As we embark on our new school year, we take stock of the excellent year we just finished. Just a few of these highlights are included below. Please click the links in red for more information.

Moving Up in the Rankings

Denver Law continues to climb in US News & World Report law school rankings.

  • Our overall ranking is #64, up from #69 last year, #77 the year before, and #80 the prior year. In three years, we have moved up 16 spots, and in five years, we have moved up 24 spots.
  • Four of our specialty programs were nationally ranked: Clinical Programs (#15), Environmental (#17), Advocacy (#9, up two spots from last year), and Legal Writing (#11, up five spots from last year).
  • Our part time program is ranked #12, up one spot from last year.
  • Our Externship Program was ranked #8 in the nation by preLaw Magazine.

While it is important to keep rankings such as this in perspective, our consistent upward movement suggests that people are noticing all of the great work that we are doing in implementing our strategic plan.

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Most Innovative Law Schools

Denver Law Featured Prominently in preLaw’s 25 Most Innovative Ideas in Legal Education.
Three of our latest initiatives (our Experiential Advantage Curriculum™, our new Legal Residency Program, and our Law Jobs: By the Numbers™ calculator – each discussed below) were featured in preLaw’s list of the 25 Most Innovative Ideas in Legal Education.

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New Curriculum

Denver Law Launches Experiential Advantage Curriculum™
This fall the University of Denver Sturm College of Law launched its new Experiential Advantage Curriculum™, which will allow students to spend a full year of their law school career in real or simulated practice settings. By the time they graduate, students will have a year’s worth of legal practice experience (in clinics, externships, and in-depth course simulations). This Curriculum marks a major milestone of our strategic plan, and helps us achieve our goal of producing graduates who are truly practice-ready. Employers have given this curriculum rave reviews.

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University of Denver Launches New 6-Year BA/BS/JD Joint Degree Program
With an increasing focus on the cost of higher education and reducing the amount of money and time individuals spend on their formal education, the University of Denver now offers a joint degree program in which students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years instead of the typical seven.

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Major Gift Supports New Curriculum

Announcing the Mulligan Burleson Chair in Modern Learning
This past year the University of Denver Sturm College of Law received a gift that will help Denver Law transform the very way law is taught, and assist in developing graduates who are ready to provide value to employers and clients, straight out of law school. The $2.25 million gift from Denver Law alumni James “Jim” Mulligan, JD ’74, and Joan Burleson, JD ’85, will endow the Mulligan Burleson Chair in Modern Learning, which will lead the school’s drive toward integrating experiential learning across the curriculum.

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New Post-Graduate Initiatives

DU & CU Partner on New Legal Residency Program
The University of Denver Sturm College of Law, in partnership with the University of Colorado Law School, is piloting a new legal training program called the Legal Residency Program, modeled after medical residencies. Graduates in this pilot program will get 12-18 months of on the job training with individually tailored learning plans at Denver area law firms and legal departments.

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Denver Law Launches New Solo Incubator
We have launched a new Solo Incubator for new graduates in solo practice. Denver Law has partnered with LawBank to provide an environment that permits new solos to learn from experienced solos and an on-site ethicist. The law school also started a new Solo Alumni Network, which provides rapid response alumni mentoring for our new solos.

Smaller Class Size

Entering Class Size
For the 2013 entering class, we targeted and achieved an entering class size of 290 – a 23% reduction from five years ago, when our class size was 380. Our 2012 Student/Faculty ratio was below 10:1. This improves our ability to provide the finest education to our students.

In a year in which applications were down nation-wide and a large number of schools saw a decrease in the quality of their incoming classes, the quality of our student body has held very close to steady. This is a testament to the value provided by a Denver Law education.

Smaller Sections, Smaller Classes
For the 2013 entering class, we have increased our number of sections from four to five. This means that the largest class 1L classes will contain only 62-63 students. And in each semester, most of our 1L students will have 2 classes of 62-63 students, one class of 31-32 students, and one class 16-18 students. This improves the learning environment and allows our professors to provide more personal attention to each of our students.

Strong Bar Passage

90% Pass Rate
Denver Law’s combined July 2012/February 2013 pass rate of 90% and 6 percentage point margin above the state average pass rate are the highest in modern memory. This is represents a massive improvement from just five years ago, when our combined pass rate was 68%, and 7.4% below the state average. Our bar passage initiatives are working. (Denver Law was featured in a National Jurist article on “Bar Exam Turnaround.”)

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Excellent Employment Outcomes

Class of 2012 Employment Statistics
We are pleased to report that 90.5% of the members of Denver Law’s JD Class of 2012 who sought employment were employed in professional positions as of February 15, 2013. (Our 90.5% employment rate compares favorably to a national rate of 86.4% using the same formula.) Moreover, 77% of the professional jobs obtained by the class of 2012 were full time, long-term positions, an improvement of about 4% over the class of 2011. These figures represent significant progress for Denver Law graduates in a job market that is still recovering from the Great Recession.

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Law Jobs Calculator
We remain committed to accuracy and transparency in our job reporting. For the third year in a row, we subjected our employment report to an independent audit.

And this year, we launched Denver Law Jobs: By the Numbers™. With just a few simple clicks, users can calculate Denver Law’s JD employment rate in the way that is tailored to the users own values. They can calculate our employment rate using formulas that are commonly applied by organizations such as US News, NALP, Law School Transparency, and National Jurist. Alternatively, users can design their own employment formulas to focus on the employment outcomes that matter most to them. For those who want to compare law schools’ JD employment rates using the formula of their choice, we partnered with IAALS to create Law Jobs: By the Numbers (“Law Jobs”).

Diversity Initiatives Grow

Our $1.5 million in Yegge Scholarships has strengthened our diversity. Our pipeline projects – including our partnership with the Denver Urban Debate League and our low-cost LSAT prep program – are laying a strong foundation for improving diversity in our profession. In addition to our pipeline initiatives for future law students, this year, we were proud to host an important pipeline initiative for law professors: the Langston Writing Workshop for African American male law professors.

New & Visiting Faculty

During the 2012/2013 academic year, Denver Law welcomed four new faculty members including Professor Michael Siebecker from the University of Florida College of Law. He was joined by Assistant Professor Kevin Lynch, formerly the law school’s Environmental Law Clinical Fellow, as well as Katherine Caldwell and John Campbell, both lecturers in our Lawyering Process Program. Denver Law also had numerous visiting faculty members last year: Kelly Brewer (lecturer); Megan Doberneck (lecturer); Professor Michael Duff; Lisa Greybill (lecturer); Matt Lister (lecturer); Professor Nicole Porter; and Professor Mark Sidel, along with fellows Katina Banks and Kelly Davis. Learn more about our new faculty and last year’s visitors here.

This year we welcome Assistant Professor Margaret Kwoka and Alexi Freeman (lecturer). Freeman will teach in our Legal Externship Program as well as serve as the new director of Denver Law’s Public Interest Program. We also have many outstanding visiting faculty members for the 2013/2014 academic year: David Akerson (lecturer); Kelly Brewer (lecturer); Dean Penny Bryan; Professor Emeritus John Capowski; Civil Rights Clinical Fellow Lauren Fontana; Visiting Assistant Professor César Garcia Hernandez; Professor Jackie Gardina; Visiting Associate Professor Lisa McElroy; Visiting Assistant Professor Colleen O’Laughlin; Susannah Pollvogt (lecturer); Visiting Assistant Professor Chris Roberts; Visiting Assistant Professor Greg Shill; and Whiting Clinical Fellow Jack Wroldsen.

Vibrant Intellectual Life

The College of Law continues to be a hub of vibrant intellectual activity.

In October, the University hosted the first of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Debates.

Denver Law hosted exciting conferences on cutting edge issues, including a colloquium on international law and human security and a symposium celebrating the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark Denver desegregation case, Keyes v. School District No. 1. In addition, the faculty welcomed prestigious speakers from other law schools, government, and public interest groups, including Orly Lobel from the University of San Diego School of Law, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, Professor Evan Lee from Hastings College of Law, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, SEC Commissioner Troy Paredes, and our fifth annual Faculty Scholar-in-Residence, Associate Dean and Professor Vikram Amar from U.C. Davis Law School.


View our Intellectual Life publication online to learn more about recent activities at Denver Law:

  • Scholarly Publications
  • Faculty Scholar-in-Residence Program
  • Centers of Excellence Keynote Speakers
  • Faculty Colloquia Series
  • Conferences

We look forward to another exciting year.


Martin J. Katz
Dean and Professor of Law