Monday, September 27, 2010

GSU College of Law no. 1 in U.S. and Georgia for value

Georgia State University College of Law was ranked No. 1 in the country for its value, according to National Jurist, a magazine geared to law students. GSU jumped to the top of the pack from fourth last year.

Its top ranking represents a new milestone for the law school, which has earned a national reputation for more than just value since its founding in 1982.

"This national recognition strongly indicates we are succeeding in our core mission: to provide an outstanding legal education that is accessible and affordable," said GSU College of Law Dean Steve Kaminshine.

Brigham Young University and the University of Louisville law schools placed 2nd and 3rd. The only other law school in the state to make the list is the University of Georgia, which ranked 15th.

National Jurist based its selection on criteria including bar passage rates, average student debt after graduation, post-graduation employment rates, and the overall cost to attend. Many of the schools selected for the list are public institutions.

The bar passage rate for first-time takers is above the 90th percentile for almost all the top 20 schools ranked in National Jurist. Georgia State University's law students' bar passage rate is slightly above the 94th percentile, the report said, using data from the American Bar Association.

"Our strong performance on the bar exam is a reflection primarily of the students that we admit," Kaminshine said. "Even though we have no special bar preparation courses, our students consistently perform at the top of the state. We give our students a solid foundation, and they have a strong work ethic."

GSU's lower tuition costs mean students graduate with fewer debts to repay. The rankings looked at schools with post-graduation student debts of below $100,000 and factored in the in-state tuition rates at the top ranked institutions.

The university's location in the heart of downtown Atlanta also aids GSU law students with proximity to jobs. Many go on to work in local offices of international law firms, as well as in federal and state courts, which are at the doorstep of the university.

To qualify for the rankings, GSU law students' employment rate nine months after graduation had to be at least 85 percent of the class or higher.

The National Jurist rankings will be available in the magazine's October issue, and were published in the Fall edition of sister publication, preLaw magazine: http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/prelaw-magazine.

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