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A Note from the Office of
Dean Leonard M. Baynes

Legal education and the legal profession as a whole are in a constant state of change. Accolades and rankings vary from year to year, and the criteria and rankings methodology are in a constant state of flux.  What remains constant is that the University of Houston Law Center remains a premier institution, and it helps to place its graduates in jobs with a high earning potential as they begin their legal careers.

In the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, several of the Law Center’s specialty programs shine year over year and are ranked among the best in the nation. In 2024, the Law Center’s health law program was ranked No. 7, while intellectual property and the part-time program both earned a No. 8 ranking. Altogether, the Law Center was ranked No. 68 on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Law Schools.

Overall, we were recognized with nine Top 50 specialty programs: health care law (No. 7), intellectual property (No. 8), part-time program (No. 8), trial advocacy (No. 13), legal writing (No. 16), environmental law (No. 30), tax law (No. 32), international law (No. 38), and dispute resolution (No. 42).

U.S. News ranking methodology was drastically altered in 2023, and several law schools around the nation opted out of the rankings altogether. At times, this process feels like a student who is taking an exam with assigned points for different sections, but after the exam, the professor informs the students that they had significantly changed the grading metric on the test without any advance warning. This changing dynamic undoubtedly had an impact on 2024’s rankings, and I expect the Law Center’s overall ranking in U.S. News to rise in 2025.

In Law.com’s annual list of ‘Go-To Law Schools’ for Big Law jobs, Houston’s robust legal market was on display. The Law Center earned a No. 23 ranking on that list. This marks a nine-spot improvement from 2023. Attending the Law Center has numerous advantages, and its proximity and longstanding relationships with some of the largest law firms in the country play a critical role.

As the Law Center’s profile grows, our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the bar, the bench, and other ranking trade publications like preLaw magazineInsight into Diversity magazine, and the National Jurist. Our ascent is no coincidence. The Law Center’s bar exam passage rate is the highest it has been in 10 years, while entry credentials and graduate employment rate are at the highest point in our institution’s storied history.

Our work in improving our rankings is far from finished, and we will strive to make the Law Center’s rankings a more accurate reflection of our world-class standing. Dedicated alumni can help the Law Center make significant strides forward in several ways. Whether it is providing employment experience for our current students or recent graduates, serving as much-needed mentors, or through philanthropic support that will go toward bar exam preparation and student scholarships. 

Leonard M. Baynes
Dean, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Chair, and Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center

 


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