A Message from Dean Pratt: An Update on Legal Education

Dear members of the Washburn Law community:

As we embark upon the start of a new academic year, we celebrate a slight rebound in the number of students enrolling in American law schools. In the fall of 2014, the number of first year law students enrolling at American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools reached the lowest level since 1973. Although we have seen a slight rebound, the number of students enrolling in law school has not rebounded to the levels enjoyed prior to 2010. Consequently, the competition for academically prepared law students remains fierce. Law school applicants are applying to multiple schools and yielding multiple scholarship offers from those schools. Many law schools are discounting their published tuition 60 to 80 percent in order to enroll a class of students with the strongest academic credentials possible. Many law schools have seen a significant decline in the academic credentials of students enrolling in their respective schools. In order to prevent slippage in the academic credentials of students enrolling at Washburn Law, we will need to offer robust competitive scholarships to admitted students so that Washburn remains a top value option for students seeking legal education.

The competition for students also means that Washburn Law will need to offer a curriculum that provides students with the flexibility to study law in the time, place and manner they choose. The ABA recently voted to amend the Standards governing law schools so that up to 30 credit hours of coursework may be offered through distance education. This change means that one-third of our curriculum can now be offered online so that students do not need to be tied to one place during all three years of law study. This modification will change the landscape for legal education dramatically, and it means that Washburn Law must move quickly to respond to this changing landscape by making a significant portion of its curriculum accessible online. We will also need to bring the Ideal Place building campaign to a close so that we have a state of the art facility with the technology capable of delivering a curriculum that is remotely accessible. This is an exciting time to be in legal education, and we look forward to working with you to keep Washburn Law at the forefront of innovation in the delivery of legal education!

Carla D. Pratt
Dean and Professor of Law
Washburn University School of Law

Photograph: Dean Carla D. Pratt.

Carla D. Pratt

Dean Pratt talks about the impact education has had on her life and how law has a role in shaping higher education (3:43 minutes).
Logo: Top Law Schools
Dean Pratt talks to "TopLawSchools" about Washburn Law's student life, academics, admissions process, career opportunties, employment outcomes, and more.