S.J. Quinney College of Law maintains strengths in U.S. News & World Report rankings

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law’s traditional strengths as a perennially-ranked law school and national leader in environmental law are reflected in newly released rankings of best U.S. law schools. According to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of Best Graduate Schools, the College of Law is ranked 54th among 202 ABA-approved U.S. law schools. For the fourth year in a row, the law school retained its position as a top 10 program for environmental law.

“Although we are pleased that the U.S. News & World Report rankings place the S.J. Quinney College of Law among the nation’s top third of law schools, this ranking is only one measure of the high quality legal education available at our institution,” said Robert Keiter, acting dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law.  “It tells us that our faculty and curriculum are strong, that our students and graduates continue to succeed, and that we are providing important community services.”

The school has continually scored among the top public law schools in the country over the past decade.  Besides a strong overall showing, the College of Law’s historically strong program in environmental and natural resources law, with its flagship Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, was named as the 9th best environmental law program in the country. 

The College of Law’s 2019 ranking represents a drop from the institution’s position on the list last year. Many schools shifted positions, in some cases because of a change in methodology used to calculate the rankings, said Lincoln Davies, associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Law.

One factor resulting in the College of Law’s dip was the metric used to calculate the number of students employed at graduation. For the reporting period reflected in the new rankings, which is based on data for the Class of 2016, the number of students employed at graduation had fallen.

Employment metrics have already increased substantially for the Class of 2017, numbers which will likely be reflected in next year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings, said Davies.

“Everyone at the law school—from the Career Development Office to the faculty—has worked extremely hard to help students with employment success. Student success is our first and foremost objective,” he said. Such efforts have always been a priority for the College of Law, Davies added.

Keiter noted that the College of Law continues to thrive as reflected in the many exciting changes underway at the school to enhance innovation in legal education, bolster community service, promote sustainable practices and provide students with new opportunities for skills training.

Several hallmarks of excellence at the College of Law continue. Students at the College of Law have won six national competition awards in the past six years for legal writing and oral advocacy. The school focuses on community engaged learning, and students devote more than 40,000 hours of legal service each year to under-represented communities while gaining valuable practical skills.

The College of Law in 2018 has expanded its course offerings through the addition of a new Master of Legal Studies degree program. The new, one-year executive master’s degree program is designed for professionals who may benefit from legal training but do not wish to practice as an attorney. The MLS program’s curriculum is structured for working professionals and is designed to improve students’ fundamental understanding of the legal system.

“Viewing the recent U.S. News & World Report results as an affirmation of our efforts, the S.J. Quinney College of Law will continue striving to strengthen our educational program and to ensure the success of our students and alumni,” said Keiter.