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MSU College of Law



March 15, 2011


MSU Law 95th in U.S. News Rankings

East Lansing, MI — Michigan State University College of Law rose to the top 100 in the nation’s most widely recognized ranking of law school programs. The Law College is positioned at number 95, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” which was released today.

According to Joan W. Howarth, dean of MSU College of Law, the ranking is very influential with potential students and employers, but is frustrating due to the many problems with the formula used by the magazine. “We are pleased at any recognition of the increasing quality of our programs at MSU Law, but the public should take these rankings with a big grain of salt,” she said. “Our law school is on a great upward trajectory, but the magazine’s formula has no way to measure most of our improvements.”

The rise in the rankings comes amid a host of initiatives aimed at providing students with the highest quality legal education. MSU Law augmented its clinical offerings in 2010 with popular new programs in criminal appeals, immigration law, and First Amendment law. This fall, the Law College will launch its innovative new first-year curriculum, while providing additional opportunities for upper-level students through an expansion of the nationally recognized Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute. Meanwhile, the strength of the curriculum is reflected by the fact that MSU Law graduates continue to post impressive bar passage rates and secure rewarding jobs throughout the country, despite today’s challenging economic climate.

“We are pleased with the new ranking, especially to the extent that it reflects the growing national and international reputation of MSU College of Law,” said Dean Howarth. “But our main goal is to continue to raise the value of an MSU Law degree as we build a great 21st century law school—whether or not our improvements are recognized by the magazine.”

The U.S. News report scores 190 accredited law schools based on a list of factors such as academic reputation, selectivity, and faculty and financial resources. Howarth points out one key factor that is conspicuously missing from the formula: price. “In today’s difficult economy, some aspects of the magazine’s formula—such as rewarding law schools for increasing tuition—are downright perverse,” she observed.

“We are committed to maximizing scholarship availability and keeping tuition costs under control, rather than chasing rankings in ways that could hurt our students,” said Howarth. Cautioning against placing too much emphasis on any ranking system, she notes that rebalancing the criteria in such a system—by factoring in cost, for example—can dramatically change the result.

Howarth added, “While recognizing the imperfect nature of any ranking system, we take this as an opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work of our outstanding faculty, our dedicated staff, and our talented students.”

Michigan State University College of Law, a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys, prepares future lawyers to use ethics, ambition, and intellect to solve the world’s problems. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent institution, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law’s commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.


320 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

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