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Message from the Dean
The Keys to Student Success: Admissions, Academic Support, and Academic Rigor
As we all know, this is a critical time for legal education (including NIU Law) in admissions, the costs of legal education, and career placement after graduation. We are continuing to focus on a "AAA trifecta" for student success through Admissions, Academic support, and Academic rigor. The faculty and administration at the College of Law are devoted to making sure all our students can succeed in law school, pass the bar, and be effective, ethical lawyers when they graduate. And, as always, NIU Law remains a tremendous value in legal education to allow students to pave their own path to success.
Admissions: we strive to matriculate the strongest class on a number of dimensions including academic qualifications, work ethic, leadership and public service, and diversity. Recruiting based on the many strengths of the law school is crucial and we depend on lots of positive "touches" to our admits, including by our faculty and alumni.
Academic Support: we provide assistance that maximizes success in law school, on the bar, and beyond. We now require participation in our academic success program based on incoming academic indicators or grade point average during law school. We now require a week-long "jump start" pre-orientation program to give selected students a strong start in law school, and continue to offer a pre-bar review program for all third-year students.
Academic Rigor: we continue to strengthen skills and expectations for graduation. For example, our retention GPA was increased last year from 2.0 to 2.2, and we are strengthening our students' skills through demanding writing and advocacy courses, as well as comprehensive clinical experiences. For the first time this Spring, we will be administering a bar assessment to our first-year students, which will give valuable information to the law school and the students as to how to better achieve success.
This is critical time of transition for all law schools, including ours - and also a time of opportunity to embrace. I am looking forward to our upcoming Board of Visitors meeting in April, in which we will focus on how NIU Law can best respond to the significant changes in the legal profession and legal education. Our keynote presenters will be Leo Martinez, former past president of the AALS and member of the ABA Task Force on Legal Education, and Bob Nelson of the American Bar Association and author of Beyond the JD, a longitudinal study of lawyers.
We end this year with a grand celebration: graduation of the class of 2014, and Governor Pat Quinn giving the commencement address.
All the best,
Dean Rosato Perea