Fordham University School of Law
With its consistent climb in popular rankings and unwaveringly solid reputation among the nation’s top law firms, the Fordham University School of Law continues to cement its place among the nation’s best law schools. More and more, the school is mentioned in the same breath as New York’s traditional giants, NYU, Columbia and Cornell. Highly qualified applicants wishing to attend law school and find prestigious employment in one of the legal capitals of the world, New York City, should give Fordham serious consideration.
Part of Fordham’s climb in popular law school rankings could be attributed to the school’s increasingly selective admissions process. Of the nearly 8,000 applicants that apply to Fordham Law School in a typical year, about 25%, or 2,000 applicants, are granted acceptance. The school’s 2009 entering class boasted a median LSAT score of 166 and a median GPA of 3.64 for full-time students, and medians of 163 and 3.42 for part-time students. Most hail from Ivy-League or similarly prestigious undergraduate institutions.
For those wishing to enter into a slightly less selective admissions process, Fordham offers a part-time evening program, with an entering class that usually exhibits average LSAT scores several points lower than those of students entering the school’s full-time program. Courses in the school’s evening program are taught by many of the same professors that conduct the school’s day courses, although students have reported a less competitive atmosphere in evening classes. Students enrolled in Fordham’s part-time program can choose to transfer to the school’s full-time program after their first year should they wish to do so. Yearly tuition for the part-time program is about $33,000, while the full-time program tuition is about $44,000 per year.
Aside from its traditional strengths in contracts, commercial law, corporate law, and international law, Fordham’s dispute resolution and intellectual property law specialties are considered to be among the strongest in the nation. Further, several prestigious academic programs and organizations, such as the nationally renowned Joseph R. Crowley Program in International Human Rights, provide students with unique opportunities to diversify their experience in law school. Students at Fordham Law School, after having fulfilled first-year requirements, are mostly free to choose their courses from some 200 available options. Though first year section sizes are relatively large, on average containing 80 students, an impressive 60% of upper level sections contain fewer than 25 students.
Quality of life
Located in the heart of New York City in Manhattan, Fordham Law School offers students close access to the city’s famous diversions, ensuring that students are never at a loss when looking for ways to spend their free time. The law school is located away from the main campus, which is a plus for the Bronx location of the main campus pales in comparison to the Upper West Side location of the law school. For students searching for more relaxing ways to pass idle moments, famed Central Park and its vast green grounds rests two blocks away from Fordham and provides a serene escape from the bustling city. Though some students have complained of the wear-and-tear of the school’s facilities, a concrete building built in the 1970’s, Fordham has taken on renovation efforts that it hopes to complete in the near future. As should be expected given the school’s location, the cost of living at Fordham, like other schools in the city, is tremendously high.
Employment prospects bar passage
Many Fordham students secure jobs with top law firms before graduation, while others are not as fortunate. According to recent graduates, the top 50 percent of the student body, as ranked by GPA, have little trouble securing work with top law firms in New York City and elsewhere, while the lower 50 percent do not enjoy such opportunities as often. Still, the school’s location in Manhattan gives graduates an inside edge on jobs in the city, and the school’s increasingly solid reputation and alumni network should continue to improve job prospects for graduates. As it stands, 86% percent of students have secured jobs at graduation in a typical year, and 98% have done so within 9 months after graduation. Further, the school states that Fordham ranks behind only Harvard, NYU, Columbia, and Georgetown in terms of the number of its graduates working in the top 40 law firms in the county.
Fordham students perform above statewide averages in New York on the bar exam, as 88.5% pass the bar on their first attempt, compared to 85.6% statewide.
When discussing the Fordham University School of Law, it is difficult to avoid comparison with other New York law schools. With its increased selectivity in admissions and the reach of its alumni network in New York City, Fordham continues to creep closer to the giants of New York in reputation and job placement. For any student wishing to attend law school and find employment in New York City, Fordham Law School has proven to be among the better options.
U.S. News Ranking: 30th
2009 Median LSAT: Full-time 166, Part-time 163
2009 Median GPA: Full-time 3.64, Part-time 3.42
Application Deadline: March 1st
Application fee: $70
Entering class size 2008: full-time: 316, part-time: 160
Yearly Tuition: full-time: $44,370, part-time: $33,280
Bar passage rate in New York: 88.5%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 97%
Median 2008 starting salary: $160,000