campus news

Growing 3+3 program provides fast track to law school

Rear view of a law professor standing at the bottom of a theatre-style classroom.

Students in the 3+3 program who meet all the program requirements can enroll in law school a year early.


Published April 9, 2024

“It’s a win-win situation. The students save a year of tuition, and the law school then is able to enroll these high-achieving, motivated students as well. ”
Lindsay Gladney, vice dean for admissions
School of Law

Life is unpredictable, but the best-laid plans have a way of working out.

That’s been true for first-year UB law student Gavin Zmuda '26, who skipped his senior year as a UB undergraduate, studying political science and history, to segue seamlessly into law school. He’s one of a growing number of UB law students who are benefiting from the school’s 3+3 program, in which students from UB and partner institutions begin law school in what would otherwise be the senior year of their undergraduate education.

It’s an arrangement that gives students a fast track to legal education and gives the School of Law the opportunity to welcome motivated scholars with strong academic records.

“I felt like law was the perfect intersection between history and politics, and law school seemed like the natural progression for me,” Zmuda says. “And financially, this makes a ton of sense. You save a year of undergraduate tuition, which is huge, and you get a head start on your career. I’ll be 24 and hopefully a fully licensed attorney, so I’ll be a year ahead of everyone else.”

Through the 3+3 program, the law school draws potential students from UB and 10 partner institutions, including a new partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology. The partners are both public and private universities and colleges, all in New York State. 

“We definitely wanted to target our top feeder schools,” says Lindsay Gladney, vice dean for admissions, “institutions where we already have a pipeline and a strong cohort of students we thought would take advantage of this opportunity.”

And the yield from these arrangements continues to grow. Enrollment coming from the 3+3 program has been about a half-dozen students annually, Gladney says. This fall, she expects a cohort of 10 or so — a number that should continue to rise as students in partner schools work their way through the undergraduate years.

“It’s a win-win situation,” she says. “The students save a year of tuition, and the law school then is able to enroll these high-achieving, motivated students as well.”  

Students typically enroll in the program as undergraduate freshmen, and work with a pre-law adviser at the partner school to make sure all the coursework for the bachelor’s degree is completed in three years. To be admitted to the UB law school, students need to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or better, and test above the median LSAT or GRE score of the previous year’s UB Law entering class. 

And beyond their undergraduate adviser, students in the program get plenty of attention from their future law school. The point person for that effort is Benjamin Rogers, assistant director of admissions. 

“Most students don’t have a clear idea of what the path to law school looks like, and it can be hard to navigate,” Rogers explains. “This program allows them to connect with our office early on and allows for community building, so they feel comfortable coming to the law school.” 

Working with the students’ undergraduate advisers, Rogers makes sure they know when they need to register for the LSAT and nudges them to stay on track with an intensive three years of coursework. And he invites them to O’Brian Hall, including for a reception in the spring that brings 3+3 students together with UB Law professors and administrators, advisers and UB department directors — all to reassure students that they chose the right path and introduce them to the UB Law community. 

Typically, Rogers says, those opting into the program know from the start that they’re aiming toward law school. “They have their plans set and they’re working to get every requirement done,” he says. “They’re very diligent in that way.” Some, he says, even start their undergraduate career with so many Advanced Placement credits from high school that they can knock off the bachelor’s degree in two years and proceed directly to law school.  

For Zmuda, support from the admissions office made the path that much easier. He says he especially benefited from information about and access to LSAT workshops.” That was really helpful to get me on the right track,” he says.  

And, he adds, the 3+3 program came with a bonus. Because so much is packed into those three undergraduate years, he learned top-notch, time-management skills — a key element of law school success.