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Notre Dame, McKinney up, Maurer down in US News rankings

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Although deans consistently disparage the annual rankings, the U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Law Schools may have given Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law reason to cheer.

The Indianapolis institution jumped to 88th place, up from 100th place on 2017 list and 102nd place in 2016. It tied with Brooklyn Law School, St. Louis University and University of South Carolina in the annual rankings released Tuesday.

U.S. News examined all 197 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association. The rankings are based on 12 factors including median LSAT and GRE scores, employment rate, bar passage rate and assessment scores from lawyers and judges.

University of Notre Dame Law School also took a step up to the 20th slot after placing 22nd the previous two years. The South Bend school was tied with the University of Iowa.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law stayed on the roller coaster. In the current list, it slid to the 30th place, tying with George Washington University, Ohio State University, University of Georgia, University of Washington and University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Bloomington school sank to 34th place in 2016 then leaped to the 25th slot in the 2017 rankings.

Valparaiso University School of Law remained in the “Ranking Not Published” category. Indiana Tech Law School, which has provisional accreditation but has announced plans to close in June, was not included in the rankings.

The top three spots on the list were occupied by Yale University, Stanford University and Harvard University, respectively.

Within the specialty rankings, IU McKinney and IU Maurer had strong showings.

IU McKinney’s health law program placed 12th and its legal writing curriculum was 15th. IU Maurer’s tax law program was ranked 23rd, international and environmental law was 25th and intellectual property law was 27th.

The U.S. News rankings also looked at the cost of attending each accredited law school and graduate indebtedness.     

IU McKinney, with an enrollment of 816 (519 full-time students and 297 part-time students), charges in-state full-time students $26,379 annually in tuition and fees. Among its 2016 graduates, 91 percent of the class had debt and the average amount owed was $105,065.

IU Maurer has an enrollment of 525 and sets tuition and fees for in-state full-time students at $32,551 annually. A total of 74 percent of the 2016 graduates had debt with the average indebtedness being $99,895.

Notre Dame has a total of 599 students and costs $54,297 each year in tuition and fees. The average amount of debt for the 2016 graduates was $123,924 with 75 percent of the class leaving school with debt.

Valparaiso Law School has 328 students and charges $40,372 each year in tuition and fees. Of the 2016 graduating class, 95 percent had debt and the average indebtedness was $136,765.

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