Villanova University School of Law
Villanova School of Law, founded in 1953, is a Catholic law school near Philadelphia. The ABA censured Villanova in 2011 for falsifying several years' worth of the admissions data reported to U.S. News. The magazine currently ranks Villanova 93rd, down from 61st in 2009. The National Law Journal (NLJ) ranked Villanova as the 47th "Go to" law school in 2014, based upon the percentage of 2013 graduates employed at the largest law firms in the country. 
Employment prospects & bar passage
Villanova's employment statistics are about in the middle of the pack among schools that place significantly in Pennsylvania, comparable with Temple and Penn State. Law School Transparency gives VLS a 53.3% employment score for the class of 2013.
Out of all the 2013 graduates, around 7.5% found full-time jobs in the public sector, which includes government and public interest. About 15.0% found their way into large law firms (more than 100 lawyers) or federal judicial clerkships.
Of the class of 2013, 95 students were employed in Pennsylvania, 14 in New Jersey, and 15 in New York. VLS grads sitting for the bar exam for the first time in July 2013 passed at a rate near 85%, slightly better than the statewide average of close to 83%.
Admissions & tuition
Annual tuition at Villanova has recently eclipsed an astounding $40,000 a year. Estimated costs for the first year total about $63,000. (Keep in mind that this figure includes only nine months of living expenses.) Law School Transparency estimates the current total debt-financed cost of a Villanova law degree to be $225,810. On a ten-year loan repayment plan, that's $2,687 a month.
For the VLS class entering in 2013, the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile LSAT was 153, 157, and 160. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile GPA was 3.24, 3.56, and 3.74. 162 students enrolled in the class of 2016, down from 251 students for the class of 2013. The University's desire to decrease class size is part of its strategic plan in response to the struggling market for recent and future law school graduates.
Villanova's first year courses follow the standard for law schools, requiring civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, torts, legal writing, and legal research. Second and third year students are given more freedom in selection of their classes with only a few requisites. A moot court program is required during the later years of study. Villanova also offers the Sentencing Workshop, a class in which students study real cases with the judges and lawyers who tried them, and discuss how to sentence criminals.
Five clinical programs are offered, focusing on immigration, civil justice, farm workers' legal aid, federal tax, and juvenile justice. The clinical programs allow students to handle actual cases pro bono with faculty supervision.
In 2012, 6% of the 1L class did not return for the second year.
Villanova University is located in the Mainline, a suburb of Philadelphia. Fifteen minutes from the city center, Villanova has a beautiful, calm campus only minutes from the bustling life of a major city. With its own train stop, city access is easy, quickly delivering students to museums, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping; all that Philadelphia has to offer.
In addition to the lure of Philadelphia, Villanova attempts to provide its own student life on campus. A variety of journals and organizations are present at Villanova Law, in addition to a weekly gazette and moot court teams. The school hosts the Barristers Ball in addition to other social events for entertaining evenings. The Public Interest Auction is held yearly, with proceeds funding public interest summer fellowships. Academic lectures are also presented on a wide variety of topics. Villanova offers the Lawyering Together program, in which current students work with alumni on pro bono representation.
As with the vast majority of law schools in this historically depressed legal market, prospective students should seriously evaluate the decision to attend a second-tier law school without significant financial aid. An estimated debt-financed cost of attendance nearing $250,000 is a daunting figure given the current state of legal employment.
Villanova University School of Law
299 North Spring Mill Road
Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085
U.S. News ranking (2014): 93
Application fee: $75
Application deadline: April 1
LSAT 25th-75th percentile (2014): 153-160
LSAT median (2014): 157
GPA 25th-75th percentile (2014): 3.24-3.74
GPA median (2014): 3.56
Annual tuition (2013-2014): $40,060
Percentage of 2013 graduates who obtained long-term, full-time legal jobs nine months after graduation: 53.3%
Estimated debt-financed cost of attendance: $237,000