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Dean’s Message - Spring 2023

Dean Jenn Photo

Dear College of Law Alumni:

This academic year (my 8th year as dean) has flown by! Much of our energy was focused on preparing for the ABA reaccreditation site visit (which took place in early March 2023). This process gave us an opportunity to update our mission statement, as well as assess our strengths, including our innovative academic programs (especially in the 1L year), student-centered support, community-engaged learning and strong alumni network. We also reflected on areas where we would like to be stronger, including bar passage, faculty hiring and upper-level student satisfaction. We should know more from the ABA about our reaccreditation in fall 2023, and I am confident that we will meet its standards.

Alumni engagement has continued to strengthen, and our active Chicagoland network continues to grow as more events returned in-person this school year. There are so many accomplishments of our alumni to celebrate this year! (Hope you check out our social media to keep up with the news.) I am so very proud that the next Illinois State Bar Association President (Shawn Kasserman '90) and Chicago Bar Association President (Ray Koenig '99) will be DePaul Law grads. Shawn is also the speaker for the Class of 2023 commencement, which takes place on Saturday, May 20 at the Chicago Theatre for our JD, MLS and LLM students. We are also expanding our networks in Big Law, in-house counsel, the judiciary and with alumni outside of Chicago.

We have an excellent law school that trains purpose-driven lawyers in every field of practice. And as you know, for a number of years—as part of an intentional plan to enhance excellence—we have worked to improve student outcomes. During this time, the law school improved several key metrics, including admissions (incoming indicators of LSAT and undergraduate GPA) and graduate career placement, which allowed the law school to increase its U.S. News ranking incrementally (to 105).

Yet this year, after much criticism and a boycott of over 60 law schools, U.S. News altered its methodology drastically, including a significant increase in the weight placed on bar passage and career placement. As a result of these shifts, DePaul Law experienced a significant decline in its rank (135), as did many of our peer institutions. Regardless of this outcome, improving bar success and career placement outcomes for our graduates has been and continues to be our top priority, as it aligns with our core values and mission. Over the past five years we have developed a host of interventions to increase bar passage, and the faculty recently adopted further interventions to target third and fourth quartile students with more support and resources, as well as to increase the GPA required to remain in the JD program. We continue to expand employment opportunities for our students with the assistance of our alumni champions.

DePaul Law continues to provide a quality, distinctive legal education that makes it a great choice for law students. We continue to count on our alumni to reach our great potential, especially by providing bar awards for graduates studying for the bar as well as donating to the Fund for Law, which gives us flexibility to fund the greatest needs in the college. Please consider a gift before the end of our fiscal year on June 30, so we can start the next academic year as strong as possible.

Have a great summer! ​

Dean Jenn