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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.

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Back in March, we brought you news on the law schools with the most heavily indebted graduates. It was quite shocking to witness the depths to which these poor souls went to finance their legal educations. Take, for example, the average graduate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, who has $180,665 in debt — and also has a 29 percent chance of working as an attorney nine months after graduation. That’s absolutely terrifying.

But in a world where the average class of 2013 law school graduate carries a debt load of $108,815 (up from an average of $108,293 for the class of 2012), there must be a few schools out there that won’t destroy a would-be lawyer’s financial footprint forever.

Which law school graduates have the least debt of all? U.S. News has a ranking for that…

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In battles between university presidents and law deans, the university president always wins. The university presidents have the backing of boards of trustees who barely know what is going on. Law deans usually don’t have the ear of the powerful people who actually make decisions about how universities are run.

But not this time; this time everybody loses. The dean who challenged his president is no longer the dean, but the president is now no longer a university president. And the law students… well, they were probably screwed a long time ago…

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On Friday, we reported that a law dean resigned from his post because the university was not providing the law school enough resources. We mentioned that there were come rumblings that the university president was more concerned with making the law school a bastion for fringe political theories instead of simply providing a quality legal education.

Our tipsters are worried that their law school curriculum will be brought to them by “Big Oil.” And now students have signed a petition asking for input on the search for a new dean…

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Yet another law dean blows the whistle.

Whenever a law dean goes out in a blaze of glory, it’s news. And by “blaze of glory,” I mean “resigns with a hyper-critical message to the larger university.” Law deans might be insensitive to the cost concerns of their students, but university presidents are generally clueless. A university president looking at a law school entering class is like Cypher looking at the Matrix. They don’t even see the code anymore, they just see “dollar sign, federally guaranteed loan, potential future donor.”

Obviously, law deans usually only resign in a huff when they’re not getting enough money from the university, and “we need more money” isn’t necessarily helpful to students since often the solution is to “jack up tuition.” But in today’s story, we have a dean who might have resigned for reasons beyond more than money.

It’s possible that this dean wanted to run a law school, while the university wanted to run a Tea Party training ground…

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Do you ‘Like’ weird stories? Keep reading.

It’s a bizarre tale. Here’s what happened, according to law enforcement allegations.

On a Facebook page called UW Crushes, where University of Wyoming students could post anonymous, flirtatious notes to one another, the following posting appeared: “I want to hatef**k Meg Lanker Simons so hard. That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican b**ch.”

The post attracted national attention — and outrage. A rally against “rape culture” took place at UW. University officials condemned the incident and launched an investigation.

Then things got… weird. After conducting an investigation, police came to the conclusion that the “hatef**k” posting was written by none other than Lanker-Simons herself. Lanker-Simons got charged with a misdemeanor count of interfering with a peace officer, arising out of her alleged obstruction of the investigation. According to the Laramie Boomerang, Lanker-Simons will plead “no contest” very soon.

And now the story has a connection to the legal profession: the alleged hoax artist is going to law school. Because of course she’s going to law school. Legal education is, after all, a popular option among murderers, bank robbers, perpetrators of hate crimes, and other colorful characters.

So where is she enrolled? Might she be your classmate?

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Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the law schools that made up the bottom half of the traditional second tier (no, not the U.S. News second tier). This time, we’ll be taking a look at what was once known as the “third tier” — a group of law schools that was previously unranked.

Two years ago, these law schools were visited by Bob Morse, the U.S. News rankings fairy, who left a now-treasured numerical rank under each of their pillows. Now the deans at these schools can proudly boast that even if they dropped in rank, they’re “in the first tier,” an accomplishment that only the most gullible of prospective law students could be impressed by. Sigh.

Anyway, let’s see if there were any movers and shakers this year in this section of the list….

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Justice Antonin Scalia

The only time you’re going to have an opportunity to study a whole area of the law systematically is in law school. You should not waste that opportunity. Take the bread-and-butter courses. Do not take “law and women,” do not take “law and poverty,” do not take “law and anything.”

– Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, advising students during a speaking engagement at the University of Wyoming Law School that they should avoid “frill courses” during their time in school.

Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the law schools that made up the bottom half of the traditional second tier (no, not the U.S. News second tier). This time, we’ll be taking a look at what was once known as the “third tier” — a group of law schools that was previously unranked.

Just one year ago, these law schools were visited by Bob Morse, the U.S. News rankings fairy, who left a now-treasured numerical rank under each of their pillows.

Let’s see if there were any movers and shakers this year in this section of the list….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (101 – 145)”

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….

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