Washington and Lee University's School of Law is ranked the 22nd best legal program in the country among the 180 ABA-accredited law schools, according to new rankings released Friday (March 31) by U.S. News and World Report.
"Washington and Lee University fared well on the indicators used by U.S. News that aim to measure the quality of students, faculty and the rigorous education that the School of Law provides," said W&L Law School Dean David F. Partlett.
"Our standing among the best 25 law schools in the country - and our inclusion in this elite group for over a decade - testifies to the strength of our academic program," added Partlett. "Rankings cannot reflect aspects of W&L that make its legal education uniquely excellent, in particular, a faculty dedicated to the education of students."
The annual rankings are based on nearly a dozen indicators including students' college performance and scores on the national LSAT exam for law school admission, the ratio of bar passage to state average and their graduation and job placement rates.
This year's rankings show the School of Law continues to gain ground in the quality of its students. In 2005, only one-in-five W&L law applicants gained admission. Similarly, 91 percent of W&L law graduates, within nine months of their graduation, secured law firm, corporate, government and public interest legal positions.
Moreover, among the top twenty-five schools the School of Law has the fifth-best student-faculty ratio of 10.5-to-1 - only bested by Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and Cornell, which were respectively ranked the first, second, sixth and thirteenth best legal programs overall.
As one of the country's smallest law schools with 394 students this academic year, the advantage of W&L's small classes allows frequent interaction between professors and law students in and out of the classroom and while students are working at the School of Law’s specialized legal clinics.
W&L also ranks well for its firm reputation among hundreds of attorneys and judges, who provide U.S. News their assessments of law schools around the country.