Law School Discussion

JMLS academic dismissal policies - what they don't tell you

Hello prospective JMLS students.  This school is a decent enough school, but beware their academic dismissal policy as it has stung me and will sting 35-40 other students each year....

Here are the One L academic dismissals by school (Illinois schools) taken from the ABA official information:

University of Chicago: 0
chicago-kent: 11
Depaul: 10
U of I: 0
Loyola: 0
NIU: 3
Northwestern: 0
Southern Illinois: 5
total: 29

John Marshall: 36

You read that right - John Marshall dismisses more students than all of the other law schools in the state of Illinois combined.
Perhaps it's because of their lowered admission standards, perhaps it's because they are trying to get their ranking up, and perhaps it's because of any other myriad of reasons.  The fact remains and the numbers don't lie.  John Marshall Law School dismisses students for academic reasons at a rate equal to three times their closest peer school and outpaces all other law schools in Illinois combined.
Be aware - and consider other schools carefully.  If you do go here, know that there is a chance that, based on a single test, you could be academically dismissed.  JMLS is still the flunk out farm that they've been known for. 
US News and World Report bases their rankings on several factors and while JMLS seems to be most concerned with bar passage rates, they are completely ignoring the part of the USNAWR ranking system that the students are involved in. 
I'm not saying it's a bad school and I'm not discouraging anyone from attending.  All I am doing is what the administration won't: being honest about their dismal academic dismissal rate (which hovers every year between 10 and 20% of incoming students).

Re: JMLS academic dismissal policies - what they don't tell you
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2008, 01:36:16 AM »
Man, that sucks. 

Not that I think 4th tier schools should people in that aren't successful... but your life would be much better now if they just didn't let you in in the first place.

Roughly $26,000 better.

Re: JMLS academic dismissal policies - what they don't tell you
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2008, 09:31:49 AM »
It is a bit shameful that T4 law schools take the "ignorance is bliss" approach when it comes to their students. The problem is that if the schools laid out the harsh statistics regarding attrition rates and employment opportunities before you paid your tuition, then many prospective students would be dissuaded from attending altogether.

That being said, anyone attending a T4 school who does his/her proper research beforehand should not be shocked by the idea that up to 20% of students might fail out after their first year. A simple look at attrition rates and a phone call to inquire about the 1L curve and potential 2L/3L curves is enough to put a prospective student on notice. And just like the bottom 20% might fail out, the top 30% at most T4 schools have the possibility of transferring out.

If you're in the "danger zone" (i.e. LSAT in bottom 25% percentile for entering students) at a T4 school then my best advice is should go into your first year with a chip on your shoulder and realize that going to class and doing the readings is not enough. Unless you completely lack an aptitude for understanding the law, there's no reason why a student who does the following would flunk out: (1) does all the readings and makes adequate case briefs (2) goes to class (3) attempts practice problems and gets feedback from professors (4) reads hornbooks to grasp concepts they don't understand and incorporate those materials into their final course outline (5) gets a hold of outlines made by past successful students and uses them as a guideline to create theirs, and not a substitute (6) chooses to study with others who work hard as opposed to their friends that they go out and get drunk with (7) adequately prepares during finals period and (8 does not procrastinate.

If you do all of the above, by the time you get to an exam, there's no reason why you would have a bad day. You would have at a bare minimum a decent understanding of the issues, the facts that trigger those issues/rules/exceptions, and a good understanding of what kind of analysis each professor is looking for. IMO, the students at the T4 school I attended who flunked out half-assed the readings, screwed around on the internet during class, never attempted practice problems, made crappy outlines or asked others for their course outlines instead of trying to create their own, and waited until the last minute to finish legal writing memos.

Re: JMLS academic dismissal policies - what they don't tell you
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2008, 09:43:17 AM »
Yeah, I don't completely get what the fuss is about attrition rates either.  I mean 20 years ago there were attrition rates like that at almost every law school in the country.

Re: JMLS academic dismissal policies - what they don't tell you
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 10:59:05 PM »
Hey Nachas,
   I'm in your same boat.  I went to JMLS, not knowing these policies.  You should send me an email, I'd be interested to discuss what the best strategy is for a person in our shoes. 

- AJ  e: 

Re: JMLS academic dismissal policies - what they don't tell you
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2008, 09:10:22 AM »
Or you could not be the bottom 36 students in your class, I mean come on.  Is this for real?  First off, you shouldn't have went to a 4th tier toilet like JMU, but let's say you had a good reason (though I can't think of any).  Then you go, and you are going to whine that if you end up in the very bottom of your class you could be kicked out?