Loyola School Of Law Admissions Essay

Situated in the bustling heart of Los Angeles, Loyola Law School offers its students an exciting and stimulating location to study law. Besides its excellent location, the school also offers a superb education, and is proud of its title as the first ABA-approved law school in California to have a pro bono requirement for graduation. Some prospective students may be concerned about the school being located in a saturated legal market; Loyola graduates have to compete with students from Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Hastings, etc. for job opportunities. However, Associate Dean of Admissions Jannell Roberts reassures applicants in her exclusive interview with Top-Law-Schools.com:
We have always existed in a very crowded southern California market with other excellent law schools. But we affirm the quality of the legal education students receive, our top-notch faculty and a campus environment that allows our students to thrive. We anticipate that the face of the legal market is changing and we will continue to provide services to our students to place them in the best possible position when they begin their job search. Prospective students should think carefully about the realities of the legal market in the upcoming years. But I am confident that our graduates will continue to distinguish themselves as excellent practitioners and passionate advocates.

Thus, applicants who are interested in staying in California should feel right at home at Loyola. If you're not sure about applying to law school or just beginning the application process, then please take the time to read some of the excellent pre-law articles found here.

Admissions

Tuition and fees

Students at Loyola should be prepared to spend a considerable amount on their education. The school reports on their website that full-time tuition was $47,750 for full-time students and $31,975 for part-time students. With living expenses hovering a bit under $30,000 (Los Angeles isn't cheap!), students can end up spending roughly $77,000 a year to attend Loyola.

To help combat this debt, the school offers a number of its students grants and scholarships. In the school's most recent ABA data, 368 out of 1,287 total students received grant money. Fewer part time students received aid (only 34 out of 295) than full time students (334 out of 992). For those who are selected to receive aid, the school is quite generous: 147 received less than half tuition, 193 received half to full tuition, and 28 received full tuition plus an additional stipend. The median grant amount was $20,500 for full time students and $16,500 for part time students.

The school determines scholarship money through its "merit plus" system. Dean Roberts explains:

As far as our methodology, we use a system we call "merit plus". The main factors (but not exclusive) include LSAT scores and undergraduate grades. There is a "plus" component of other extraordinary accomplishments, interesting background and experience that can have an important bearing on an applicant receiving an award.

Scholarship programs include the Fritz B. Burns Scholarships, which offer students full tuition plus an additional stipend, and the Public Interest Scholars Program. To find out more about these programs, click here. To read a TLS article about funding your legal education, click here. Also, if you plan on pursuing a career in public interest, click here to learn about the new program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness (or PSLF). Finally, to read about a new payment option for federal student loans called IBR (or Income-Based Repayment), click here.

The numbers

In the school's most recent ABA report, the following data was given. To learn more about preparing for the LSAT from some of the highest scorers on TLS, click here.

  Full-time program Part-time program
75th percentile LSAT 163 163
Median LSAT 160 159
25th percentile LSAT 157 155
75th percentile UGPA 3.68 3.66
Median UGPA 3.54 3.44
25th percentile UGPA 3.33 3.20

The same data notes that Loyola made 1,712 total offers (1,602 full-time, 110 part-time) out of 7,479 applications (4,994 full-time, 2,485 part-time). Of those offers, 396 students decided to matriculate (339 full-time, 57 part-time). Traditionally, the part-time program has been easier to gain acceptance to, but with US News now taking into consideration part time numbers for the school's overall ranking, this disparity might soon vanish. Dean Roberts explains:

The rankings have impacted all of us more than we care to admit. Our biggest challenge has been the recent reporting change to use statistics for both full-time and part-time students. Part-time (or nontraditional) students tend to be the candidates most likely to have the maturity, experience, focus and drive we are looking for but these characteristics are not reflected in their test scores. In the past, we have been able to enroll these students and be confident of their success. The new reporting change means, I think not just for Loyola but most schools with Evening programs, that we will have less opportunity to recruit these very talented prospects because of their lower statistical predictors.

The application fee is $65, unless one obtains a fee waiver. To read more about how to obtain a fee waiver, click here.

Beyond the numbers

That being said, there's more to your application than your numbers. The school has "one to three members of the Admissions Committee" read over your application, taking into account your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and resume. Dean Roberts emphasizes that these factors are critical in your admission:

The qualitative aspects of a candidate's file (i.e., personal statement, letters or recommendation, resume) are extremely critical in our evaluation. The GPA and LSAT score merely sets the context, these other factors help the committee 'flesh' out the candidate and get a sense of who this student is as a person. Substantive community service (like Teach for America), military service and/or professional experience can be important indicators of a candidate's interests, maturity, goals and direction. Other good non-numerical attributes are substantive community service and/or campus involvement.

So, even if your numbers are strong, make sure you don't "phone in" your application. A sloppy personal statement or weak letters of recommendation could doom you to the waitlist or reject pile. Although a resume is optional, it is "strongly encouraged" and is a good way of sharing those factors that make you different in a concise and accessible way. The school requests that your resume be two pages or less and may include "education information (including honors and awards), employment history, extracurricular or community activities, military service, publications, special achievements, etc." To read some advice about creating a professional law school resume, click here.

Personal statements

Dean Roberts describes the personal statement as "the most important qualitative component of the file." Of all your application materials, the personal statement should provide the most insight into your character. Dean Roberts continues:

The applicant should make a case for him/herself and how his/her background, experience and abilities has prepared them for law school. The personal statement should show some reflection and be forward looking. It should be well written, compelling and concise.

In other words, make sure that you spell check and proofread your personal statement! Grammatical errors and sloppiness can hamper your chances of getting accepted, as Dean Roberts explains:

A personal statement that shows carelessness, grammatical errors and lack of attention to detail reflects negatively on the applicant's candidacy. One common error is sending a personal statement with the wrong law school name in the document.

Dean Roberts also expects applicants to use their personal statement to explore something new in their application. Using your personal statement to rehash your resume is not a great idea. In general, a personal statement should explain an "applicant's story and their interest in law school and what they hope to contribute to the Loyola community." Loyola gives its applicants plenty of room to share their stories - their personal statement length requirement is "2-3 pages in length, double spaced, using no smaller than 8 point font."

One way of showing Loyola that you're serious about attending is through making your personal statement Loyola-centric. By emphasizing the faculty or programs that you are interested in at Loyola, you let the admissions committee know that you've done your research and that Loyola is a good fit. Dean Roberts continues:

An applicant who indicates his/her reasons for considering Loyola (specialties, programs or faculty of interest) will certainly have this noted as a plus for their file. If an applicant elects not to outline his specific reasons for Loyola, s/he should certainly detail her/his interest in law school. Applicants who do neither may have the Committee question the seriousness and thoughtfulness about why he/she is applying to law school.

Finally, if you're interested in improving your personal statement or even just looking for ideas to write about, Ken DeLeon, the creator of Top-Law-Schools.com, wrote a fantastic guide to personal statements which can be foundhere for free.

When to apply

As with most schools, applying earlier in the cycle is better. Applications open on September 21st and begin to be processed on October 5th, so the earlier you get your recommendations, write and revise your personal statement, etc. the better! Dean Roberts confirms this by saying, "Applicants who apply early do have the advantage of being read at the beginning of the cycle because of our rolling admission policy." The school's "priority application deadline" for its full time program is February 1st, while the priority deadline for its part time program is April 15th. Thus, if you want your application to get the full consideration of the admissions committee, make sure to submit before these dates.

Students who know that Loyola is their number one choice can apply using the Early Decision (or ED) option. If accepted, students must withdraw all other applications, so it's definitely not a choice to be taken lightly. However, if you're sure that you want to attend Loyola, applying ED might just give your application the boost it needs. Applicants must submit all their materials by December 1st to meet the ED deadline, and they will receive a decision by December 31st. To read a TLS article about making the decision between ED and RD (or Regular Decision), click here.

Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation are another important part of the admissions process at Loyola. Dean Roberts gives this helpful advice on picking a good recommender:

Select a recommender who knows you well and can attest to your academic ability and those qualities necessary for law school success. Approach potential recommenders early and allow them to 'opt out' if they cannot provide a letter of substance. Also offer to give your recommenders a copy of your personal statement and resume. At Loyola, we will accept professional letters but make sure these recommenders know the purpose of their letter.

In addition, Dean Roberts gives some useful advice on what types of recommendations to avoid:

Letters that are superficial and unsubstantial are the least effective letters. And letters written by individuals that do not have a substantive academic or professional relationship with the applicant waste the opportunity for the applicant to strengthen his/her candidacy. Letters from family members should be avoided at all costs (even if those family members are attorneys.) My least favorite letters are letters from individuals who know the applicant's parent, or other friends of family who cannot offer any insight into the applicant beyond what type of little league player they were.

Finally, Dean Roberts remarks that "The best letters of recommendation are detailed, specific and offer comparative information (how that applicant measures up to his/her peers.) Letters that stand out offer examples of how the applicant's abilities will translate well in the law school environment." Take all of this advice into account when picking who will be your recommender(s). The school only requires one letter of recommendation, but applicants can send in up to three. To get some additional advice on obtaining letters of recommendation, click here.

Addenda

Generally, Loyola will take the average of multiple LSAT scores for applicants. However, Dean Roberts says, "if an applicant scores more than three points above or below the previous score, he/she is encouraged to submit an addendum to explain the score difference." The dean also suggests that you explain any academic problems (a low GPA / low LSAT) if you have a legitimate reason for their being low. The school does not want to hear a "litany of excuses." For more information about writing addenda, click here.

Waitlisted?

Getting off the waitlist at Loyola can be difficult - to maximize your chances, make sure that you send in any new information that might make your application stronger. For instance, one could submit "recent grades, statement of interest, and [an] additional letter of recommendation." Candidates that submit new information are looked at most closely by the admissions committee, and a "candidate who has supplemented their file with information not available at the time of the initial review is given careful reconsideration."

Transfer students

Dean Roberts explains the transfer process for Loyola:

We receive more than 200 transfer applications. Our transfer class enrollment can vary, depending on the space availability in our upper division classes. (In recent years, we have enrolled about 40 transfer students.) The most important factors for these applicants are first year law school grades and class rank. Transfer applicants in the top third of their class or better are considered the most competitive.

It is also important to emphasize why Loyola is the choice for you - learn about the school's programs and faculty, and speak about what interests you at Loyola in an intelligent way. To read a fantastic article about transferring, click here.

Urms (or underrepresented minorities)

Because of their disadvantaged histories in the United States, certain minorities enjoy a significant boost in the application process. To read more about this boost and to see whether you classify as an URM, click here. In addition, there are many pre-law programs specifically created to help URM applicants get accepted to top schools. To read more about some of these programs, click here.

Law school culture

Being located in downtown Los Angeles has its perks! Students can enjoy all of the amenities that a major city like Los Angeles offers; there are many different museums, eateries, and other attractions that students can go to and participate in. The school's location also offers a great deal in terms of employment opportunities. Loyola's website explains that, "This proximity to the downtown area is extremely advantageous for Loyola students because of the convenient access to federal and state courts and to the central offices of many major law firms." Dean Roberts emphasizes that the atmosphere at Loyola is "collegial," and a strong network of alumni are waiting to help graduates find jobs. She writes:

Students enjoy being part of a community dedicated to their legal education and the support they receive from deans, faculty, [and] administrators…Our community is collegial, committed, and diverse. Students benefit from the tremendous resources available to them as part of the LLS' network and this network is invaluable to them as a student and alum.

One current student was actually surprised at the degree in which Loyola "took the time to take care of its students." She writes:

The admissions office, particularly the Financial Aid Department, really bend over backwards for the students. The Deans generally walk the grounds, interact with students, and are always extremely friendly. Also, during finals week this year, the cafeteria's hours were extended and the alumni association made sure that we had free coffee, tea, and even snacks at all times. I am definitely satisfied with the quality of education thus far.

The student body

Loyola is dedicated to maintaining a diverse student body. In the school's 2013-2014 http://www.lls.edu/admissions/prospectivestudents/thecampuswhoweare/enteringclassdemographics/ entering class], it is reported that the student body is divided evenly between males and females (46% and 54%, respectively). The school reports that 43.4% of the student body is comprised of minorities - making Loyola a top ranked school in the nation in minority enrollment. One current student raves about Loyola's diversity, writing:

As far as diversity, Loyola prides itself in being one of the more diverse law schools in the country. As a result, clubs such as the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, La Raza de Loyola, and the Black Law Students Association are very active on campus.

Prospective students were very impressed overall with Loyola's atmosphere. One applicant remarked, "I noticed that everyone was very collegial to one another, lots of joking, etc." and another said, "The enclosed campus and the courtyard encourages 'community' and I saw a lot of that. More than any other school, students were engaging and talking to one another in between classes." A current student confirms this perspective, but notes that her classmates are quite competitive:

I think other students (particularly the 2Ls and 3Ls) are generally helpful and friendly. You will always find somebody who is willing to tell you about a particular professor or even share their outline(s) with you. Having said that, I think students within my section were much more competitive with each other than I ever expected, but I'm sure that's true for most first year sections.

Some applicants might be concerned with how the school's reputation as a Jesuit institution affects the student body / the focus in teaching / etc. A prospective student reassures other prospective students that the school's Jesuit influence is minimal:

One professor also made a point of mentioning that even though it is a Jesuit institution and therefore affiliated with the Catholic Church, there is no religions focus in the classroom. There are, however, opportunities for religion (non-catholic included) if one is looking for that, but nothing is forced or mandatory. Loyola seems to have a diverse student body in terms of religious faiths, background, race, sexual orientation, etc.

It is important to note that Loyola's student body is quite large; in the school's most recent ABA data, it was reported that the total JD enrollment was 1,287. One student remarked that this was the school's "biggest negative," but this is more of an opinion than anything else.

Housing

There are plenty of housing options available for Loyola students. Students can live in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, and Santa Monica, or move down to the famous Californian beaches (Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, etc.). If you want to be as close as possible to the law school, then the Pico-Union area is probably your best bet. As expected, housing in California is not cheap; students will most likely spend around $2000 a month in rent. The housing guide given in this thread goes over all of these housing options (and more!) very thoroughly, so if you're interested in finding out more information about convenient housing for Loyola, click the link above.

One current student was "surprised to discover" that "most people in [her] section travel long distances, sometimes more than an hour or two, just to get to class." However, she also reaffirms that "there are also a good number of students who reside in nearby housing, particularly the newly established lofts in downtown LA."

Facilities

In terms of facilities, students seem impressed with Loyola's campus. One prospective student remarked that, "I was first impressed with the aesthetics of the campus; the layout is inviting, and it feels larger than it is." Another student noted, "Beautiful, beautiful immediate campus that is separate from all the other Loyola Marymount Schools. It was designed by Frank Gerhy and it looks as gorgeous as it does online on its website (if you look at the architectural tour)."

Those concerned about safety should be reassured that Loyola protects its students. One prospective student noted that, although the surrounding area "is not the nicest," the school offers a regular shuttle service until 10 P.M., and students can call the security office at the school to get rides after that. Security offers also patrol the campus and make sure that everything is safe. Finally, there is a "security booth in the parking garage and the garage is patrolled." In other words, students shouldn't worry too much about the surrounding area at Loyola - the school takes its students' safety very seriously. For those interested in parking, the central parking garage has plenty of room for Loyola's students. One prospective student writes:

There is one central parking garage which is apparently a lot larger than it looks. 1Ls have to park in the basement, but my guide said there is never any trouble finding parking, and that if the basement levels are full, 1Ls can park on the upper levels. A permit costs around $350 per year, but if you carpool, you can get a discount, and they even have special carpool parking spots. The school also heavily subsidizes public transportation.

So, if you have to drive to campus, parking should be affordable and easy to secure. The one major complaint about facilities that students have is that there is no campus gym. Dean Roberts remarks:

We often hear from students that our campus is missing only one thing…a gym! Although we do not have these facilities on campus, our Student Bar Association works with neighborhood gyms to provide discounts to our students. And our law students may participate in the facilities available at the undergraduate campus (in Westchester).

As Dean Roberts mentions, students can join Gold's Gym and other neighboring gyms for discounted rates. Although this isn't as good as a free campus gym, it's a decent compromise and students shouldn't discount Loyola because of it. One current student further elaborates:

It is a bit annoying that if we want to use the gym for free, we have to go to the Westchester campus, but I know plenty of students who have no problem with the hefty discount offered by the nearby Gold's Gym. One fun fact is that Loyola actually has an annual 3-on-3 basketball competition held on campus in our basketball court; the winners of which, I've been told, have bragging rights all year long. Surprisingly, a lot of people actually participate in this event. In addition, there are plenty of other recreational opportunities on campus. One prospective student remarks, "There is a large student lounge area, and a privately run cafeteria on campus which provides a variety of food choices. It looked to be reasonably priced, and my guide said it was decent food, nothing amazing. There are also Foosball tables, ping pong, and a basketball court on campus."

The library on campus made a great impression on one prospective student; he remarked, "The law library is huge and is supposed to be one of the biggest private libraries in the west coast. It has a good number of study rooms, which are supposed to be reserved but can be used by anyone when it's not a busy time (basically finals time)." In other words, unless it's the busiest time of the year, students should be able to find a spot in the library to study at their leisure. The quality of the classrooms was also raved about by prospective students. One writes:

The classrooms themselves are very nice as well. All have outlets to plug in your computer and the chairs are comfortable enough. It seems like they were renovated recently because all the classrooms I saw had huge flat screens behind the professor where the professor could write on his or her PowerPoint presentations. The professor that I saw did this, and it added a cool little touch to the class. From what I could tell by people accessing their email before hand, the wireless works fine.

Overall, Loyola offers its students a superb campus in nearly all aspects. The only minor problems are its lack of gym and the sub par surrounding area, but Loyola works hard to give its students reduced prices on neighboring gyms, and security initiatives on campus help students feel safe.

Students interested in extracurricular activities can choose from many different clubs to participate in at Loyola. For instance, students can join the Criminal Law Society, the Loyola Law School Democrats, OutLaw - Loyola's Gay/Straight Alliance, etc. One current student remarked, "Since Loyola is one of the bigger schools, I think students really have to seek involvement in clubs, journals, etc. There are plenty of opportunities to do so." For a more thorough listing of student organizations at Loyola, click here.

Journals

There are three different legal journals that students can join at Loyola. They include the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, and the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review. The school's website continues that, "Staff members are selected on the basis of academic performance and a writing competition." Day and evening students are both eligible, and in order to be accepted to the Board of Editors (as opposed to regular staff members) for the different journals, one must show "superior contributions, legal research and writing skills, leadership, and demonstrated editorial ability."

The Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review is the school's flagship journal and its longest standing publication. Currently on its 43rd volume, the journal publishes four different issues per year: in the fall, in the winter, in the spring, and in the summer. Recent issues have included analysis of "First Amendment commercial speech protections, developments in complex litigation, California's 'Three Strikes' Law, and the Class Action Fairness Act." In addition, the journal has hosted a number of symposia, its most recent being the "Injuries without Remedies Symposium as part of Loyola Law School's Civil Justice Program." The journal also recently hosted a symposium on the home mortgage crisis; to find out more about these programs as well as see pictures and materials from recent events, click here.

Another longstanding journal at Loyola Law School is the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review. Currently on its 32nd volume, the journal publishes three different issues each year. Recently issues have tackled problems like military occupation, European identity, and drug trafficking. The journal also hosted a symposium in 2010 entitled "The Significance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," where three different panels and 11 different speakers discussed how to "ensure widespread ratification implementation" of the United States Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities "at the national level."

In busy Los Angeles, entertainment law is a driving force of the legal climate. Thus, the school's third journal, the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, is an important factor in Loyola's academic mission. Currently on its 30th volume, the journal addresses issues in "Entertainment, Sports, and Communications law." Recent articles have focused on fantasy sports leagues, the fair use policy and how it applies to the case Lenz v. Universal, and virtual child pornography.

As mentioned above, to gain entry into any of these journals requires a combination of academic excellence and a positive result on the annual writing competition. For the latter, students must write an "essay of approximately ten pages based on a packet of supplied research materials." One submits the essay with a packet of application materials, and the current law review editors judge your submission. You can choose to apply from anywhere from one to all three journals, but the school recommends that you apply to all three in order to better your chances of being accepted. In addition, staff members and editors are given "academic credit on a 'Pass/Fail' basis for satisfactory completion of assignments and other responsibilities." The case note or comment that you write as a staff member could also qualify to satisfy the school's upper division writing requirement.

Academics

The majority of Loyola's students are enrolled in the full-time day program, where they have to take eight required courses their first year. These courses include staples like Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Torts, etc. In the second and third years, students mostly pick from different elective courses depending on their field of interest. The part-time evening program is similar: students take a number of required courses and choose from a list of electives for their remaining classes. Evening students usually take four years to complete their degree, including two summer sessions.

Loyola is also proud to be the first ABA-approved law school in California to have a pro bono requirement for graduation. Students must complete at least 40 hours of "uncompensated, legally related public service." The dean emphasizes the importance of this requirement, writing:

Loyola was one of the first schools in California to require its students to complete 40 hours of pro bono work. Social justice just isn't a phrase on our website, we care about training our students to be positive members of the bar and to hopefully, go on to have a positive impact on our community, whether in public interest or business or politics.

An extensive explanation of Loyola's grading system can be found here. The school uses a fixed mean of 81 for first year classes, and most upper level classes use a fixed mean of 82. The school ranks according to different tiers, placing the "top five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty and fifty percent of each class" into groups. Students that manage to place into the top five percent are ranked numerically. To read more about Loyola's ranking system and to view some data, click here.

The school offers a JD / MBA for students who are more business-oriented in their legal interests. Students who want to pursue this dual degree first need to be accepted to the JD program at Loyola. Soon after putting down your deposit, you can turn in your JD/MBA application. To read more about why one might pursue a JD / MBA, click here. The school also has many other graduate programs, including a graduate tax program (LLM), an international LLM program in Bologna, and a 3-year JD/tax LLM program. To find out more about these programs, click here.

Professors

Prospective students were impressed by the quality of the professors that they saw. One prospective student writes:

The teacher that I was able to see and talk to really briefly (just thanking him for letting me sit in) was funny, nice and generally just an awesome guy. That seems to coincide with what the Princeton Review noted in its review of Loyola, saying that the teachers are very engaging, friendly, and enjoyable. Loyola also has an open door policy for its teachers and I have generally heard that most teachers are willing to sit and talk to you about the class, even go over previous exams (that they've given in other classes) with them.

Loyola emphasizes its professors' friendliness and openness to students, as one prospective student remarked:

[The school] also mentioned that it's Loyola's policy to have the professors available, that the focus is on teaching, and not on publishing articles or writing books. I tried to take everything with a grain of salt - obviously they are selling Loyola to us and want us to feel comfortable in going there, but at the same time I felt that they were being candid and honest.

A current student confirmed that these perceptions were indeed accurate, and described the professors at Loyola as the school's "biggest positive":

All of my professors so far, with the exception of one in particular, have been amazing! A few of them even wrote the case books that we used in class. Needless to say, all of them were extremely knowledgeable about their subject areas and definitely knew the cases like the back of their hands. I think one of the things that sets Loyola apart is that the university really prides itself with the fact that most of the professors have had some experience practicing law before becoming professors. This makes such a huge difference in classes such as Criminal Law where it is so important for professors to share their real world experiences with students.

Public interest

As mentioned earlier, Loyola was the first ABA-approved law school in California to have a mandatory pro bono requirement for graduation. Loyola has always had a strong focus on public interest law, and opened its Public Interest Department in 1988. Since then, the school has dedicated a great deal of time and resources into helping its students secure public interest jobs. For instance, the school offers funding for 70 summer employment positions in "local legal service organizations" (60 public service, 10 government). The school is proud to report that "Loyola students donate well over 20,000 hours of student legal services each year to non-profit organizations throughout the community."

One important way that the school supports its public interest program is through the Public Interest Law Foundation (or PILF). This "non-partisan, student run organization" gives out summer public interest grants and public interest bar stipends, and also hosts an auction each year to help raise money. One current student writes about public interest at Loyola:

The pro bono requirement is definitely something that the school prides itself in, and they make sure that the students know that from day one. I think because of that, students do take this requirement very seriously. PILF is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) organizations on campus, and their fund raising events throughout the year are definitely well attended. There will always be those students who are at Loyola to get their degree and leave, but I'd definitely say that a majority of the students do not fall into this category.

In addition, Loyola has a Loan Forgiveness program available for "students, beginning with the graduating class of 1988, who are employed, at a salary of less than $54,000, by a qualified public interest program." So long as students remain eligible, they can continue to receive money (up to $12,000 annually) for up to five years. Priority is given first to those students who have educational debt from their law school education; next in line are students who have no law school debt, but educational debt in general; finally, students who have no educational debt but have an annual salary of less than $54,000 are third in line. The committee also considers factors such as "the applicant's salary, the applicant's loan indebtedness, and the amount of assistance the applicant has previously received from PILAP." The school is more inclined to give assistance to those who are applying to the program for the first time, as to "enable Loyola graduates to undertake careers in public interest law, and to provide substantial assistance in the first few years of employment."

There is also a Interest Scholars Program that provides "six full tuition scholarships for incoming students" and several other partial tuition scholarships. Students are chosen for these scholarships "based on a combination of academic merit and public interest background and commitment." In 2009, there were 13 scholars chosen, and in 2008, there were only 8 scholars chosen. This program is competitive, so students should feel lucky and seriously consider the offer if they are chosen to be a public interest scholar.

The school offers three Post Graduate Fellowships in Public Interest. These positions were created to do the following:

  • To provide legal services to underrepresented groups that have traditionally lacked full access to legal services. Social justice, human rights, civil rights, and environmental groups are among those included.
  • To create new public interest law positions to assist our students in getting their first public interest job and to have these positions then funded by the agencies, in effect creating additional resources.
  • To encourage and develop a diverse and qualified group of future public interest lawyers and leaders to ensure the future of public interest law.

The school also has many different externships for public interest students to participate in. Students can obtain "an off-campus placement for one semester in judicial chambers, a government agency, or a public interest law firm." If you complete your externship in a public interest setting, you can even obtain pro bono credit for your work.

In addition to its externship programs, the school has many different public interest centers where "Loyola students, faculty and staff provide invaluable resources and services to the greater Los Angeles community." Some of these include the Cancer Legal Resource Center, the Disability Rights Legal Center, and the Center for Conflict Resolution. To read more about these centers and others, click here. The clinics associated with these centers are a big deal at Loyola and help students get hands-on experience before they enter the real world. One student explains:

The clinics at Loyola are very competitive to get into, or so I've heard. I actually applied for the Juvenile Justice Clinic as well as the Civil Rights Clinic this past year, and decided to take the latter after getting into both. I've heard that for those students who have gotten into any of the clinics, their experiences have been extremely rewarding. Therefore, I think that it's definitely a big part of the education at the school.

In summary, Loyola is proud of teaching its students to be good, practical lawyers. Dean Roberts explains:

Loyola is also distinguished by our track record to produce outstanding attorneys who have the ability to 'hit the ground running.' Our externship program, clinics, and centers provide excellent practical training. Our students learn legal theory in the classroom and then have an opportunity to see that theory at work in real settings.

Employment prospects

Generally, when students come to Loyola, they stay for the entire three years. In Loyola's last ABA report, it states that the 1L attrition rate was 11.5%. That number quickly drops for 2Ls (2.2%), 3Ls (0.5%), and fourth year evening students (0%). In addition, more students transfer into Loyola than transfer out. In the same report, it states that 48 students transferred into the law school, while only 11 transferred out.

The majority of Loyola students pass the bar the first time that they take it. For the entire three years, with 395 graduates taking the California bar exam for the first time, the passing rate was 77.22% (305 of 395). This is considerably higher than the state average for first-timers of 71.43%.

Luckily for prospective students, the school is very open about its recent employment statistics. The school gives the following data with a surprisingly high percentage of employment for the Class of 2009:

  All Day Evening
Total students 396 331 (83.59%) 65 (16.41%)
Employed 371 (93.69%) 308 (93.05%) 63 (96.92%)
Unemployed 21 (5.30%) 19 (5.74%) 2 (3.08%)
Seeking Advanced Degree 4 (1.01%) 4 (1.21%) 0

However, let's break down the data further to see where those 371 students managed to find jobs:

Type of Job Percentage of students
Private Practice Law Firms 63.34% (or 235 out of 371)
Public Interest 14.82% (or 55 out of 371)
Business and Industry 13.75% (or 51 out of 371)
Government 6.20% (or 23 out of 371)
Academic 1.89% (or 7 out of 371)

For most students looking to pay off their debt as quickly as possible, private practice law firms are the answer. With 63.34% of students reporting employment in this area, Loyola is looking pretty good. However, the size of the firm is also very important; generally, the bigger the firm, the more they pay. The school gives the following breakdown for those graduates who found law firm work:

Very large (100+) 31.49% (or 74 out of 235)
Large (51-100) 3.40% (or 8 out of 235)
Medium (26-50) 10.64% (or 25 out of 235)
Small (11-25) 12.34% (or 29 out of 235)
Very small (2-10) 36.60% (or 86 out of 235)
Solo (employed by) 2.98% (or 7 out of 235)
Solo (self-employed) 2.13% (or 5 out of 235)
Firm size unknown 0.43% (or 1 out of 235)

Finally, to complete the data, let's look at a sampling of the salary ranges for these different jobs. Although not all graduates reported their salaries, this gives a pretty good indication of what students should expect to make at various jobs:

  High Average Low Median
Law firms        
Very small (2-10) $100,000 $68,777 $40,000 $70,000
Small (11-25) $115,000 $74,450 $57,000 $70,000
Medium (26-50) $160,000 $97,688 $65,000 $85,750
Large (51-100) $160,000 $100,083 $65,000 $93,750
Very large (100+) $165,000 $149,268 $85,000 $160,000
Business and Industry $120,000 $67,538 $30,000 $62,000
Public Interest $55,776 $48,301 $40,000 $50,000
Government $80,000 $75,000 $70,000 $75,000
Judicial Clerkships $70,000 $59,091 $45,000 $60,000
Military $50,000 $50,000 $50,000 $50,000

So, job prospects out of Loyola are OK, but not great. With only 31.49% of students who found law firm work placing into the "very large firm" category (and only 18.69% of graduating students in general!), finding work that can pay off your student loans quickly might be tough. Note also that the category of law firm where the most students found work was the "very small firm" category, which pays only a median salary of $70,000. With Dean Roberts reporting that the "average debt for our graduates is just under $110,000," paying back this amount of debt will be difficult for those who don't land a job at a larger law firm. The economy is struggling at the moment, so attending Loyola at sticker price - especially with the very high cost of living in southern California - should be a decision that is thought over with great care. Students should place in the top 25% of their class if they want a shot at a high paying job at a large firm.

Perhaps the strongest element of Loyola's prospects is its huge alumni base. Since being founded in 1920, the school has graduated over 13,000 lawyers, most practicing in southern California. This large number of alumni will look favorably upon Loyola graduates and will help them find jobs in the area. Most graduates end up practicing in Los Angeles, San Diego, or Orange County. The school's most recent employment data confirms this: out of 367 graduates that reported their region, 356 respondents found jobs in California, 10 respondents found jobs out of state (AZ, DC, LA, MD, NV, NY, WA), and one respondent found a job in a foreign country. As quoted at the beginning of this article, Dean Roberts is confident that Loyola students will continue to have a place in the law market.

However, if you're near the bottom of your class, it will be very difficult to find employment after graduation. One prospective student remarked, "The school doesn't have a mandatory attrition rate (they don't weed out the bottom of the class) but, as the student guide said, there might be practical reasons to leave if you are that low in your class." In other words, make sure to work hard in law school! Placing near the bottom of your class will leave you with a mountain of debt and very few opportunities. One current student confirms that job prospects are not great:

I think the job prospects anywhere in California is bleak to say the least. I think at Loyola, you definitely need to be at the top half of your class to have any chance at landing a job before or right after graduation. As you can imagine, this makes the students that much more insane and competitive. Having said that, I think Loyola has a great reputation in Southern California and the fact that we have such supportive alums will definitely help recent grads in the job market. To be honest, outside of Los Angeles, I'm not sure Loyola has any real pull. Students, for the most part, are aware of that fact.

She further elaborated:

Job prospects are pretty much just as I expected. I know some recent grads who still don't have offers, but several students who landed jobs fairly quickly. As far as job prospects this summer, I am externing for a judge this summer, so as far as finding something substantial to do after my 1L year, I didn't have that much difficulty. In fact, I've ran into a number of Loyola students working at the federal courthouse in Los Angeles this summer. I do, however, know that a lot of students in my section still don't have anything to do this summer, and will most likely be taking classes instead.

Finally, students can make use of the Career Services Office at Loyola. The CSO offers all of the services that one would expect, including workshops & job fairs, resume & correspondence tips, and mock interviews. Most students who found employment (363 out of 371 or 97.84%) also reported the method in which they found their jobs:

Networking 26.72% (or 97 out of 363)
Career Services job posting or referral 23.14% (or 84 out of 363)
OCI 16.53% (or 60 out of 363)
Self-Initiated contact 11.02% (or 40 out of 363)
Commercial internet job site 4.96% (or 18 out of 363)
Returned to or continued with pre-law school employer 4.96% (or 18 out of 363)
Prior non summer job 2.75% (or 10 out of 363)
Started own practice/business 2.75% (or 10 out of 363)
Job fair 2.48% (or 9 out of 363)
Used temp placement agency or legal search consultant 0.55% (or 2 out of 363)
Targeted mailing 0.28% (or 1 out of 363)
Other (not specified) 3.86% (or 14 out of 363)

The days of relying on OCI seem to be over; almost half of employed students found their jobs either by networking or by career services.

Synopsis

In a market saturated with great schools, Loyola (Los Angeles) maintains a decently strong regional reputation. As the largest law school in California, the school has a network of alumni that will help recent graduates find jobs. There are plenty of extracurriculars to take part in as a student, and the campus and facilities (besides the nonexistent gym) are almost unanimously praised. Students interested in public interest work will find plenty of opportunities at Loyola to satisfy their passion for public work, including externships, clinics, and post graduate fellowships. Those interested in staying in the southern California market should consider Loyola as one of their top choices, so long as they receive significant financial aid.

Contact information

Office of Admissions
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.736.1074
http://www.lls.edu/admissions/
admissions@lls.edu

Quick reference

Loyola Law School Named in the Top Ten by the Princeton Review. Retrieved April 19, 2016
U.S. News Ranking: 56
LSAT Median: 160 full-time, 159 part-time (last ABA report)
GPA Median: 3.54 full-time, 3.44 part-time (last ABA report)
Entering Class Size: 339 full-time, 57 part-time (last ABA report)
Application Deadline: March 1st
Application fee: $65
Tuition: $41,840 (full-time), $27,600 (part-time)
Bar passage rate: 85.3%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 93.69% (with 100% reporting)

Loyola Law School
Loyola

Personal Statement

This is the part of the admissions packet where you are not just a number. Take advantage of this opportunity to state your case for admission to law school. See this guide for advice on how to proceed.

You should think of the personal statement as your opportunity to present that side of yourself that would come through in an interview. Although you should not gush uncontrollably about yourself, you should emphasize the events in your life that influenced you as a person and drew you to the study of law. Examples of topics most often addressed in statements include: selection of major, work or internship experience, obstacles overcome, educational background, motivation for the study of law, effect of disadvantage, family background, outstanding academic accomplishments, or significant extracurricular experiences. Remember to emphasize those things that will distinguish you from other candidates (e.g., significant employment, travel abroad, research projects, publication). Sell yourself.

Never emphasize defects in your record in the personal statement. If you want to explain a lower GPA or a low LSAT score, do so in a separate addendum. Be brief, factual, and honest.

Write in a direct, concrete fashion about real experiences, events, people and how they impacted you. Do not overuse adjectives and adverbs and do not use an abstract style. For example, if you mean "ball" say so; do not use the word "sphere" instead. Include anecdotal information to emphasize the point and make your statement more interesting to read. Do not, however, be cute. Essays that begin with a cliche -- such as, "If you were to look at my life, you would say it was an onion, each layer revealing my progressive individual development..." (this is an actual example) -- will turn the reader off.

How you write is as important as what you say. Do not turn in an essay that has not been proofread carefully. It is often helpful to read each sentence out loud to see if it sounds right. You should also carefully examine each paragraph to ensure that you are speaking to one particular topic or theme in each paragraph. Do not make a reader figure things out on their own or infer anything. Paragraphs in which critical information is not easily found are given very little if any further attention during the sometimes rapid reading accorded applications. Be sure to use separate paragraphs in order to signify transition from one topic to the next. Be clear, organized and reader friendly.

Limit yourself to around two double-spaced pages. A little over or under does not matter so long as you are being concise. Have a pre-law advisor or another trusted advisor review your personal statement.

Remember, the LSAT and undergraduate grade point average form the foundation of the admission evaluation process. A well-written personal statement might make an otherwise unimpressed admissions committee take another look.

For a few of examples of effective personal statements, take a look at these sample essays.

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