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The living may not be easy this summer for Omar Tarazi, but he says graduating ahead of time is worth the extra sweat. As one of 40 students participating in a new two-year program at the University of Dayton School of Law, Tarazi will finish course work for a juris doctor degree in 24 months, which puts him in the work force that much sooner, he said. Tarazi and the other students participating in Dayton’s program will have little time to languish poolside this summer while taking torts, criminal law, civil procedure, property and legal profession classes. But the chance to shave a year off student expenses and get on with life after law school may be one reason that the school’s applications are up 13%, despite a 4.8% decline in law school applications nationwide, according to the Law School Admission Council. Dayton law school’s dean, Lisa Kloppenberg, said “it’s hard to know” whether the increase in applications is due to the new program, but she added, “I think it must be part of that.” The school is believed to be the first to offer a five-semester, 24-month accelerated schedule. Other schools also provide their own versions of accelerated programs, including University of Kansas School of Law and Syracuse University College of Law. Dayton implemented its program after the American Bar Association decided last year to allow students to complete a law degree in 24 months, as opposed to the previous requirement of 36 months. While the number of hours that students must spend in class has not changed, they can complete those hours in a shorter time. The 500-student law school allows participants to take 18 credits per semester. For Tarazi and his classmates, they started earlier this month and will attend classes in the fall and the spring. They then will take a break from school next summer, which will to enable them to work in law offices if they choose, Kloppenberg said.

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