Valpo University Law School: Ranking and Reason For Closure


The Valpo University Law School was established in 1879, opening its doors to both men and women when such inclusivity was rare. The school has a rich history and has significantly contributed to the legal community. However, despite its rich history and invaluable contributions to the legal community, the school has suffered some vital challenges that eventually made it close its operation in 2020. 

This article will discuss the history of Valpo University Law School, the admission statistics, and the reasons that may have impacted its unfortunate closure.

Valpo University Law School Graduates

About Valpo University Law School

Valpo University Law School was an academic institution housed at Valparaiso University in Indiana. It is notable for its contribution to legal education. Valpo School was established in 1879 and has been involved in the development of legal education for over a century. 

The American Bar Association fully accredited the school in 1929, and it became a member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1930. Thus, despite the historical experience accumulated during its existence, which proves its unwavering commitment to providing legal knowledge, the educational institution ceased to exist 139 years after its opening. This closure reflects the broader challenges facing legal education today, including declining enrollment and the evolving needs of the legal profession​​​.

Is Valparaiso University a Good Law School?

Before its closure, let’s examine some statistics that help determine whether Valpo University Law School was a good institution. The following are some crucial considerations one must evaluate to assess the quality of a law school. 

Bar Passage Rate

Bar passage rates are considered one of the most crucial benchmarks of the law school’s ability to prepare its students to sit for the demanding tests. Without passing the bar, they cannot practice law in most jurisdictions. In 2018, the overall bar passage rate for the Valpo School of Law was a concerning 35.8%. 

It is further noted that the passing rate of the bar for two years, class of 2016 graduates, was 66%, which was below the set standard of 75% by the American Bar Association (ABA). These statistics may indicate that the Valpo University Law School has not been faring well in preparing its students to have the competence and skills to pass the bar examination, thus adversely affecting job placement within the legal discipline.

Employment Outcomes

The quality of a law school is also gauged by the employment opportunities after graduation. Out of 125 Valpo Law School grads, only 48, or 38.4%, landed full-time work requiring passage of the bar exam. This percentage is relatively low compared to national averages, indicating that the school may have faced challenges in providing its students with the necessary resources, networking opportunities, and career guidance to secure desirable legal positions.

Learning Opportunities

Despite the challenges highlighted in the bar passage rate and employment outcomes, the Valpo Law School gave its students many opportunities for learning, such as externships and clinics. Specifically, the school operated eight legal clinics, including criminal, civil, juvenile, domestic violence, mediation, sports law, tax, and wrongful conviction clinics. 

All these legal clinics provided firsthand practice to the students, which helped them translate their classroom learnings into real-life situations under experienced professionals. In 2005, the Valpo Law School also became the first university in the country to launch a sports law clinic, where the students could consult amateur athletes at no cost during major sports competitions.

Valparaiso Law School Ranking

Rankings aid prospective students in readily grasping a law school’s status and quality. The Valparaiso University Law School ranking, as evaluated by the prestigious U.S. News & World Report, stood at 148 out of 196 law schools in 2017. This placement positioned the institution within the bottom quartile of legal education institutions nationwide. 

If your goal is to join the ranks of top-tier law schools, creating an admission roadmap from the start of your LSAT preparation until the submission of your applications is crucial. Aside from looking at law school rankings, consider admission statistics in planning, as this offers a window into the competitiveness of the applicant pool and the academic profiles typically sought by the school.

Valparaiso University School of Law Admission Statistics

Reflecting on the history of Valparaiso University Law School, its admission stats provide an inside view of the expectations for those aspiring to join the legal profession. Although the law school has since closed, these statistics reveal much about the commitment and academic qualifications required for prospective students to succeed.

The Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rates particularly highlight the formidable challenge of securing a spot. In 2018, only 38% of applicants were successful, indicating stiff competition. Yet, it’s crucial to recognize that such rates are not static. Back in 2013, a much more generous 81.4% of candidates were admitted, underscoring the variability in admissions over time. The acceptance rate serves as the final indicator of the admissions process’s competitive nature, signaling aspiring lawyers the necessity of bringing their utmost effort. Achieving a high LSAT score is essential to stand out as a competitive applicant. 

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LSAT Score

In the Fall of 2017, the LSAT scores of the admitted students were as follows:

  • 25th LSAT Percentile: 147 
  • 50th LSAT Percentile: 151
  • 75th LSAT Percentile: 152

The LSAT score is a gatekeeper, testing applicants’ analytical and logical reasoning skills. Sure, Valparaiso’s LSAT standards may have been a tad more forgiving than those of the elite law schools, but aiming for median scores or higher was still the smart play. It showed that you were prepared for the academic rigors and helped elevate your application above the rest.

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In the Fall of 2017, the admitted students’ GPAs were as follows:

  • 25th GPA: 3.02
  • 50th GPA: 3.19
  • 75th GPA: 3.41

An applicant’s grade point average (GPA) is proof of your academic performance and commitment to studies. Valparaiso’s GPA numbers gave a benchmark, but the real key was exceeding that median range. A higher GPA doesn’t just show academic skills – it also signals the ability to handle the demanding coursework of a law program.

To boost your chances, aim for a GPA above the median or higher. This could be achieved through hard work, smart time management, and seeking out academic support when needed—strategies that still hold true for today’s law school hopefuls.

Tutoring session between an instructor and student

Challenges Leading to the Closure of Valpo University Law School

The Valparaiso University Law School played a pivotal role in educating future legal professionals before facing the harsh truth of its situation. The institution couldn’t withstand the dual pressures of declining enrollment and financial insufficiency. 

Despite considering various strategies, including a potential alliance with Middle Tennessee State University, the challenges were insurmountable. With regret, the school decided to suspend admissions for the incoming law class in the fall of 2018 and eventually teach out its current students, thereby concluding the school’s long and distinguished history in 2020.

This decision was met with sadness and understanding within the Valpo community and beyond. It marked the end of an era but opened up a dialogue on the future of legal education, involving the necessity of adaptability and what law schools need to do to innovate themselves and be relevant to their students and society.

Final Thoughts

Valparaiso University Law School encountered significant challenges that led to its closure in 2020. Unsatisfactory bar passage rates and employment outcomes have rendered the school a less attractive choice for prospective law students. On top of that, the soaring costs of a legal education force many to consider whether the potential future returns justify the hefty price tag. 

Choosing the right law school is paramount for shaping a successful career in the legal field and maximizing future opportunities. Preparing thoroughly for the LSAT is essential as it not only determines admission to top law schools but also lays the foundation for a successful legal career by honing critical thinking and analytical skills. As the legal landscape evolves, schools must adapt to meet new demands while maintaining the high standards that produce practice-ready graduates capable of serving their communities.

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