College of Law Climbs Seven Spots in 2016 U.S. News Rankings; Rated 7th Nationally For Environmental Law

Mar 10, 2015 | Stegner Center

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law also Improves in Bar Passage, Student Employment, and Student Quality

March 10, 2015 — The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law improved its position in the rankings of the top U.S. law schools, and for the first time was rated in the top ten in environmental law, according to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report and presented in the 2016 “Best Law Schools” list. For 2016, the College of Law is ranked 42nd among 205 ABA-approved U.S. law schools, rising seven spots from the 2015 ranking.

In the past eight years, the College of Law has climbed a total of 15 spots, from 57th in 2008 to 51st in 2009, 45th in 2010, and 42nd in 2016. For schools with less than 500 students, the College of Law ranked 8th nationally, and among the top 50 schools, it has the second-smallest student body, with approximately 332 students.

The College of Law’s historically strong program in environmental and natural resources law, with its centerpiece in the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, broke into the top ten in the nation for the first time. The law school climbed six spots from the 2015 rankings and was tied for seventh place (with UCLA) among the nation’s best environmental Law programs.

College of Law Dean Bob Adler said “We are particularly proud that we improved in the areas most important to our students, such as bar exam passage rate, employment after graduation, and the qualifications of our admitted students. Although we are pleased by this recognition, our main focus is the education and success of our students, not a particular number in any given set of rankings.”

Adler also noted that the U.S. News rankings are “only one of many measures of a law school’s quality,” and cited other major accomplishments and contributions by College of Law faculty and students. He explained, for example, that students at the College of Law have won six national competition awards in the past four years for legal writing and oral advocacy. He also cited the school’s huge focus on community engaged learning, in which its students devote more than 40,000 hours of legal service each year to under-represented communities while gaining valuable practical skills. One study conducted by clinical students at the College on how disciplinary action tends to disproportionately affect minority students (available at continues to resonate nationally.

Professor Bob Keiter, long-time Director of the College’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, noted that the top-ten recognition for the schools program in environmental and natural resources law is “long overdue.” “Given the Stegner Center’s extraordinarily strong faculty, its engaged students, and its remarkable diversity of programs, there has never been any doubt in my mind that the college’s environmental law program rivals any in the country.”

The graduate school rankings are available here »