Akron Law Dean discusses latest 3 + 3 university partnership
Legal News Reporter
Published: October 14, 2022
When Pittsburgh native Mia Buffalini first started her undergraduate studies at The University of Akron she wasn’t sure she would go to law school.
“I was interested in being a lawyer, but I didn’t want to commit to three more years on top of the four I had to do for my bachelor’s degree,” said Buffalini.
But then she learned about the university’s 3 + 3 program, which allows students who qualify to earn a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate in only six years.
“I heard about the program during my first semester and after that I was sold on law school,” said Buffalini, now a 3L at The University of Akron School of Law. “It just seemed like the stars aligned at that moment since I could save a lot of money and start my career much earlier.”
In her case, things have worked out even better since she was able to shave off even more time by taking on additional courses as an undergraduate and obtain her bachelor’s degree in political science halfway through her sophomore year.
And that’s not all. When she graduates in May 2023, she’ll be doing so after only two and a half years in law school.
“It was a lot of sacrifice, but I don’t mind because I know this is what I want to do and now I will only be 23 when I get my JD as opposed to 25,” she said.
During her time at Akron Law, Buffalini also completed several internships, allowing her to decide what type of law she hopes to practice.
“I am pretty sure I want to do in-house work, preferably involving legal, audit and compliance. Right now though my main focus is on graduating and passing the bar.
“I think the program is an amazing opportunity for anyone who knows they want to go to law school,” said Buffalini.
On May 31, administrators at Akron Law finalized a new 3 + 3 partnership with Kent State University, enabling their students to benefit as well.
“We are excited about this new 3 + 3 partnership with Kent State,” said Akron Law Dean Emily Janoski-Haehlen. “We already enroll more incoming students from Kent State than any other school besides The University of Akron, so we believe there will be a lot of interest in this new program.”
“This partnership is part of our university’s effort to help students meet their career goals as quickly and affordably as possible,” said Manfred van Dulmen, senior associate provost and dean of the graduate college at Kent State University.
“We already have a number of partnerships in place with other universities that provide options for them to earn associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate degrees in a reduced period of time.
“We also have a 3 + 3 agreement with Cleveland-Marshall College of Law,” he said. “Under our new collaboration with Akron Law, students in 11 different majors can apply to Akron Law and take advantage of the chance to receive their law degree in just six years.”
To apply to the Akron Law program, students must have completed at least 90 credits toward their bachelor’s degrees and be in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing at their undergraduate schools.
In addition, they also need to have a GPA of at least 3.45, an LSAT score of 151 or the GRE equivalent and satisfy all of Akron Law’s character and fitness standards.
“Students who are accepted will finish their last 30 undergraduate credits at Akron Law, which will transfer back and allow them to receive a bachelor’s degree,” said Janoski-Haehlen.
“The 3 + 3 students take the same classes as traditional law students, but we do meet with them separately in their first year to ensure they have what they need to succeed. We also assign them upper division student mentors to help with the transition.”
Students can apply to start in the fall, spring or summer semesters, said Janoski-Haehlen.
In addition to its own university and Kent State, Akron Law also has partnerships with Robert Morris, Walsh, Mount Union and Youngstown State universities.
“We currently have 22 3 + 3 students enrolled at the law school,” said Janoski-Haehlen. “I recently met with the newest group of students along with C. Blake McDowell Jr. Professor Bernadette Genetin to check in with them and answer any questions they might have about completing their bachelor’s and their first year of law classes.
“We are currently working on creating an agreement with Central State University, which would be our first HBCU partner to create more pathways to law school and help to increase the diversity of the legal profession.”