Building on already unprecedented momentum, Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law rose 21 spots in the annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Schools” Rankings, to 111—the largest increase of all California law schools this year, and of all U.S. law schools the last two years.
“External recognition like this reinforces the tremendous work being done here by our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters alike,” said Matthew J. Parlow, dean of the law school. “I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished together in making the Fowler School of Law a dynamic place that is on the move.”
In addition to the dramatic rise in overall rank for the school, four of the Fowler School of Law’s programs are ranked in the Top 100 of U.S. News & World Report’s Law School Specialty Rankings: Constitutional Law, Dispute Resolution, Tax Law, and Trial Advocacy.
The latest rankings come in the wake of sharp gains in incoming class credentials that Fowler Law has seen over the last few years—the largest of any U.S. law school from 2016 to 2019. In that period, the median LSAT score of incoming students increased three full points, from 155 to 158, and the median undergraduate GPA increased by a quarter point, from 3.24 to 3.49.
At the same time, the law school has not only maintained but increased its commitment to providing a personalized legal education. Fowler Law’s student-to-faculty ratio is now 6.5-to-1, one of the lowest in the nation, and its practice-oriented curriculum once again earned accolades from preLaw magazine as one of its Top Schools for Practical Training—as well as being recognized as a Top School for both Alternative Dispute Resolution and Family Law.
This year, the Princeton Review also included Fowler Law in its 2020 “Best Law Schools,” ranking the law school 82nd overall, as well as in the Top 50 for the “Academic Experience” and “Professors: Accessibility” categories. In addition, a recent study found that Fowler Law ranks 76th of all U.S. law schools for the academic impact of its faculty’s scholarship. And the school’s students continue to shine as well: Fowler Law’s competition teams were ranked 5th among U.S. Law Schools in the 2019 ABA Competitions Championship.
A Community Effort
The community has also recognized Fowler Law’s rise and is actively contributing to it. In the last three years, the law school has received four separate $1 million-plus gifts. These donations and other financial support have supported expansions of the school’s academic achievement, bar preparation, and student competition programs; underwritten professorships and scholarships; and funded numerous facilities improvements, including a cutting-edge transformation of the Wylie A. Aitken Trial Courtroom, the development of a brand-new Center for Student Engagement, and a modernization of the Sam & Ash Student Lounge.
“This incredible support has helped us elevate many of our signature programs in support of our students, and we have received national recognition because of these efforts,” Parlow said. “These gifts recognize not just the accomplishments of our law school, but the potential we have to take our work with students to the next level.”