ND improves but IU law schools fall in annual rankings

Only one Indiana law school received good news with Tuesday’s release of the annual law school rankings.

US News & World Report has announced the 2016 Best Law Schools, a yearly ranking which brings headaches to law school deans and usually unleashes a fresh wave of criticism on the ranking’s methodology. Schools may hate the listing but they cannot ignore it since many potential students give great weight to the scores when deciding where to enroll.

For the University of Notre Dame Law School, the 2016 ranking put the institution back into the top 25 in the country. The Fighting Irish were placed at No. 26 in last year’s 2015 rankings but have since jumped four spaces to No. 22. It has company at its new location, sharing the spot with George Washington University and the universities of Alabama and Iowa.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law slipped to No. 34 in the 2016 rankings. This continues the Bloomington school’s drop in the listings from being ranked at No. 25 in the 2014 survey and No. 29 in the 2015 survey.

Also ranked at No. 34 was Boston College, Brigham Young University, Fordham University, Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law dropped to No. 102, joining Florida International University and Rutgers at that spot. The fall comes after the Indianapolis school improved from No. 98 in the 2014 rankings to No. 87 last year.

IU McKinney also fell out of the top 10 in the subcategories of legal writing and health law.

Valparaiso University School of Law remained in the Rank Not Published category.

The magazine ranks law schools on a combination of factors including assessments by lawyers and judges, median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA, bar passage, and student-faculty ratio. Notably, the publication changed the way it evaluated job placement after graduation. Now, less weight is being given to employment if the jobs are funded by the law school or university.  

Yale University remained at No. 1 while Harvard University and Stanford University tied at No. 2 and Columbia University joined the University of Chicago at No. 4.


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