At a time when law school enrollments nationwide have remained flat or fallen, Seton Hall Law has broken the mold. Its admissions up 33 percent. It’s national rankings on the rise. What’s its secret? Seton Hall Law Dean Kathleen Boozang shares it with Correspondent Lyndsay Christian.
Christian: Dean Boozang, when you became dean of Seton Hall Law in 2015, you had an aspiration that it would become a top 50 law school in the nation. And, that’s a dream that’s actually within reach because in your short tenure, the ranking jumped from number 57 in the U.S. News and World report. What would you attribute to the success?
Boozang: We’ve held fast to make sure that we admit highly-qualified applicants who we’re certain will be successful when they graduate and take the Bar. So, it’s been a hard market for law schools, but we’ve stuck to the fundamentals and we are seeing it through.
Christian: Are graduates staying in New Jersey and practicing law here? Is that part of it?
Boozang: So, many do, but I wouldn’t say all do. Many go into New York, a growing number used their law degrees to become entrepreneurs and so those opportunities exist throughout the world especially when you look at what industries are in New Jersey. So, they increasingly are traveling the world.
Christian: Well, that’s good news to hear that it’s becoming more international in putting Seton Hall Law on the map. Another positive point — admissions are up 33 percent from last year. So, does this mean that law school is becoming less competitive or are class sizes expanding?
Boozang: I actually think that it’s primarily that we’re doing things different. Across the country, law schools are having various experiences with respect to recovery and growing their classes. I think for us we had the great fortune of going up 33 percent. Applications in the area only went up 4.3 percent, so there’s something that’s drawing people to Seton Hall Law school. I think ultimately, it’s because we have full employment of our graduates and our graduates are passing the Bar. So, I think that success in our case is breeding success.
Christian: And speaking of success, in terms of growth and expansion for the law school, Seton Hall is beginning a fall part-time weekend JD program. Tell me more about this, what type of students you’re looking to attract and what benefit this will have for the school.
Boozang: So, our first class has already arrived. In our inaugural class, we have just about almost 50 students. Their age range is 23 to 63 and they include five people with doctorate degrees, they include several people who are in the military, executives from many of New Jersey’s major industries, but also we have folks from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire who are coming in for the weekend. It’s every other weekend and then in the intervening time, they interact with their teachers online. So, I think it’s a very unique, but I am confident very successful model.
Christian: Absolutely. How long is the program and what is the duration for completion?
Boozang: It’s possible but unlikely to finish in three years. Most people, I bet you, will finish in three and a half years.
Christian: That’s significant. And again, attributing to the success of Seton Hall Law in it’s national ranking giving the school more prominence not only in New Jersey, but again across the nation. As you mentioned, internationally students are practicing across the globe. I want to thank you Dean Boozang for coming here today.
Boozang: Thanks so much for having me, I appreciate it.