We know how much our readers love rankings, so as we mentioned in Morning Docket, the National Jurist has released the fifth annual list of the 60 Best Value law schools in its preLaw magazine. As it stands, the list remains unranked, but the final grades for the honor roll are expected in October.

The Best Value ranking typically takes into account the following criteria: in-state tuition, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.

But this year, the National Jurist made some adjustments to its rankings methodology to account for “fairness.” It now takes into account averages for bar passage rates and post-graduation employment over the past two years. And even if a law school didn’t meet one of these important standards, the school wasn’t automatically excluded from consideration. Everyone gets a trophy in this year’s Best Value rankings.

You may be surprised at some of the law schools that made this year’s Best Value honor roll. Check and see if your school made the list, after the jump….

Before we get to the list, let’s chat about the new rankings system, shall we?

Because National Jurist changed the way that it ranks law schools, there are 21 schools on the Best Value list this year that were not on the list last year. And out of those 21 law schools, seven of them have never been on the list before. We suppose that the rankings methodology was adjusted to account for the recession, but at what cost?

For example, the poor legal job market definitely had an impact upon employment rates nine months after graduation, but that surely didn’t stop recent law school graduates from being able to pass the bar exam. Even if a degree from a particular law school comes on the cheap, perhaps a law student isn’t really getting the “best value” possible if he isn’t able to pass the bar exam or secure employment after the fact.

And with regard to the year’s fairness rankings, here’s a little gem from National Jurist:

The City University of New York benefited from the changes. In the past it was excluded due to a bar exam pass rate that was below its state average. This year it made the list, buttressed by a very low tuition and strong employment numbers.

“Its bar pass rates definitely lowered its final grade,” Crittenden said. “But it still made the list, and is deserving of a best value designation.”

Strong employment numbers? CUNY Law is ranked at number 121, and the percentage of graduates employed at graduation is “N/A” according to the U.S. News law school rankings. But in favor of fairness, we say you go on with your bad self, CUNY Law.

For more from the National Jurist on how the new rankings methodology came into being, click here.

Stepping away from the fairness factor, also of note is the fact that only three private schools (BYU, Faulkner University, and Willamette) made the list this year. And that’s likely because private school tuition keeps going up, no matter how bad the economy gets. But that’s apparently okay, because law students continue to shell out the government monopoly money needed to attend private schools at exorbitant costs.

But without further ado, here is the alphabetical list of the National Jurist’s 2011 Best Value Law Schools (* designates first year on honor roll; # designates returnee that was not on 2010 honor roll):

Arizona State University
Brigham Young University
*City University of New York School of Law
Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law
Florida International University College of Law
Florida State University College of Law
George Mason University School of Law
Georgia State University College of Law
#Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis
*Inter-American University School of Law
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center
#Northern Kentucky University – Salmon P. Chase College of Law
#Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
#Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey- School of Law-Camden
*Southern University Law Center
Temple University- James E. Beasley School of Law
Texas Tech University School of Law
#University of Akron School of Law
University of Alabama School of Law
University of Arizona
#University of Arkansas At Little Rock
#University of Arkansas School of Law
*University of Baltimore School of Law
#University at Buffalo Law School (SUNY)
*University of Cincinnati College of Law
University of Colorado Law School
University of Connecticut School of Law
University of Florida, Frederic G. Levin College of Law
University of Georgia School of Law
#University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Houston Law Center
University of Iowa College of Law
University of Kansas School of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law
University of Maryland School of Law
University of Memphis- Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Law
#University of Montana School of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of New Mexico School of Law
University of North Carolina School of Law
University of North Dakota School of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
University of South Carolina School of Law
#University of South Dakota School of Law
University of Tennessee College of Law
University of Texas School of Law
University of Toledo College of Law
*University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
University of Washington School of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
#University of Wyoming College of Law
#Wake Forest University
#Washburn University School of Law
*West Virginia University College of Law
Willamette University School of Law
William and Mary Law School

Was your school enough of a special little snowflake to make this year’s cut? Do you see schools on this list that shouldn’t be there — or a school not on the list that you think should be recognized? Your comments are welcome.

Best Value law schools for 2011 dominated by public schools [National Jurist]

Earlier: New Rankings List ‘Best Value’ Law Schools


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