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The So-Called ‘Best Value’ Law Schools of 2012 — Which Actually May Not Have the ‘Best Value’ At All

We know how much our readers love rankings, so for your viewing pleasure, we present to you the National Jurist’s sixth annual list of the Best Value Law Schools. This year’s Best Value ranking system takes into account the following criteria: tuition (25% of study), cost of living expenses (10%), average indebtedness upon graduation (15%), the percentage of graduates who got a job (35%), and bar passage rates (15%).

We’ve covered these rankings before. As in years past, National Jurist ranked only the top 20 schools, and has given letter grades to the rest of the schools on the list, ranging from A- to F. But this year, because of the uproar about transparency in employment statistics, the National Jurist’s rankings include adjusted weights for employment percentages based on 12 different categories.

National Jurist also paid special attention to average graduate indebtedness this year — and by “paid special attention to,” we mean that the publication hasn’t been following the news about the incorrect debt figures that were being used by law schools to pimp their programs like low-rent street walkers.

Check and see if your school made the grade this year….

Before we get to the rankings and grades, we’re going to chat a little more about National Jurist’s rankings methodology. As noted above, this year, now that more detailed employment information is available, the magazine used different weights for employment outcomes, which resulted in a drastically different overall ranking for the top 20 schools and beyond. Several schools dropped out of the top 20, and 14 schools that received grades of A- or B+ last year fell off the list entirely.

But what’s more interesting is the fact that this entire list could be flawed because the National Jurist calculated the rankings based on incorrect debt data, which accounted for 15% of each school’s overall score.

Without further ado, we present to you the Top 20 “Best Value Law Schools,” according to National Jurist:

We found these facts to be worthy of mention: Georgia State checks in at No. 2 on National Jurist’s Top-20 list, and that ranking was determined by using an incorrect graduate indebtedness figure (at least according to Professor Paul Campos). National Jurist has also assigned grades of A- to the University of Kansas and B+ to Rutgers-Camden… also using apparently incorrect graduate indebtedness figures. We reported on these incorrect figures earlier this month (as did many other widely-read legal publications).

Can we believe ANYTHING that is being fed to us these days? How are prospective law students supposed to become “sophisticated consumers” if virtually all rankings are based on false statistics?

Click here to check out the law schools that received A- and B+ designations from National Jurist, which may or may not have actually earned these letter grades. It’s actually insulting that we’re more on top of the factual details that went into these national rankings than the magazine that published them.

(If you want to look at some law school facts that are accurate, check out our ATL Law School Directory.)

So readers, did your school get ranked? If not, did your school make the grade? Does anyone actually care about this rankings list now that we know that it was computed using incorrect data? As always, your comments are welcome.

Best Value Law Schools [National Jurist]

(hidden for your protection)

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