Best Value law schools for 2011 dominated by public schools

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Twenty-one law schools made the list of Best Value law schools that were not on the honor roll last year, preLaw magazine announced on Aug. 22. Seven of those 21 law schools have never been on the honor roll, including City University of New York, University of Baltimore, and University of Utah.

This is the fifth time since 2004 that the magazine has honored law schools for providing a good value, with 60 being included on this year’s list. The methodology was modified this year to enhance fairness.

In the past, a law school needed a better bar pass rate than it’s state average to be included on the list. This year, the magazine used a two year average for both bar pass rate and percent of students employed, and it did not automatically exclude a school that did not meet the bar pass standard or a tuition or employment standard.

“In past years a school could be included one year and excluded the next year due to slight fluctuations in their bar pass rate,” said Jack Crittenden, editor of preLaw and National Jurist magazines. “This year’s changes are designed to penalize a school for poor bar exam performance, but not to exclude them outright.”

The City University of New York benefited from the changes. In the past it was excluded due to a bar exam pass rate that was below its state average. This year it made the list, buttressed by a very low tuition and student indebtedness.

“It’s bar pass rates definitely lowered its final grade,” Crittenden said. “But it still made the list, and is deserving of a best value designation.”

The magazine’s ranking takes into account in-state tuition, debt and the percent of graduates employed nine months after graduation, in addition to bar passage.

Over the years, the rating has seen changes in the types of schools that make the honor roll.

“In 2004 and 2007, there were a decent number of private schools on the honor roll,” Crittenden said. “BYU, Faulkner University and Willamette are the only private schools left on the list. Private tuition has just increased by too much to consider the schools a good value.”

The magazine will not release the final ranking and grades of the 60 honorees until the Fall issue, which ships in early October.

The top 60 Best Value law schools in alphabetical order (* designates first year on honor roll; # designates returnee that was not on 2010 honor roll):

Arizona State University
Brigham Young University
*City University of New York School of Law
Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law
Florida International University College of Law
Florida State University College of Law
George Mason University School of Law
Georgia State University College of Law
#Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis
*Inter-American University School of Law
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center
#Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law
#Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
#Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey- School of Law-Camden
*Southern University Law Center
Temple University- James E. Beasley School of Law
Texas Tech University School of Law
#University of Akron School of Law
University of Alabama School of Law
University of Arizona
#University of Arkansas At Little Rock
#University of Arkansas School of Law
*University of Baltimore School of Law
#University at Buffalo Law School (SUNY)
*University of Cincinnati College of Law
University of Colorado Law School
University of Connecticut School of Law
University of Florida, Frederic G. Levin College of Law
University of Georgia School of Law
#University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Houston Law Center
University of Iowa College of Law
University of Kansas School of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law
University of Maryland School of Law
University of Memphis- Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Law
#University of Montana School of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of New Mexico School of Law
University of North Carolina School of Law
University of North Dakota School of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
University of South Carolina School of Law
#University of South Dakota School of Law       
University of Tennessee College of Law
University of Texas School of Law
University of Toledo College of Law
*University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
University of Washington School of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
#University of Wyoming College of Law
#Wake Forest University
#Washburn University School of Law
*West Virginia University College of Law
Willamette University School of Law
William and Mary Law School

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