Best Value law schools offer even more value in 2017

While legal education overall inched away from value, the 60 law school’s on this year’s list of Best Value law schools offered more value than last year’s top schools. 

The schools, mostly public law schools in the Midwest and South, saw improved employment numbers and lower debt, even as bar exam pass rates were not as strong. Of the 201 law schools in the analysis, we honor 44 with an A or A- and 16 with a B+. Last year two fewer, 58, were honored. 

“There is a greater separation of the top schools and the rest of the pack than in prior years,” said Jack Crittenden, Editor In Chief of The National Jurist and preLaw magazine, which compile the study. "These schools showed stronger employment numbers and lower debt, on the whole."

The ranking looks at tuition, living expenses, debt, employment rate and bar passage rates for the two most recent years available.

Nine law schools were added to the honor roll this year that were not on it last year. 

Rutgers University placed the highest, ranking in the top 25.  This was the first year it was considered, as Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers- Newark merged in 2015. Penn State University – Dickinson Law also made the list for the first time.  It separated from Penn State University in University Park, Penn. In 2014.

Lincoln Memorial University joined the list for the first time. It received provisional approval from the ABA in 2014, and its placement was an impressive showing for a school that had once been denied accreditation partly due to concerns about graduate employment.  

Other schools to join the list include CUNY School of Law, University of Maine, University of Illinois and Northern Kentucky Chase College of Law 

Two private school’s also rejoined the list — Washington & Lee University and University of Richmond.

Seven schools fell off the honor roll this year: Boston University, George Mason University, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, University of Akron, UCLA Law, University of North Dakota, University of Washington.

A story with the complete ranking and grades will be published in the Fall issue of The National Jurist, due out in late October. A version will also appear in the Fall issue of preLaw magazine.