We know how much our readers love rankings, so this is probably a good time to let you know that the National Jurist has released its eighth annual list of the law schools thought to offer the “Best Value” to law students — usually a list dominated by public schools with a smattering of private schools. The magazine also released its second annual list of the “best value” private law schools at the same time.

The Best Value ranking system typically takes into account a law school’s tuition (weighted 25 percent), students’ cost of living expenses (10 percent), students’ average indebtedness upon graduation (15 percent), the percentage of graduates who got a job after graduation (35 percent), and bar passage rates (15 percent).

What’s so exciting about this year’s list? For starters, the list of the overall “Best Value” list includes the most private law schools to date, in part due to the fact that average indebtedness is down since law schools started tossing out scholarships like Mardi Gras beads just to convince students to enroll.

Let’s take a look at the 2014 “Best Value” rankings…

Please note the UPDATE on the second page of this post.

This time around, 53 law schools are being honored as conferring the “Best Value” upon students, up from 47 law schools last year, and 46 law schools the year before that. Here’s what Jack Crittenden, editor-in-chief of the National Jurist, had to say about the latest edition of his magazine’s rankings:

“When law school enrollment began to drop a few years ago, some schools began to offer more scholarships. We are now starting to see the beginning of that impact on debt. Also, employment numbers are improving, even if slightly.”

In case you missed it, the key word in Crittenden’s last sentence was “slightly.” As we noted previously, nine months after receiving their law degrees, 57 percent of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in full-time, long-term jobs where bar passage was required, compared with 56.2 percent of the class of 2012. We’re living in a post-recession world where “progress” is measured by tenths of a percentage point.

What’s notable, though, is that this year there are six private law schools (Baylor, BYU, Duquesne University, Notre Dame Law School, Ohio Northern, and Boston College) on the overall list — more than ever before. This prompted National Jurist to trumpet from the roof tops that “it’s still possible for students to graduate with under $100,000 in debt and land a job.” Meanwhile, according to U.S. News, students at one of those law schools not only graduate with more than $100,000 in debt, but less than two-thirds of them are employed as lawyers nine months after graduation. We’re off to a great start.

Without further ado, here’s the alphabetical list of the National Jurist’s 2014 Best Value Law Schools:

Baylor University

Boston College

Brigham Young University

Duquesne University

Florida International University

Florida State University

Georgia State University

IU McKinney School of Law

Louisiana State University

Notre Dame Law School

Ohio Northern University

Ohio State University

Rutgers — Camden

SUNY Buffalo Law School

Temple University

Texas Tech University

UC – Irvine

UC Davis Law

University of Akron

University of Alabama

University of Arizona

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

University of Cincinnati

University of Florida

University of Georgia

University of Houston

University of Idaho

University of Illinois

University of Iowa

University of Kansas

University of Kentucky

University of Louisville

University of Memphis

University of Minnesota

University of Mississippi

University of Missouri — Columbia

University of Nebraska

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

University of New Mexico

University of North Carolina

University of Oklahoma

University of Pittsburgh

University of South Carolina

University of Tennessee

University of Texas

University of Tulsa

University of Utah

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin

University of Wyoming

Wayne State University

William and Mary Law School

Flip to the next page to see the list of the “Best Value” private law schools…


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