University of New Hampshire School of Law
The Franklin Pierce Law Center is now known as the University of New Hampshire School of Law. The Franklin Pierce Law Center was founded in 1973 and named for the 14th President of the United States. USNews and World Report ranks the school as a Tier 3 law school.
Admissions & tuition
Gaining admission to Franklin Pierce requires about what you'd expect from a third tier school: Most recently the median GPAs and LSAT scores of matriculants were 3.35 and 152. The middle 50% of matriculants had GPAs and LSAT scores ranging from 3.06 to 3.62 and 149 to 155; students with numbers above the 75th percentiles stand a good chance of getting some scholarship money while those with numbers below the 25th percentiles will have to be exceptional candidates in order to have a legitimate shot at admission.
The admissions process at Franklin Pierce has become slightly more competitive than before. Most recently, about 40% of all applicants were accepted, of whom 34% chose to attend. Those who choose to attend Franklin Pierce must of course contend with the issue of paying for tuition. Tuition at Franklin Pierce is steep, even by the lofty standards of private law schools. For a full-time student during the 2009-2010 academic year, the bill comes to $36,980, not including books and university fees. Students are also advised to budget about $12,000 for living expenses, bringing the annual cost of attendance closer to $50,000. A large number of Franklin Pierce students, however, qualify for merit scholarships and financial aid: 55% receive some form of grant aid.
1L courses at Franklin Pierce are similar to those found at most other law schools in the US. The grading curve is intense: Despite only 9 1L students transferring out last year, the overall attrition rate is about 15%, suggesting that many students admitted to Franklin Pierce are not able to succeed academically. Franklin Pierce is well-known for their highly regarded and ranked intellectual property concentration, so students with this specific interest might be more inclined to consider Franklin Pierce as their law school. Students may also choose to concentrate in commerce and technology, criminal law, general practice and social justice. Recently, Franklin Pierce introduced the Daniel Webster Scholars Honors Program, an intensive clinic program limited to 15 students per year; upon graduation from the program students are exempted from sitting for the New Hampshire Bar Exam.
Employment prospects & bar passage
Graduates of Franklin Pierce tend to take the bar in either New Hampshire or Massachusetts. Most recently, those who took the Mass. Bar Exam did not do well, passing at a rate of 78% compared to a Massachusetts statewide average of 89%. Statistics are not rosy for Franklin Pierce grads taking the Bar in New Hampshire either. Between 2004 and 2006, a majority of Pierce grads took the bar in NH, and never during that time did they manage a Bar passage rate higher than 61.5%. On the other hand, the school's bar performance was much better than that last year, when 83% of students passed, compared to the NH state average of 87%.
Although not many of them work in high-paying "biglaw" jobs in Boston or New York, most Franklin Pierce graduates do find some kind of work. Most recently, the school did not report what percentage of the class had employment at the time of graduation. Within 9 months, however, 94% had found work. For those working in the private sector, the median starting salary was an impressive $120,000, compared to $48,500 for those working in the public sector. It should be noted, however, that average salary statistics tend to be self-reported and often do not reflect the entire graduating class, so that $120,000 (which is markedly higher than that of similarly ranked law schools) figure should be viewed with some skepticism.
Quality of life
Despite its being the capital of New Hampshire, the seat of Merrimack County, and the home of the Granite State Symphony Orchestra, students might find that there isn't a whole lot to do in Concord. The city (population: 42,392) lacks many of the culture, sports and nightlife opportunities that one would find in a place like Boston or New York, but it still has its benefits. The cost of living is lower than that of major cities, and crime isn't much of a concern at all. Concord is also located in an area with a rich history and surrounded by scenic countryside. For students who do not want to attend law school in an urban environment, Franklin Pierce Law Center could be an excellent choice.
Although tuition is high and Bar passage rates could be better, Franklin Pierce Law Center makes a fine choice for those wishing to practice law in New England, especially students with an interest in intellectual property law.
Franklin Pierce Law Center
Two White Street
Concord, NH 03301
U.S. News Ranking: Tier 3
LSAT Median: 152
GPA Median: 3.35
Application Deadlines: 6/30
Application fee: $55
2009-2010 Tuition: $36,980
Median Private Sector Salary: $120,000 (Class of 2008, 75% reporting)