A sound filled the lobby of Kennedy Hall on the morning of August 11 that hasn’t been heard in almost a year and a half: the bustle and chatter of law students. Those new 1Ls who were excitedly anticipating the beginning of the Chapman University Fowler School of Law’s Launch Week activities comprise an incoming class that is academically the strongest and the most diverse in the law school’s history.

With a median LSAT score of 160 and undergraduate GPA of 3.60, this class continues five years of progressive gains in new student credentials for the Fowler School of Law—among one of the greatest increases in the nation. Additionally, the law school’s commitment to fostering greater inclusion and equity in the legal profession is reflected in the makeup of the class, with a record 53% of incoming students coming from diverse backgrounds and 28% of the class being first-generation college students.

“The composition of this class reflects both the dynamism of our law school and the bright future of the legal profession,” said Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow. “Not only will these students go on to become strong lawyers who will pursue justice in its many forms, but their diverse backgrounds and experiences will in turn lead to a more just and equitable legal system.”

The 156 new students hail from 17 states, seven foreign countries, and 69 undergraduate institutions, where they earned degrees across 40 different majors. Among these students—who speak nine languages—are a former Major League Baseball player, Division 1 and Division 3 college athletes, a former mayoral candidate, the founder of a real estate company, and members of the military.

The increase in class credentials and diversity build on an upward trajectory the Fowler School of Law has been experiencing for many years. This year, the law school was once again ranked in the Top 20 of preLaw Magazine’s “Best Law Schools for Practical Training,” and the Fowler School of Law’s student competition teams placed fourth in the entire nation in the 2020-2021 ABA Competitions Championship. All of this has prepared Fowler School of Law alumni to be ready for the job on day one—as reflected in the record rates of employment its graduates have seen over the last two years.

“We’re proud that our focus on practice-ready education has not only prepared our graduates to hit the ground running as lawyers, but that it has also received national recognition,” Parlow said. “I am excited to see this newest class of students also become a part of our continued progress.”