outside of the traditional classroom setting, including law journals, mock trial teams, and moot court competitions.
Quality of life
Like most mid-sized Midwestern cities, Lexington provides all the amenities that one could need without the hassles of larger metropolitan cities, making for a high quality of life for University of Kentucky law school students. UK Law's location in the heart of Lexington is advantageous for law students as well, as they are never more than a short drive away from countless places at which to eat, shop, and hang out. Also, Lexington is home to numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants to suit all tastes, ensuring that law students always have options when looking for ways to unwind at night after long bouts of studying. Most students choose to live off campus and take advantage of the many affordable housing options available in Lexington, and many are able to find suitable apartments within walking distance of the law school facilities. These facilities, it should be noted, are said to be aged and unsightly, and most of the school's faculty are presumably looking forward to the new building that is planned for construction in the near future. On a more positive note, students at UK Law are given plenty of opportunity to meet and socialize through the many events sponsored by the school's Student Bar Association, including a popular Halloween costume party and an annual prom-like formal event. The school's football and basketball teams also make for many socialization opportunities, whether at games, tailgates, or post-game parties.
Employment prospects & bar passage
Employment prospects for students of the University of Kentucky law school exist mainly in the state of Kentucky. Most of the law firms that visit Lexington each year to interview UK Law students are based in the state, and typically about 80% of the school's most recent graduates begin their practice of the law in Kentucky. Those who wish to work outside Kentucky will likely have a much more difficult job search, and will likely have to rely much more heavily on the school's career services office and alumni network, as well as on their own efforts and initiative. That said, graduating classes of UK Law consistently post impressive employment rates, usually about 95% within nine months of graduation. About 65% of those employed generally choose to enter the private sector, while more usually more than 18% decide to take on judicial clerkship opportunities after graduation. For graduates of the Class of 2008 who entered law firms, the median first year salary was $62,000, lower than most law schools of similar regard.
On the Kentucky bar exam, graduates of UK Law usually succeed at a higher rate than the overall state passage rate. For the Class of 2007's administrations of the exam in Kentucky, 90.4% of first-time test takers from UK Law passed, while the overall passage rate in the state was only 87.4%.
The University of Kentucky College of Law enjoys the distinction of being the most highly regarded law school in the Bluegrass State. This distinction makes for great employment opportunities in the state for students of the school, and makes UK Law a great option for those hoping to find employment in Kentucky. Residents of the state should also place the school near the top of their list, as its public standing allows them to attend at a fraction of the price charged by similarly ranked private law schools.
University of Kentucky College of Law. Retrieved September 1, 2014
U.S. News ranking: 55th
Application deadline: 3/1
Application fee: $50
Entering class size: 152 (2009)
Median LSAT: 159 (2009)
Median undergraduate GPA: 3.60 (2009)
Yearly tuition: resident: $15,111, non-resident: $26,849 (2009-2010)
Median law firm first-year salary: $62,000 (Class of 2008)