SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University School of Law’s first cohort in the new Accelerated J.D. Program has begun classes. The 24 students in the program are academically strong, and bring a wealth of professional and personal experience to the demanding 24-month program they began on June 6.
“These students represent such a wide diversity of life experience,” said Susan Lee, director of admission for Gonzaga Law School. “They all have shown themselves to be extraordinarily well-qualified for this intense new program.”
The class includes students from 12 different states, and one international student, representing 20 undergraduate institutions. Eleven of the students are Washington state residents. Students range in age from 21 to 48 with an average age of 30 years old. Seventeen percent of the class identifies as a member of an underrepresented minority, and 42 percent of the class is female.
Academically, these students are on par with the incoming class in Fall 2013, posting a median LSAT score of 154 and a median GPA of 3.27. Many of the students come to Gonzaga Law with significant personal and work experience, including legal assistants, crisis managers, issues advocates, small business owners, and community leaders.
The new Accelerated J.D. program at Gonzaga Law is the first such program in the Pacific Northwest and one of the few in the country. As Jane Korn, Dean of Gonzaga Law, outlined in her October 2013 article in The Seattle Times, the program is structured to provide both the doctrinal and practical education necessary for success after law school. Accelerated students will be required to fully participate in Gonzaga’s groundbreaking four-term legal research and writing program, pro bono service requirements, and an expanded experiential learning curriculum.
“Gonzaga Law has a 101-year long history of embracing innovation,” explained Sandra Simpson, associate dean for academic affairs. “We are proud of this class of students for showing an extraordinary commitment to pursuing justice and finding solutions with us in this new program.”
The program was created in response to the current challenges of legal education. While the American Bar Association has drafted reports and recommendations on the possible changes to law schools, official adjustments to the accreditation requirements could be years away. Rather than waiting for these changes, Gonzaga has chosen to innovate within existing ABA accreditation standards.
For more information, please contact Andrea Parrish at (509) 313-3771 or via email.