LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Law jumped 18 spots to No. 68 in the 2015 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools.”
Buoyed by improved employment numbers, strong bar passage rates, and solid reputational scores from peer institutions, judges and lawyers, KU’s rise brought it to No. 37 among the nation’s public law schools.
“At KU Law, our primary focus is to attract highly qualified students, challenge them with a rigorous education and prepare them for successful legal careers. It’s a bonus when those efforts result in the law school’s ascent in U.S. News rankings,” said Stephen Mazza, dean and professor of law. “Our reputational scores remain higher than those of most other law schools in the region, signifying that legal professionals who hire our graduates continue to be impressed with their quality.”
KU recently ranked in the top 25 percent of law schools sending graduates to the nation’s largest law firms and the top 10 percent of schools whose alumni were promoted to partner at those firms, according to the National Law Journal’s annual report on “Go-To Law Schools.”
KU’s strides come during a challenging period for law school recruitment and legal employment prospects for graduates. Two years ago, the law school intentionally reduced the size of its incoming class to maintain student quality and more accurately reflect the demand for new lawyers in the job market. Those smaller classes won’t be a factor in U.S. News employment data until the 2017 rankings.
The employment data used to formulate the 2015 rankings show that the Midwest market is improving, which is great news for KU Law students, said Arturo Thompson, assistant dean for career services.
“Importantly, the quality of jobs also improved, with more KU Law graduates taking jobs in the region and across the country that required bar passage or where the J.D. was an advantage,” he said. “As the market continues to rebound and our smaller classes begin to graduate in 2014, we look forward to even better opportunities for KU Lawyers.”