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DU law school ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s top 100

For the 10th straight year, the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law is ranked among the top-100 law schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report, moving up three spots to No. 77 in the top tier of American law schools.

The publication’s annual “America’s Best Graduate Schools” edition — released March 15 — has Sturm College tied with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Miami (Fla.).

In addition, several of the school’s specialized programs are ranked among the nation’s best.

The publication credits DU with having the 13th highest ranked part-time law program. A clinical training program ranked 17th. The report also recognizes DU’s environmental and natural resources law program at No. 17 and legal writing program at No. 19.

In addition, U.S. News for the first time surveyed the nation’s leading law firms and asked recruiters and hiring partners to rank the law schools they recruit from. DU again was ranked among the top 100 at No. 67. The survey is called “When Lawyers Do the Grading.”

Sturm College Dean Martin Katz says DU remains committed to consistently improving its law programs. In recent years, the school has added faculty, created diversity initiatives, reduced class sizes, built new programs relevant to today’s legal climate, raised admissions standards, increased financial aid to attract the best students and implemented a comprehensive bar passage program.

“We are certainly pleased that we have moved up in the rankings. This suggests that people are noticing the progress that DU has already made,” Katz says. “And we are particularly pleased to see not only our objective factors improving — such as the student/faculty ratio — but also to see our peer assessment and lawyer/judge assessment scores moving up. The fact that we are ranked so highly in the U.S. News’ new ranking by recruiters and hiring partners suggests that those who are going to hire our graduates share the values reflected in our strategic plan.”   

Katz notes many objective factors used in analyzing the law school are moving in the right direction. By adding faculty and reducing the size of the student body, the school’s student/faculty ratio has dropped from 15.5 to 12.4 — a key indicator of instructional quality. And the results are already showing. The school’s bar passage rate has risen from 80.4 percent to 87.7 percent in recent years.

While the dean says national recognition is appreciated, he notes that the real mission of the school is to serve students.

“Rankings are important,” Katz says in a letter to students and alumni. “But our most important focus is on the quality of the education we provide. We believe that as we continue to implement our strategic plan and produce graduates who are increasingly well prepared, [the Sturm College] will continue to increase its stature as a leader in educating tomorrow’s lawyers.”

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