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A Note for Dean Ray Nimmer

Raymond T. Nimmer
It’s the start of a new school year and the quality and enthusiasm of the 1Ls is high. It’s a smaller class, raising the value of a Law Center degree by maintaining our high standards. Nationally, according to the Law School Admission Council, law school applications were down 12.5 percent in 2011-2012 on top of a 10.9 percent decline the previous year. Our applications dropped 8.88 percent this year, which was still more than enough to fill an entering class of virtually any size. We made a decision to accept students with only the highest academic credentials as opposed to lowering standards to maintain the size of enrollment. We cut admissions from 252 for the Class of ’14 to 212 this year.  This keeps the credentials of this year’s class at the same level of excellence as in the past several years.

Limiting class size does not come without a cost to the school’s budget in lost tuition, some $800,000 for this fiscal year. The payoff in quality of education and prestige in practice, however, is well worth the expense. But, enough about numbers, there are many great things happening at the Law Center.

Our ranking among the nation’s law schools remains high while other measurements such as “Best Value,”  our “Go To” ranking, which measures the number of graduates hired by top firms, and the number of alums on the “Super Lawyers” list is strong. Our flagship publication, the Houston Law Review, ranks in the top 2.5 percent of legal journals worldwide and two of our specialty programs, Health Law and Intellectual Property and Information Law, continue to rank in the Top Ten year after year.

Rankings are only one indicator of strides being made at the Law Center. We have greatly expanded our presence in the field of energy law with our Andrews Kurth Energy Law Scholars initiative, effectively bringing in highly qualified scholars in residence and allowing them to devote time to research, writing, and other scholarly pursuits.  We also have hired several outstanding faculty members. We welcomed out first candidate in the International Energy Lawyers Program which in partnership with the University of Calgary law school will result in dual J.D. degrees in the U.S. and Canada. Our highly successful foreign LL.M. program this year attracted practicing attorneys from 22 countries. And our latest international outreach, the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, already has launched two joint research projects with our neighbor to the South.

We can’t gloss over the seriousness of what is happening with the nation’s economy and the legal market in particular, but the outlook remains bright at the Law Center where we remain committed to our goal of providing excellence in legal education and a degree of distinction.

RTN

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