In developing a strategic plan for Capital University Law School, we will remain dedicated to our mission: To strengthen society and our legal system by developing skilled lawyers who serve diverse communities well, promoting professionalism and ethics, and furthering discourse and knowledge.
We also remain committed to providing access to the legal profession for first-generation professionals, minorities and other underrepresented groups.
In addition to adhering to Capital Law’s mission and core values, the following foundational philosophies have been identified as critical for the strategic planning partnership as we begin our work in the coming months:
We must maintain our current high bar passage rate, which the Law School has improved so dramatically in the past few years. Bar passage is a fundamental benchmark for any law school, and we must develop and employ strategies that ensure we continue to excel in this area. Our graduates have done exceptionally well in recent years, and now Capital Law School is consistently above the state average for bar exam passage, but we must never lose sight of the importance of preparing our students for this fundamental, objective performance measurement.
We must provide a high-value education at a lower cost, without impacting the actual or perceived value of the education we are providing. We must deliver our product in a cost-effective manner. We must be efficient, market-aware and nimble enough to respond to the changing needs of the workplace.
In the past decade, tuition among Ohio law schools has increased by as much as 115 percent. This trend is not sustainable. Students already are stretched financially. They graduate with heavy debt loads and weak prospects for obtaining high-paying jobs. If we cannot hold the line on tuition increases, many students will question the advisability of investing in a legal education.
We must increase the market-readiness of our graduates by ensuring Capital Law alumni have the skills that make them assets to their prospective employers from the first day on the job.
Traditionally, a legal education has been built on a foundation of imparting knowledge of the law through rigorous scholarship. That remains vitally important, but is not sufficient to ensure success in the real world. We need to produce graduates who are both book smart and job ready. Today, we must adapt our curriculum to ensure a law school degree also encompasses an ability to apply scholarship from the classroom to real situations in real jobs in the real world.
We must foster a culture of innovation that places Capital Law School at the vanguard of legal education.
In the coming years, law schools must evolve because the world is in a period of mind-boggling transition. The economy is changing. The job market is changing. The needs of the workplace are changing. Legal education must change, too.
In recent years, Capital and other forward-thinking law schools have established clinical programs, internship and externship programs, and courses designed to provide practical skills every lawyer needs. Those skills include a grasp of basic business principles, negotiation, mediation, client interviewing, counseling, relationship building, team development, leadership and practice management techniques.
While we address many of these topics already in courses at Capital Law, we can and must do much more. Without sacrificing the quality of the essential legal training we already are providing, we can enrich our students’ law school experience by adding depth to our curriculum. As a result, employers will recognize the added value a degree from Capital Law ensures and the employability of our graduates will be improved.