Class of 2019 is largest first-year class in more than a decade
Eighty-nine first-year law students began their three-year journey on Monday, August 15, 2016 toward earning the Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
“We are delighted to welcome such a strong class of new students to the UND School of Law,” said Dean Kathryn Rand. “Thanks to the commitment made by our state leaders and alumni support for the new and renovated law building project, we have definitely seen a boost in interest from prospective students. Our physical space finally matches the quality of the academic program and prospective students are taking notice.”
The Class of 2019 consists of 46 women and 43 men, and is the largest class of new first-year law students at UND in more than a decade. UND Law continues to maintain a strong enrollment in light of a declining number of law school applicants nationwide.
“UND Law has been able to draw a highly qualified pool of applicants from an overall smaller pool of candidates,” said UND Law Admissions Director Ben Hoffman. “I credit to our strong reputation of a quality legal education at an affordable price and the good work of our admissions committee who did a wonderful job in extending admission offers to a very diverse, qualified group of students this year.” In addition to the increased number of students, the average Law School Admission Test scores and grade point average both saw a slight increase compared to last year as well.
More than half of the class comes from North Dakota. The second largest group, 19 students, claim Canada as their home. This is the largest number of Canadian students UND Law has ever had in a first-year class. Hoffman credits the increase in Canadian students to additional efforts and an increasingly positive reputation. “We have increased our recruitment efforts in the Winnipeg area, but more so, word of mouth from our current Canadian students as well as our alumni in Canada have helped to spread the word that UND Law is a great option, close to home, at an affordable cost,” he said. Other states represented in the class include South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, Alabama, California, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey and New York.
The new students arrived on campus for a reception in the law building central commons area Monday afternoon to kick off the orientation week activities. Immediately following the reception, students and their guests attended a formal dinner and pinning ceremony. The Honorable Ralph R. Erickson, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota delivered a keynote address on professionalism and what lies ahead. Following the address, Erickson, a 1984 UND Law graduate, led the new students in taking an Oath of Professionalism. Each class member then received a special Class of 2019 pin from Dean Kathryn Rand signifying the beginning of the journey toward graduation day in 2019.
Orientation activities continued though the week, and the new students had a taste of the classroom by completing the first section of the Lawyering Skills class.