Current 3Ls at WCL began their tenure at a law school ranked 45th in the nation by US News and World Report and now attend a school ranked 56th. Part-time 4Ls began in a program ranked 4th in 2009 that now ranks 10th. Aside from the likely unemployment and crippling debt they face, they now will also be graduating with a degree from a "second-tier" school.
The administration has allowed the ranking of this institution to slip more than ten positions in a span of three years. Dean Grossman has refused to take measures necessary to maintain not only our position within the rankings, but also our prestige amongst the nation's law schools, firms, and other employers. Additionally, the Office of Career and Professional Development has proven itself wholly incapable of aiding the student body in finding meaningful, lasting, JD required or preferred employment.
While some of the criteria used by US News, and the weights assigned to those criterion, is widely known to be arbitrary, these rankings matter significantly to the overall prestige of the school, its desirability in the eyes of prospective students, and the ability of students to find employment. Furthermore, a significant portion of the ranking criterion is legitimate. Specifically, the placement success of the school, which accounts for 20% of its overall rankings score.
Washington College of Law's employment at graduation rate, according to US News, was an abysmal 36.4%. For comparison Catholic University Columbus School of Law came in at a 37.5% employment at graduation rate, George Washington Law School managed to get 81.7% of their graduates employed, Howard University School of Law had an employment at graduation rate of 48.4%, and Georgetown University Law Center mustered up a 63.7% employment rate for their graduates. These employment statistics reflect actual rates of employment out of the total number of 2011 J.D. graduates for jobs that are full-time, long-term, J.D. and bar passage required or advantageous.
This is just a snapshot of the problems plaguing WCL, and merely one example of the inability of Dean Grossman and OCPD to tackle the problems facing the student body. Additional factors such as the significant drop in the median LSAT and GPAs of the incoming classes from year-to-year, and the administration's unwillingness to provide a significant number of merit based scholarships to incoming students, makes this call even more pressing.
We demand a pragmatic leader who can guide the law school during these tough economic times and an Office of Career and Professional Development that is capable of finding the students and alumni of Washington College of Law meaningful employment in their chosen field--the law. We demand that Dean Grossman resign or, alternatively, the Board of Trustees remove him. Additionally, we, the Students and Alumni of American University Washington College of Law, demand a complete overhaul of OCPD.
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