Action at the Kansas University law school isn't as hot as it is on the "L.A. Law" television drama, but KU's legal-eagles get the job done in the classroom.
Consider the evidence:
- 92 percent of KU law grads passed the Missouri or Kansas bar exam on the first try in February. The overall rate was 83 percent.
- Entering law classes the last two years had an average grade-point average of 3.31 and an average Law School Admissions Test score of 37 (80th percentile nationally).
"The combined LSAT and GPA for our students is among the highest on the Great Plains," said Bob Jerry, law dean since 1989. "The quality of the students we enroll continues to be very high."
For the 1990-91 academic year, the school enrolled 195 new students from 1,010 applicants. Total enrollment was 525, a number slightly higher than expected.
"WE HAD MORE acceptances that we imagined possible," Jerry said. "The good news with that is the quality of the school is recognized by those who are choosing law schools."
He said KU was on track to enroll a 1991-92 class of similar academic caliber, judging by 63 students who started in May. A third of each new law class enrolls for a summer session. The others start in the fall.
Forty-two percent of 1990-91 class were women and 15 percent belonged to minority groups, Jerry said.
"We're pround of that. I don't want to make it a one-year success story. I'm confident we will continue to see success in this area," he said.
Jerry said 85 percent of the 1990 graduates seeking employment were employed as of November 1990. That's down from previous years. Since 1985, at least 91 percent were hired by November.
MAJOR employment categories for the 1990 class are: private practice, 57 percent; judicial clerkships, 10 percent; city and county prosecutors, 6 percent; government, 4 percent; other, 17 percent; non-legal, 6 percent.
Jerry said many urban areas are experiencing a shakeup in the legal profession because of an economic downturn.
"We're right next to Kansas City and it affects our students," he said. "The 85 percent figure is still higher than a lot of law schools in the best of economic times."
There are 4,300 KU law alumni in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and seven other countries.
As of this spring, the school had 285,000 volumes in its library. That made it the state's largest. There were 28 full-time and 10 part-time faculty last year.
A NEW associate professor, Christine Arguello, a partner in the Colorado Springs office of Holland & Hart, will begin this fall.
"She was heavily recruited from a number of law schools. We're very glad she's decided to start her teaching career here at KU," he said.
Arguello received her law degree from Harvard University in 1980, and will teach trial practice, creditors and debtors rights, and contracts. She served on the Colorado Springs School Board and Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission.
Although pleased with his new hire, Jerry said he was disappointed law faculty salaries haven't kept pace with national averages. It makes faculty recruiting and retention difficult, he said.
Last year, law school salaries nationally increased 8 percent. In two years, KU faculty wages went up about 5 percent.
"Those numbers speak powerfully for themselves," Jerry said.
KU LAW students remain active in development of a new law journal, the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. The first issue is due this fall.
"The journal is a very ambitious undertaking, but it's right on track," said Jerry.
Students also have shown their skills in competition. The school's Jessup International Moot Court team won the award for the best brief at the Midwest regional competition. The team advanced to national competition.
In addition, the KU Environmental Law Society participates in ABIGAILE, the American Bar Inter-Generational Accords on the International Law and the Environment.
A preliminary draft of the accords goes to the American Bar Assn. in 1992. If approved, the draft may be submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations.