|University of Akron School of Law|
|Parent Endowment||$178 million|
|Dean||Martin H. Belsky|
|Location||Akron, Ohio, United States|
|USNWR ranking||Tier Three |
|Bar pass rate||87.4% in Ohio|
|ABA Profile||Akron Law Profile|
The University of Akron School of Law is the law school at the University of Akron, located in Akron, Ohio. Offering both the J.D. and LL.M. degrees, it was founded in 1921 as the Akron School of Law and merged with the University of Akron in 1959, becoming fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1961. Since 1921, the school has produced over 6,000 graduates who have gone on to careers in the private and public sectors, including several notable judges and politicians. Located across from E.J. Thomas Hall on University Avenue, the University of Akron School of Law is housed in the C. Blake McDowell Law Center on the northwest portion of the University of Akron campus. It also houses the Joseph G. Miller and William C. Becker Institute for Professional Responsibility and The University of Akron Center for Constitutional Law, one of only four constitutional law centers established by Congress in the United States. In 2004, the school was ranked second in the National Jurist and the Pre-Law Insider magazines as a best value law school.
The University of Akron School of Law admits traditional three year J.D. students, part-time J.D. students, and also students for the LL.M. Within the J.D. program, Akron Law students can also choose to specialize in one of eight areas of law, which include business, criminal, intellectual property, international, labor and employment, litigation, public law, and tax law.
The joint degree programs allow credit from classes to count towards both a Master's degree and to the Juris Doctor. In most cases, a joint JD/MA program can be completed in four years.
The school's program in intellectual property, managed by The Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology, is of note as it is one of two programs to offer the LL.M. in intellectual property in Ohio, and is one of 22 such programs in the United States. A study conducted by IDEA – The Intellectual Property Law Review, ranks Akron’s IP program curricular offerings as tied for fifth in the nation. The law school also publishes the Akron Intellectual Property Journal which is a "scholarly legal publication of The University of Akron C. Blake McDowell Law Center that produces an annual volume of two issues for use by scholars, practitioners, and judges."
The University of Akron School of Law recently began a new program whereby undergraduate Honors students at the University of Akron can receive undergraduate admission to the law school. Benefits of the program include mentoring by law faculty and students as well as visiting a law school class at least once per semester. In order to stay in the program students must maintain a 3.4 GPA and score at or above the anticipated median LSAT score of the next class of entering full-time law students.
The acceptance rate at Akron Law in fall 2009 for full-time students was 37.7%, or 581 offers of admission out of 1,541 applicants. The median LSAT score and GPA of the 117 full-time students entering in fall 2009 were 156 and 3.45, respectively. The part-time acceptance rate was higher, at 47.5%, or 159 offers out of 335 applicants, 85 of whom matriculated. The median LSAT and GPA of the part-time students was lower than the full time students, at 151 and 3.27, respectively. Twenty-four states as well as China and Vietnam were represented in the class entering in fall 2009.
Trustees at the University of Akron have approved $540,000 in design fees to construct a new facility to house the School of Law. The new facility, which would cost $23.6 million in total, would be funded with $10 million in donations and tuition and $13.6 million in state money. While the plan is not yet set in stone, Martin Belsky, the dean of the law school, has said that "I believe it's 90 percent sure" that the construction will occur.
The plan calls for the demolition of the Buckingham Building, in order to accommodate the two-story, 95,600-square-foot project.
After graduating from Kent State University, Ohio congresswoman Betty Sutton received her J.D. from Akron law. In 2006, she defeated Craig L. Foltin for Ohio's 13th congressional district and was successfully re-elected in 2008. In the 110th Congress, Sutton was a member of the United States House Committee on the Judiciary, and in the 111th Congress, Sutton is a member of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
More than 160 graduates of the law school have gone on to serve in state and federal judicial positions, and several of them have attained high repute. Alice M. Batchelder received her J.D. from Akron in 1971 and is the longest current serving federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, having been appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1991.
Deborah L. Cook received her J.D. from Akron in 1978. Having previously served as a justice for the Supreme Court of Ohio from 1995 to 2003, she was appointed by George W. Bush in 2003 to serve on the Sixth Circuit alongside Batchelder. They were both touted by the media as possible nominations of George W. Bush for the Supreme Court, and Cook was seen as a possible McCain appointment, had he been elected President.