Indiana University Maurer School of Law jumped up nine places in the 2017 national law school rankings, the only Hoosier law school to make such a significant move in the latest list compiled by U.S. News & World Report.
The Bloomington school is currently ranked 25th among the nation’s best law schools overall, along with law schools at George Washington University and Arizona State University. Also, IU Maurer was eighth among public law schools. In 2016, the institution was 34th overall and at the 29th position in 2015.
“We’re pleased that we’re moving in the right direction,” IU Maurer Dean Austen Parrish said.
The annual list can stir ire among law school deans who argue the methodology is flawed and Parrish agreed with that sentiment, saying he does not get too discouraged when the ranking falls nor does he get too excited when the ranking rises. However, he noted while IU Maurer does not think the rankings fully reflect the school, it is nice when the rankings confirm what the faculty believes is the quality of the program.
In the specialty categories, IU Maurer ranked 18th for international law, 20th for tax law and 23rd for intellectual property law.
U.S. News released the rankings late in the day on March 15. The news magazine assessed 196 accredited law schools on the basis of 12 factors including median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA plus placement and bar passage rate along with expenditure per student and student-faculty ratio.
Other Indiana law schools were ranked as follows:
• Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law nudged up to 100th from 102nd one year ago. Also, the Indianapolis school continued its strong showing among health care law programs, ranking 11th in the country.
• University of Notre Dame School of Law remained in the 22nd slot. The South Bend school tied with law schools at Emory University and University of Minnesota.
• Valparaiso University Law School stayed in the Rank Not Published category.
Indiana Tech Law School in Fort Wayne, which just receive provisional accreditation, was not evaluated.
Parrish characterized last year’s drop to 34th place as an aberration and that the school’s position in the mid-20s is more accurate. This year’s placement is likely the result of small improvements in a couple of areas, he said, including hiring well-credentialed faculty, recruiting academically strong students and better assisting graduates in finding employment.
Even though law schools disparage the rankings, they contend they have to pay attention to their position because potential students give the numbers a lot of weight. Parrish said students still watch the US News annual list but over the past five years, other factors like the location of the school are growing in importance.