Login | March 17, 2018

Akron Law unveils summer start pilot

Legal News Reporter

Published: February 6, 2018

First they offered a spring start, now administrators at The University of Akron School of Law have unveiled a new pilot program that would provide prospective students with the option of beginning their studies during the summer.

“Historically some law schools have offered a summer start option to students who might be in need of some additional support because of lower LSAT scores or other reasons,” said Akron Law Dean Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters.

“In contrast, our summer start program is open to any student who earns admission to Akron Law, up to a maximum enrollment of 30 students,” said Peters. “The program is geared toward providing more flexibility to students by allowing them to get a head start on their law school career.

“It is one of the many ways that Akron Law is attempting to distinguish itself from other law schools.”

Applications are already being accepted. Those who are admitted to the 10-week summer start pilot will begin on May 29 and be able to take two first-year courses taught by Akron Law faculty members over the summer.

The classes slated for this May are Contracts and Civil Procedure: Federal Litigation, formerly known as Civil Procedure II.

Those who qualify are eligible to receive up to $2,500 in scholarship assistance to help offset summer tuition costs. Applicants will automatically be considered for scholarships based on their application materials.

“Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and other donors, we have some funds available to support special scholarships for a limited number of students during the first summer of the program,” said Peters.

“If the pilot is successful, we hope to raise additional money for scholarships in subsequent years.”

Peters said there are a number of advantages to the summer start pilot.

“Classes will be capped at 30 students and therefore will be smaller than most regular first-year classes,” said Peters. “Also students who take summer start classes will be eligible to take up to two required or bar-track upperclass courses in the fall and spring semesters, giving them a head start on their degree requirements.

“A summer start also allows students to begin their law studies at a more relaxed pace, with two courses instead of the usual five,” said Peters. “For students who graduated from college in December and have student loans, a May start option allows them to defer repayment of their loans until they have finished law school.”

Nolan James Jr., assistant dean of admissions at Akron Law, said the requirements for acceptance into the summer start pilot are the same as for any other law student.

“The pilot is open to full- and part-time students, however the classes are only offered during the day,” said James. “I anticipate that we will be making admissions decisions through mid-May unless we reach our capacity for 30 students committing to the program sooner.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with our spring start program, which has gone from 20 students the first year to 40 students this year.

“The pilot is another test and we are hoping it will be as successful as our spring start program,” said James. “In theory this will allow an undergraduate who finishes in early May to go right into law school without having to take a break.”

Peters said he’s very excited about the pilot, which he said was first developed in discussions with former Akron Law Dean Matthew J. Wilson, now president of The University of Akron.

“Our team has put the flesh and bones on the idea over the last few months,” said Peters.

“The summer start pilot builds off what we did with our spring start program, which was rolled out two years ago,” said Wilson. “We recently enrolled our third spring start class and it’s been fun to watch it take root and take off.

“While some law schools have struggled to attract students, we are lucky to have increased in size,” said Wilson. “This has allowed us to offer more flexible options to our students.

“We’re excited to see how the new model works.”

Wilson said students who begin in the summer and take a heavier course load throughout the year or participate in the study abroad program, should be able to graduate in two and a half years.

“We also view the summer start program as an in-depth extension of our comprehensive two-week orientation program, which most students take advantage of,” said Wilson. “The orientation allows students to sit down with instructors and learn how to read and brief cases, outline, study for classes and prepare for exams.”

For more information on the summer start program go to (https://www.uakron.edu/law/admissions/summer-start) or contact the Akron Law admissions team at lawadmissions@uakron.edu.