Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

College of Law Climbs in U.S. News & World Report Rankings

The College of Law’s strengths as a top-tier public law school, national leader in environmental law and growing powerhouse in the field of health law are reflected in newly released rankings of best law schools. According to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 edition of Best Graduate Schools, the College of Law is ranked 45th overall among American Bar Association-approved law schools in the U.S.

For the sixth year in a row, the law school retained its position as a top 10 program for environmental law, with a #9 spot on the list. Several other specialty programs have also secured notable placements in the top 50, including business and corporate at #30; constitutional law at #44; contracts/commercial law at #39; criminal law & procedure at #33 and health law at #32 in the nation.

“Although not a perfect measurement of the strength of a law school, rankings do matter for a variety of reasons. First, rankings matter to our alumni, students and prospective students. Our increased ranking increases the prestige of their degrees and is a tool by which prospective students compare law schools. Also, rankings include metrics that certainly do indicate the quality of a law school – such as bar passage and career placement data. Finally, rankings can be a helpful tool in evaluating the success of legal programs in relation to our peers,” said Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner.

The numbers mark an improvement and an upward trend in several areas for the College of Law, which is capping a historic year with the appointment of Kronk Warner as the first Native American and female leader in the college’s 106-year existence. Kronk Warner in her first months on the job has worked to build on the college’s already strong reputation in legal education and excellence in faculty scholarship. She has instituted new measures focused on improv-ing diversity while also supporting others in leadership to bring a heightened focus to student wellness at the college.

The school has continually scored high among the top public law schools in the country over the past decade. The College of Law’s health law program broke into the national rankings for the first time last year, scoring as the 36th best program in health law. The program improved four spots this year, gaining momentum and continuing to elevate itself on the national stage after launching its Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences (LABS) in 2015. The center is continuing to gain momentum and improve on the quality of its scholarship, programs and student opportunities.

“This ranking reflects the unique way that our law school addresses cutting edge issues in law and the biosciences through our impactful research and our innovative student fellowship program,” said Leslie Francis, a law professor and director of the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences. “We are pleased to see our outstanding program recognized and know that we will continue to build on our successes.”