Number of “Best Value” Law Schools Up


National Jurist Releases List of Best Value Law Schools


So where do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

When it comes to law school, you may want to check out the “A Team” – the University of Alabama and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville – which ranked #1 and #2 in National Jurist’s 2013 ranking of the “Best Value” law schools. While the 2014 rankings are still three months away, National Jurist has published the names of the schools that will be included on the list.

When it comes to value, law school numbers are swelling. This year, 53 schools were listed as having the best value, up from 47 last year. Moreover, private schools have improved by keeping costs down and placement high, with six schools (Brigham Young University, Baylor University, Boston College,  Duquesne University, the University of Notre Dame, and Ohio Northern University) cracking the list of 53. Last year, only Brigham Young University was included.

So what constitutes a best value law school? National Jurist applies a rating system that weighs criteria like placement rate (35%), tuition (25%), average debt (15%), bar passage rate (15%), and cost of living (10%). From there, schools are given academic letter grades, with “Best Value” statuses conferred to schools that earn a B+ or better. Most top 20 “Best Value” law schools were based in state flagship universities such as Louisiana State University, the University of Nebraska, the University of South Dakota, and the University of Kentucky.

Of course, these names shouldn’t surprise anyone following the law school beat. Brigham Young graduates enjoy one of the lowest debt loads of any school. Similarly, law graduates from the University of Alabama can expect a modest $71,098 debt, with nearly a third of graduates reporting no debt, according to U.S. News and World Report. Placement was the main strength at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (85.6%), Louisiana State University (83.9%), the University of Kentucky (83.7%), and the University of Nebraska (82.0%). Florida State University and the University of Georgia, which ranked #9 and #11 in last year’s National Jurist rankings, also reported lower-than-average debt and higher-than-average placement based on U.S. News data.

Here is a listing (in alphabetical order) of the 53 schools deemed “Best Value” by National Jurist:

Baylor UniversityUniversity of AkronUniversity of Missouri-Columbia
Boston CollegeUniversity of AlabamaUniversity of Nebraska
Brigham Young UniversityUniversity of ArizonaUniversity of Nevada-Las Vegas
Duquesne UniversityUniversity of Arkansas-FayettevilleUniversity of New Mexico
Florida International UniversityUniversity of Arkansas-Little RockUniversity of North Carolina
Florida State UniversityUniversity of CincinnatiUniversity of Oklahoma
Georgia State UniversityUniversity of FloridaUniversity of Pittsburgh
University of Indiana-IndianapolisUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of South Carolina
Louisiana State UniversityUniversity of HoustonUniversity of Tennessee
Notre Dame Law SchoolUniversity of IdahoUniversity of Texas
Ohio Northern UniversityUniversity of IllinoisUniversity of Tulsa
Ohio State UniversityUniversity of IowaUniversity of Utah
Rutgers University-CamdenUniversity of KansasUniversity of Washington
SUNY Buffalo Law SchoolUniversity of KentuckyUniversity of Wisconsin
Temple UniversityUniversity of LouisvilleUniversity of Wyoming
Texas Tech UniversityUniversity of MemphisWayne State University
University of California-DavisUniversity of MinnesotaWilliam and Mary Law
University of California-IrvineUniversity of Mississippi


Sources: National Jurist, Above the Law