St. John’s Law Makes Strides on Measures that Matter Most to Students
St. John’s Law has always been committed to helping its students become successful professionals with rewarding careers. In the last several years, as the legal market has changed, the Law School has renewed this commitment with a strategic initiative to improve outcomes for its students along the measures that matter most to them: bar passage and employment.
“Last year, we started an innovative new program led by Professor Robert A. Ruescher and Erica Fine ’82, directed at those students most at-risk for failing the bar,” said Dean Michael A. Simons. “And it has already made a real difference. For 2013, the bar pass rate climbed four points to 88%. This year, we’ve expanded the program further, and I expect that upward trajectory to continue.”
The news on the employment front is similarly positive. The employment rates for St. John’s Law students have improved steadily for the past two years. “Some of this positive change is due to the growing economy,” Dean Simons said. “But the shift is also attributable to the proactive, individualized, and integrated approach to career development we instituted in 2011.”
With the support of dedicated counselors from the Law School’s Career Development Office, students get individualized attention from their first semester on, so they can identify a career pathway that interests them and pursue related coursework and activities. To complement this revitalized approach to career development, the upper-level curriculum has been redesigned around different career paths. Students build on their required foundational courses with advanced classes, drafting courses, clinic work, internships, externships, and co-curricular activities like trial and appellate advocacy—all focused on developing practical skills and targeted expertise so St. John’s Law students graduate profession-ready.
The Class of 2013 reaped the benefits of this new career development strategy. “Our overall employment rate rose from 78% for the Class of 2012 to 86% for the Class of 2013,” said Larry Cunningham, who led the redesign of the Law School’s career development program and who now oversees related curricular innovation as Associate Academic Dean. “With career development support from day one, and with a suite of new skills-based courses to choose from, our students are well-positioned for success as they graduate St. John’s Law, take the bar exam, and start out in the profession.”