Indiana law schools decline in US News 2021 rankings

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The annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best law schools in the country brought disappointing results for Indiana as all three law schools still being ranked fell in their positions.

Indiana University’s two law schools posted the biggest declines in the 2021 U.S. News rankings while Notre Dame Law School slipped but was still within the range of where it has been consistently ranked for the previous few years.

The tumble was led by Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, which took a nosedive to the 122nd place in the 2021 rankings, down from the 108th position in the 2020 rankings. The Indianapolis institution also fell among part-time programs to the 40th slot from the 30th.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law dropped to the 38th slot from the 34th position in last year’s tally of full-time programs. Meanwhile, Notre Dame was ranked 22nd, a dip from 21st place the year prior. 

Yale University, Stanford University and Harvard University occupied the top three slots, respectively.

Valparaiso Law School is no longer included in the survey since it is no longer accepting students and has announced plans to close in the summer of 2020. 

Andrew Klein, dean of IU McKinney, said he was disappointed in his law school’s ranking but does not believe the number accurately reflects the quality of programming provided by the Indianapolis institution. He said he is unsure why IU McKinney fell in the rankings, noting the school’s reputational score given by academic peers and members of the legal community is unchanged from last year and the median LSAT score has ticked up by a point.

“Clearly the number doesn’t reflect what we are doing,” Klein said. “We’re proud of our program and we’re proud of providing the most lawyers in Indiana.”

IU Maurer declined to comment. Notre Dame did not respond to a request for comment by IL deadline.

U.S. News ranks the 194 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association based on a weighted average of 12 measures. These measures include assessment scores by peers in academia as well as judges and lawyers, median LSAT and GRE scores, median undergraduate GPA and bar passage, as well as job placement. The data for the 2021 rankings was collected in the fall of 2019 and early 2020.

Both IU McKinney and IU Maurer have been declining in recent rankings. From the 2018 to the 2019 listings, IU McKinney slumped from the 88th place to 98th while IU Maurer slipped from 30th to 32nd.

Notre Dame also declined from the 20th position to the 24th. 

The 2021 rankings also included specialty programs. Programs and rankings by Hoosier law schools are as follows:

Dispute Resolution

  • 56th IU Maurer and Notre Dame

Clinical Training

  • 44th Notre Dame
  • 82nd IU Maurer
  • 86th IU McKinney

Environmental Law

  • 31st IU Maurer
  • 55th Notre Dame
  • 85th IU McKinney

Health Care Law

  • 15th IU McKinney
  • 40th IU Maurer
  • 102nd Notre Dame

Intellectual Property Law

  • 21st IU Maurer
  • 25th Notre Dame
  • 85th IU McKinney

International Law

  • 28th IU Maurer and Notre Dame
  • 83rd IU McKinney

Legal Writing

  • 24th IU McKinney
  • 51st IU Maurer
  • 76th Notre Dame

Trial Advocacy

  • 25th Notre Dame
  • 78th IU Maurer
  • 121st IU McKinney

Tax Law

  • 20th IU Maurer
  • 45th Notre Dame
  • 98th IU McKinney

Business – Corporation Law

  • 23rd IU Maurer
  • 37th Notre Dame
  • 95th IU McKinney

Contracts – Commercial Law

  • 23rd IU Maurer
  • 34th Notre Dame
  • 81st IU McKinney

Criminal Law

  • 43rd IU Maurer and Notre Dame
  • 111th IU McKinney

Constitutional Law

  • 18th Notre Dame
  • 44th IU Maurer
  • 83rd IU McKinney

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