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3 Indiana law schools ranked in top 80

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Two Indiana law schools have again been ranked in the top 25 law schools on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of top graduate schools, released today on the magazine’s website. A third Indiana law school placed in the top 100, and a fourth was ranked among other fourth tier schools.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Notre Dame Law School tied for 23rd. They also tied for 23rd in 2009. Last year, Notre Dame was ranked 22nd, and IU Maurer School of Law was ranked 27th. The law school in Bloomington was ranked seventh among public law schools.

Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis was ranked 79th, up from 86th in 2010. It also ranked eighth for legal writing programs, the only Indiana law school to place in the top 10 for various specialties the magazine ranked in 2011.

Indianapolis’ only law school’s ranking had been affected by changes in the methodology, which changed in 2009, to include part-time students’ information with full-time students. The school’s highest ranking in the last five years was in 2008, before the methodology change, when the school ranked 68th. That school’s part-time law program was not included among the part-time law schools in the 2011 rankings.

Valparaiso University School of Law’s ranking was among the fourth tier of law schools, as it has been in recent years.

The overall scores used for rankings are based on a weighted average of 12 measures, including median LSAT scores, acceptance rates, employment rates for graduates, bar passage rates, and student-faculty ratio. To be listed, law schools must be accredited and fully approved by the American Bar Association and draw a majority of its students from the U.S.

Nationwide, the list has received criticism from members of the legal community, including some law schools, saying it puts too much emphasis on LSAT scores and GPAs, adding that prospective students should look beyond these rankings to determine which school is their best match. Other studies and law school rankings do exist; at this time the U.S. News & World Report rankings are the most well-known.

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