Hoosier law schools fall in U.S News rankings

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

After three consecutive years of climbing in the U.S. News and World Report’s law school rankings, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney tumbled in the latest tabulation released Tuesday.

Notre Dame Law School and Indiana University Maurer School of Law also slipped in the annual rankings, but not as far as IU McKinney. Valparaiso Law School, which is searching for a way to remain open under “severe financial challenges,” has retained its spot in the ranking-not-published category.

U.S. News annually calculates the rankings based on assessments by academics, lawyers and judges, median LSAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages as well as employment and bar passage rates.

The magazine’s top five law schools for 2019 are unchanged from the 2018 list. U.S. News ranked Yale University No. 1, followed by Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Chicago and Columbia University.

IU McKinney had steadily improved from the 102nd slot in the 2016 rankings to 88th place in the 2018 rankings. However, for 2019, the Indianapolis law school fell to 98th, tying with Stetson University and Wayne State University.

Notre Dame slumped to the 24th spot after moving from the 22nd position in the 2017 ranking to the 20th place last year. In the 2019 list, the South Bend law school was tied with George Washington University.

IU Maurer continued its year-to-year swing in the rankings. After jumping from 34th place to the 25th spot in the 2017 list, the Bloomington law school slid to the 30th position in the 2018 rankings. The downward trajectory continued for the 2019 rankings, although the decline was only two spaces to the 32nd position.

Also listed in the 32nd spot were The Ohio State University, University of Georgia, University of Washington and Wake Forest University.

The 2019 rankings also broke down additional data from each law school which showed that, among the Indiana law schools, Notre Dame graduates enjoyed the best outcome.

Looking at the class that graduated in 2016, the magazine reported that 62.8 percent from Notre Dame grads had a full-time, J.D.-required job. The data also showed that Notre Dame graduates pulled a median starting salary of $125,000 in the private sector and $58,000 in the public sector.

Of IU Maurer’s 2016 graduates, 56.5 percent had full-time, J.D.-required jobs at graduation. Their median starting salary for positions in the private sector was $100,000 and in public service was $47,018.

IU McKinney had an employment rate of 44.4 percent for the Class of 2016 at graduation. The graduates earned a median starting salary of $70,000 in the private sector and of $50,750 in public service jobs.

Valparaiso had 20 percent of its Class of 2016 employed at graduation. Median starting salaries for graduates of the northwestern Indiana law school were $65,000 in the private sector and $52,000 in the public sector.


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