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Updated 10:00 AM September 12, 2005
 

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  Law School
Applications defy national trend

Bucking a trend of decreasing applications at the nation's law schools, the number of students applying to the U-M Law School has increased.

An article in the Aug. 22 National Law Journal looked at 19 of the top law schools in the country and found that Michigan Law enjoyed a 4.5 percent rise in applications for the class of 2008—fourth among schools with the largest increases.

"We are delighted to see our applicant pool continue to be an abundant one—filled with high-quality candidates," says Sarah Zearfoss, assistant dean and director of admissions for the Law School. "While national professional school admission pools have been up and down, Michigan Law has enjoyed a consistent rise in applications for the past five years."

This year's pool of 5,772 applicants resulted in an incoming class of tremendous diversity and high academic quality, Zearfoss says. Members have the highest median LSAT score and grade-point average ever for an entering class.

Minority enrollment at many of the 19 surveyed schools also dropped this year. However, Michigan Law reported a 4 percent increase, making it the leader among the highlighted schools.

U-M Law's enrolled class totals 366 students from 44 states, 11 foreign countries, and 142 undergraduate institutions. The new class includes 73 undergraduate majors.

Zearfoss says that the latest class of students has a broad range of interests and experiences. A sampling includes four who participated in Teach for America, seven Peace Corps volunteers, four Fulbright Scholars and two Truman Scholars. Another student worked with the late Mother Theresa in Calcutta, while one worked in Uganda with AIDS-orphaned children.

"First-year students come in eager to learn and at the same time a little unsure of themselves," says Mark West, the Nippon Life Professor of Law. "I like watching them gain confidence and go through the metamorphosis through which every conversation becomes a potential contract; every road hazard a tort hypothetical; every apartment a definable bundle of property rights.

"And of course they can't do this on their own; they must do it with their classmates, whose diversity of background helps them apply the rules to realities and situations that they would not have otherwise considered," he says.

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