Law Center sets higher admission standards for prospective students

The UH Law Center is opening a new chapter into their admissions history – with higher standards and more reputable students – the Center strives for the best candidates for the coming semester, Dean Raymond Nimmer said.

"I’m certainly proud of the way in which the place has become reinvigorated," he said. "We have a lot of positive energy going on and good achievements occurring among the faculty and the students."

This year’s entering law class has the highest undergraduate grade point average, at 3.48, and Law School Admission Test average scores, at 159, in the history of the UH Law Center.

These scores are helping maintain the reputation and raise the bar of the Law Center, which has been Nimmer’s top priority since May 2006 when he was appointed, he said.

This increase is attributed to years of hard work not only by the faculty and staff but also by current and past students in a collective effort to further the school’s reputation, Nimmer said.

The Law Center had intentionally set aside an undisclosed amount of its budget this year to recruit students.

"We have more scholarship money (available) than we have had in the past," he said. "Second, I think we have a good admissions recruitment office and their activities just started building momentum over time. Finally, I think we’re just a good law school."

The admissions office has put more effort into staying in contact with applicants after they have been admitted, Associate Director of Admissions Lisa Buentello said. It is not uncommon for professors to call accepted students to persuade them to matriculate, or for students to be invited for campus visits.

"Our recruiting process really focuses on individual attention," Buentello said. "That has helped us attract applicants and (when they visit) they see how happy our students are with the choice they made to come to law school here."

"I heard (really positive things) from practicing attorneys – a broad range of them," second-year law student Josh Zientek said. "It’s highly respected, up there with Southern Methodist University and Baylor, and it’s a lot cheaper."

The American Bar Association estimates the educational cost of one year at the Law Center to be $15,922 for in-state students and $22,372 for out-of-state students, compared to $32,844 for SMU’s Dedman School of Law and $31,246 for the Baylor University School of Law.

Dinah Chung, a second-year law student also came to the UH Law center for its value and reputation.

"I chose UH Law because it’s a state school so I wont be in as much debt after I graduate. A lot of lawyers I have talked to in Houston say the UH (Law Center) has a good reputation and good professors," she said.

Law firms in the Houston area often look at UH to recruit future employees.

"We have consistently hired from UH (and) have lots of (law center) alumni," said Christina Rodriguez, Baker Botts LLP Houston Hiring Partner. "We certainly like to see that the average GPA and LSAT scores are increasing since it shows that the program is becoming more competitive."

In the coming law class of 298, the number of black students has increased by 15.8 percent while the number of Hispanic students increased by 10.3 percent, according to the UH Law Center’s Office of Admissions.

In fall 2006, the UH Law Center admitted 319 students, which has since dropped by over 20 students, according to the UH Law Center’s Office of Admissions.

For the Law Center, the ideal candidate will have both great academic scores and personal attributes, Buentello said.

"We are not trying to fill slots in the class, so that gives us a lot of freedom to admit people because they are really interesting candidates," she said. "Even if maybe they don’t have the highest LSAT score but have done other things in their background that indicate they would be a competitive student. They would be a good fit for our law school."

Leave a Comment