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Drexel University School of Law now has 210 future law students committed to attending its inaugural class, which will begin in August of this year. The group has a median LSAT score of 156 and a median GPA of 3.4, according to senior vice president of the law center, Carl “Tobey” Oxholm. As with most schools, the number of students committed is expected to “melt” down, meaning some have committed to other schools as well and may not end up actually attending Drexel. In looking at the group as it now stands, 46 or 22 percent of the students are minorities. There are 20 Asian students, 19 black students, six Hispanic students and one Native American student, Oxholm said. About 54 percent of the class is female, according to the school’s Web site. The students come from 18 states and three foreign countries, including Sri Lanka and Taiwan. The largest concentration is from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, Oxholm said. University President Constantine Papadakis said they thought they would receive about 1,200 applications, but instead received 1,600. The school ultimately gave out 385 offers, Oxholm said. Drexel has been planning on starting the law school with a class size of 120 students split into two sections. Papadakis said that if the final number after the “melt” is more than the 120, the school may have to start with three sections. He said given that there were 430 application for the eight professor positions, the school will have somewhere to turn to should it need to find additional faculty members. “We do have a host of applications that we were holding back for next year,” he said, adding that the city has an “incredible richness” of legal professionals who will be adjuncts. According to Papadakis, if the school adds another section, it could reach its capacity faster than expected. He said instead of the anticipated five years to build to capacity, the school may reach that goal within three years. Oxholm said that while the school made a commitment to stay small, it is not locked into that and could expand the sections. He pointed out, however, that the largest classroom will only hold up to 72 students. Because Drexel has yet to be accredited by the American Bar Association, the school is offering reduced tuition and several scholarships for the first three years. According to the Web site, tuition for the fall of 2006 will be $28,090 with $630 in fees. “For our inaugural class, Drexel College of Law plans to award 100 major scholarships ranging in value from $7,000 to more than $20,000 per year,” according to the Web site. “It is anticipated that applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and an LSAT score of at least 155 may be eligible to receive tuition scholarships in the range of at least $14,000, with several full-tuition scholarships available.” The law school has an endowment of nearly half a billion dollars, according to its Web site, to draw from for these scholarships. Oxholm said the lower cost for most students will not be done through reduced rates, but scholarships. He said that not every student would receive these scholarships. He said he was unable to provide the average tuition or the average aid that would be paid if the 210 students who committed actually attend because the school has not been tracking those numbers. The accreditation process will not begin until the law school completes its first full year. Around October 2007, the ABA will do an on-site inspection. A report will be generated from that visit that lists needed improvements, but if most of the requirements are in place the school can get a provisional accreditation around August 2008. The school will have up to five years from the time a provisional accreditation is given to complete the list of suggestions and become accredited. The process could be complete by the time the first class graduates in 2009, according to the school’s Web site detailing the accreditation process. U.S. News & World Report ranks law schools on 10 different criteria, but in looking solely at Drexel Law’s GPA and LSAT statistics, the school would rank in the high 70s to low 80s. That is only a rough estimate going off of the few available statistics and could change once accreditation occurs and tuition is increased. The school has a 25th to 75th percentile GPA range of 3.1 to 3.7 and a 25th to 75th percentile LSAT range of 153 to 158, Oxholm said. As the numbers now stand, Drexel would be placed below some of the other local law schools on the rankings. Villanova University Law School was ranked 60th with the 25th to 75th percentile GPA ranging from 3.3 to 3.6 and a 25th to 75th percentile LSAT score ranging from 161 to 163. Temple University’s Beasley School of Law ranked 58th with a 25th to 75th percentile GPA of 3.1 to 3.6 and a 25th to 75th percentile LSAT score of 160 to 163. Rutgers Camden Law School placed 65th with a 25th to 75th percentile GPA of 3.1 to 3.6 and a 25th to 75th percentile LSAT score of 159 to 163. The University of Pennsylvania Law School ranked seventh on the list. It had a 25th to 75th percentile GPA of 3.4 to 3.8 and a 25th to 75th percentile LSAT score of 166 to 171. As far as the next steps are concerned, the school has made headway on its new building on Market Street between 33rd and 34th streets. Oxholm said the school is currently interviewing for the legal research and writing tenure-track professor. The school is also in the midst of interviewing dean candidates, and is on track to have a dean in place by July 1, Oxholm said.

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