Widener University School of Law

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Widener University School of Law
Widener University Seal.png
Established 1971
School type Private
Endowment $30,000,000
Dean Linda L. Ammons
Location

Wilmington, Delaware

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US
Enrollment 1,181
Faculty 141[1]
USNWR ranking (Full-Time) Unranked;[2] (Part-Time) 36[3]
Bar pass rate 92.31%.[4]
Website law.widener.edu
ABA profile

Wilmington Campus Profile

Harrisburg Campus Profile

Widener University School of Law is the ABA accredited law school of Widener University. The school, founded in 1971 as The Delaware Law School, operates on two of Widener's campuses, one in Wilmington, Delaware, and the other in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. According to Widener's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 48% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[5]

History[edit]

Originally founded in 1971 as The Delaware Law School, the institution became affiliated with then Widener College, later Widener University in 1975 and graduated its first class of 267 in August of that year. The school's name was officially changed to Widener University School of Law in 1989 when the Harrisburg campus was added. With a current enrollment of more than 1,100 students, Widener Law has grown to become one of the largest Pennsylvania-area law schools.

Campuses[edit]

Delaware[edit]

Strategically located in Wilmington, the corporate capital of the world,[6] Widener's 40 acre campus is home to 817 students.[7] The campus offers numerous degrees, many with an emphasis on corporate law.

Harrisburg[edit]

The Harrisburg campus is located minutes from the state capitol building and downtown Harrisburg. The 22 acre campus is home to the Widener Law & Government Institute, which specializes in the study and improvement of government law. The Harrisburg campus boasts a total enrollment of approximately 364 full-time and part-time students.[8]

Academics[edit]

Overview[edit]

Widener provides a comprehensive legal education program including offering its students the opportunity to work on court cases through legal clinics. The clinics specialize in environmental law, criminal defense, and civil law; which includes family law, and legal assistance on veteran benefits cases. Another opportunity provided to its students is the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute which offers an eight-day training program that teaches students how to conduct themselves properly in a courtroom trial.

In addition to legal clinics and the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute, Widener offers certification in specialized fields of study. At the Delaware campus it offers special certification from the Health Law Institute, the Institute of Delaware Corporate and Business Law, and the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute. At the Harrisburg campus special certification is available through the Law and Government Institute.[9]

Both campuses offer a variety of pro-bono work or community outreach opportunities through the Public Interest Initiative on the Harrisburg campus or the Public Interest Resource Center on the Delaware campus.[10] Students also have the opportunity to participate in extra and co-curricular activities such as Moot court, Moe Levine Trial Advocacy Honor Society, and four law reviews; The Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, The Widener Law Journal, and The Widener Law Review and the Widener Journal of Law, Economics, and Race.

Degree programs[edit]

Grading curve[edit]

Widener's grading policy is self-described as rigorous.[15]

The curve is known as a Grade Normalization Policy. The Harrisburg campus updated its policy in 2009 and the Delaware campus updated it in 2011. The policies are included in the online student handbooks for each campus. They state:

Harrisburg Grade Normalization Policy: Section 101

  • (a) The mean grade in each section of a first year required course for regular division students and the equivalent courses for extended division students must fall within the 2.300 to 2.750 range.
  • (b) In each section of a required course offered in the first two semesters, other than Legal Methods sections, at least 10% of the students must receive grades of B+ or above, and at least 10% of the students must receive grades of D+ or below. For first year Legal Methods sections, at least 10% of the students must receive grades of B+ or above, and at least 10% of the students must receive grades of C- or below.
  • (c) The mean grade in each section of upper level required courses must fall with the 2.600 to 2.950 range.
  • (d) The mean grade in each section of a Menu A, Menu B or Legal Methods III course must fall within the 2.600 to 3.100 range.
  • (e) The mean grade in each section of an elective course with an enrollment of more than 20 students must fall within the 2.600 to 3.100 range.
  • (f) The mean grade in each section of an elective course with an enrollment of more than five students but no more than 20 students, a seminar or a skills course must fall within the 2.600 to 3.400 range. The mean grade in each section of a Menu A, Menu B or Legal Methods III course with an enrollment of more than five students but no more than 20 students, must fall within the 2.600 to 3.100 range.
  • (g) Departures from the grading standards specified in paragraphs (a)-(e) above must be approved in writing by the Vice Dean on the campus where the professor wishing the grading standard departure is assigned. The Registrar must receive a copy of the Vice Dean’s written approval before entering any grades that depart from these standards.

Delaware Grade Normalization Policy: Section 101.

  • (A) The mean grade in each section of a first year required course for regular division students and the equivalent courses for extended division students, must fall within the 2,300 to 2,750 range.
  • (B)In each section of a required course in the first two semesters, other than Legal Methods sections, at least 10% of the students must receive grades of B+ or above, and at least 10% of the students must receive grades of D+ or below. For first year Legal Methods sections, at least 10% of the students must receive grades of B+ or above, and at least 10% of the students must receive grades of C- or below.
  • (C) The mean grade in each section of upper level required courses must fall within the 2.600 to 2.950 range. For purposes of the Faculty Policy Statement on Grading and Examinations, the following five (5) courses shall be treated in the same manner as upper level elective courses with enrollments of more than 20 students (i.e., the mean grade for these courses must fall within the 2.6 to 3.1 range): Business Organizations, Constitutional Law II, Criminal Procedure, Federal Income Tax, and Sales and Leases.
  • (D) The mean grades in all sections of: (i) upper level elective courses with enrollments of more than 20 students, (ii) Intensive Legal Analysis, and (iii) Legal Methods III must fall within the 2.600 to 3.100 range.
  • (E) The mean grade in each section of Advanced Analytical Applications must fall within the 2.600 to 3.300 range.
  • (F) The mean grade in each section of an upper level elective course with an enrollment of more than five students but no more than 20 students, a seminar or a skills course must fall within the 2.600 to 3.400 range.
  • (G) Departures from the grading standards specified in the paragraphs (a)-(f) above must be approved in writing by the Vice Dean on the campus where the professor wishing the grading standard departure is assigned. The Registrar must receive a copy of the Vice Dean's written approval before entering any grades that depart from these standards.
  • (H) In calculating the mean grades in sections of all courses, and in satisfying the grade distribution requirements of subsection (b), the grades received by students enrolled in the Law School's Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs shall be excluded.
  • (I) Students enrolled in the Law School's Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) programs shall be graded separately from students in the Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs, and their grades shall not be subject to any grade distribution requirements.

Ranking[edit]

In the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Law School Rankings, Widener is classified as a "Second Tier" law school and the full-time JD program is not given a numerical value, as U.S. News only ranks the Top 145, with the rest being placed in the "Second Tier" [16] [17] However, the part-time JD program is ranked 36th in the nation.[18] In 2010, Widener University School of Law was named to a national list of “Top Green Schools” based on the strength of Widener’s environmental law curriculum and the school’s earth-friendly practices.[19] The median LSAT score and the median GPA for the Delaware-campus class entering in 2012 were 150 and 3.09 respectively.[20] The median LSAT score and the median GPA for the Harrisburg-campus class entering in 2012 were 149 and 3.17 respectively.

Study abroad[edit]

Study abroad is offered through the Summer International Law Institute. There are 3 institutes available to students: Kenya, Switzerland and Italy. While abroad, students sometimes have the ability to intern with international organizations.

Post-graduation[edit]

Bar passage[edit]

Since 1998, over 3,600 Widener Law graduates have been admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar – more than any other Pennsylvania area law school.[21] The bar exam pass rate for first-time takers of the July 2012 Pennsylvania exam was 80 percent for both Widener Law campuses. The bar exam pass rate for Widener University School of Law Delaware Campus students taking the February 2013 Pennsylvania exam was third highest of all 10 Pennsylvania are law schools.[22] The July 2013 Pennsylvania bar exam pass rate for Widener University School of Law Delaware Campus and Harrisburg Campus were the lowest (71%) and second lowest (75%) respectively of the 10 Pennsylvania area law schools. [23]

Costs[edit]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Widener for the 2013-2014 academic year is $59,933.[24] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $230,150.[25]

Employment statistics[edit]

According the law professor blog, The Faculty Lounge, based on 2012 ABA data, 38.7% of graduates obtained full-time long term positions requiring bar admission (i.e., jobs as lawyers), 9 months after graduation, ranking 177th out of 197 law schools.[26]

According to Widener's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 48% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[27] Widener's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 20.3%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[28]

Class of 2012 [29]

  • Employment/Advanced Degree Rate: 78%
  • JD Required: 45%
  • JD Advantage: 16%
  • Professional: 14%
  • Non-Professional: 4%
  • Unemployed: 22%
  • Unknown: 0.3%

Class of 2011

  • Nine Month Employment/Advanced Degree Rate: 92%
  • Working in private practice: 47%
  • Working in business and industry: 18%
  • Working in judicial clerkships: 15%
  • Working in government: 10%
  • Working in public interest: 6%
  • Seeking an advanced degree: 3%
  • Unknown: 1%

Class of 2010

  • Nine Month Employment/Advanced Degree Rate: 93%[30]
  • Working in Private/Business Sector: 57%[30]
  • Working in Public/Non Profit Sector: 43%[30]
  • Median reported private sector salary: $66,750[31]
  • Median reported judicial clerkship salary: $45,000[31]
  • Median reported government salary: $42,000[32]

Class of 2009

  • Nine Month Employment/Advanced Degree Rate: 79%[33]
  • Working in Private/Business Sector: 61%[33]
  • Working in Public/Non-Profit Sector: 30.4%[33]
  • Median reported private sector salary: $65,000[34]
  • Median reported public sector salary: $45,000[34]

Student loan debt[edit]

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average indebtedness of 2013 graduates who incurred law school debt was $130,180 (not including undergraduate debt), and 91% of 2013 graduates took on debt.[35]

Partnerships[edit]

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Qualified undergraduate students at Widener University are eligible to apply to the law school under three special admissions programs.[36]

  • Express Admissions Program - Students in the top half of their class who score in the top 50th percentile on the LSAT are eligible to apply for express admission to the law school.[37]
  • 3+3 Fast Track Program - Government and politics students can earn their undergraduate degree and law degree in just six years.[38]
  • Legal Studies and Analysis Minor - This minor partners the undergraduate college with the law school to help prepare Widener students for the LSAT.[39]

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education[edit]

Since 1998, Widener Law's Harrisburg Campus has partnered with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to offer streamlined admissions and scholarship opportunities to highly qualified students and alumni from the 14 state universities.[40]

  • Express Admissions Program - PASSHE students and graduates are eligible to apply for express admission to the Harrisburg Campus.[41]
  • 3+3 Early Admissions/Joint Degree Program - PASSHE students can earn their undergraduate degree and law degree in just six years.[42]
  • Dixon Scholarship Program - A 30% tuition scholarship is available to students admitted under the Express Admissions Program or the 3+3 Early Admissions/Joint Degree Program.[43]

Stockton College[edit]

Beginning in 2009, Widener Law has offered an express admissions option to qualified students and alumni from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.[44]

  • Express Admissions Program - Stockton students and graduates are eligible to apply for express admission to either campus.[45]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Joseph R. Biden Jr., taught at the law school from 1991 through fall 2008, until he assumed the role of United States Vice President.[46]

Notable alumni[edit]

As of 2010, the School of Law has more than 13,000 alumni practicing around the world.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2011 Faculty". USNWR. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  2. ^ "2013 Rank". USNWR. Retrieved 2013-05-19. 
  3. ^ "2013 Rank - Part-Time". USNWR. Retrieved 2013-05-19. 
  4. ^ "February 2011 Pennsylvania Bar Examination Statistics". Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  5. ^ "Employment Statistics". 
  6. ^ "Wilmington". Pepper Hamilton. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  7. ^ "Delaware Campus Quick Facts". Widener University School of Law. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  8. ^ "Quick Facts, Harrisburg Campus". Widener University School of Law. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  9. ^ "Law and Government Institute". Widener University School of Law. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  10. ^ Besso, Michele (July 9, 2006). "Youths learn basics of finance". Delaware Online. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  11. ^ "Widener DE Degrees". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Widener DE Dual Degrees". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  13. ^ "Widener Hbg Dual Degrees". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  14. ^ Allen, Mary (September 5, 2007). "Widener health law program named among nation's best". Widener University. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  15. ^ "Widener's Grading Curve/Ranking Policy". Widener University. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  16. ^ http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+8
  17. ^ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2013/03/11/methodology-best-law-schools-rankings
  18. ^ http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/part-time-law-rankings/page+2
  19. ^ http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress/prelaw_backtoschool-2010/#/10
  20. ^ "Admissions FAQ". Widener Law. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  21. ^ "PA Bar Exam Statistics". Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  22. ^ http://www.pabarexam.org/pdf/statistics/february/f2013.pdf
  23. ^ http://www.pabarexam.org/pdf/statistics/july/j2013.pdf
  24. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". 
  25. ^ "Widener University Profile". 
  26. ^ Rosin, Gary. "Full Rankings: Bar Admission Required, Full-Time, Long Term", The Faculty Lounge, 30 March 2013. Retrieved on 2 May 2013. -- For the latest ABA employment statistics, see http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/
  27. ^ "Employment Statistics". 
  28. ^ "Widener University Profile". 
  29. ^ http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=widener&show=chars
  30. ^ a b c http://law.widener.edu/CampusLife/CareerDevelopment/EmploymentStatisticsandTrends.aspx
  31. ^ a b Widener University School of Law Harrisburg and Delaware Campus: Class of 2010 Employment Report and Salary Survey as of February 15, 2011. Paper copy available upon request from Widener Law
  32. ^ Widener University School of Law Harrisburg and Delaware Campus: Class of 2010 Employment Report and Salary Survey, Widener Law - paper copies available upon request. 
  33. ^ a b c http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/clearinghouse/?school=widener&show=salaries&class=2009
  34. ^ a b http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/school-of-law-03028
  35. ^ http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings
  36. ^ "Widener University Partnership". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  37. ^ "Widener University Express Admissions". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  38. ^ "Widener Fast Track". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  39. ^ "PASSHE Partnership". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  40. ^ "PASSHE Express Admissions". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  41. ^ "PASSHE 3+3". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  42. ^ "Dixon Scholarships". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  43. ^ "Stockton Partnership". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  44. ^ "Stockton Express Admissions". Widener Law. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  45. ^ "Widener Staff Page of Joe Biden". Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  46. ^ "Quick Facts". Widener University School of Law. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 

External links[edit]