I am happy to report that the Law Center maintained its strong showing in this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings with two of three specialty programs improving their longstanding positions among the nation’s top 10.
Our Health Law program moved up to No. 2 from last year’s No. 3 ranking while Intellectual Property and Information Law moved to 5th from the 8th spot. I am very proud of our recognition in these areas of expertise. The school’s part-time program tied for 7th. Overall, the Law Center ranks 56 among the nation’s 197 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.
While rankings are important, they are just part of what goes into defining the educational quality of a law school and its reputation in the profession. We are an excellent law school with outstanding and well credentialed faculty and students; our alumni have excelled in their careers. Rankings give us a useful scorecard, but they are no substitute for the inherent quality of the Law Center.
Much of the criteria that goes into the rankings is quantitative, based on a weighted average of 12 measures of quality, including LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA, acceptance rate, student/faculty ratio, bar passage, graduate employment rate, as well as assessments by academic peers, judges and lawyers.
Voting for specialty programs, however, is subjective, based on surveys of legal educators specializing in those areas. And that is where the Law Center consistently takes its place among the elite programs in the country. It is especially gratifying that peer educators recognize the excellence of faculty scholarship, curriculum, special programs, and other aspects of our health law and intellectual property institutes.
The overall ranking to a large extent is based on certified statistics, for instance, the percentage of graduates employed within ten months of earning a J.D., the bar passage rate, and the entry level UGPA and LSAT, but the rankings don’t factor in qualitative factors like the accessibility and dedication of faculty, value of the Law Center’s degree comparing cost with job and salary outcomes, or the number of law school community outreach initiatives. All of which make the Law Center the quality school that it is.
I am proud of our standing, and with the continued support of all of you, our reputation will continue to grow.
Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center
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