The Catholic University of America


CUA Law Comments on the Latest U.S. News Rankings

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Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law is ranked #106 among law schools in the U.S. News & World Report 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings, released on March 14, 2017. The new ranking is a three-place decrease from last year's rankings, although CUA Law’s overall survey score of 37 remains exactly the same. As last year, CUA Law’s score is only one point off the overall score assigned to the schools that are ranked #100 or higher. More positively, U.S. News ranks our part-time J.D. program at #24 and our clinical training program #30.

Compared to last year, U.S. News shows CUA Law with a higher peer assessment score, a higher undergraduate G.P.A. range for matriculating students, a more selective acceptance rate, and a better employment placement rate at graduation. But these positives are offset by downturns in our student/faculty ratio and bar passage rate. Other scores — for assessment by judges and lawyers, the range of LSAT scores for matriculating students, and employment at ten months after graduation — remain comparable to last year.

Still, CUA Law’s student/faculty ratio of 10.5 compares very favorably to other higher ranked local schools (i.e., George Washington at 15.5 and American at 12.0). And CUA Law students significantly outperform their counterparts at American in obtaining post-graduate employment. CUA Law’s rate of employment is 6.4 percentage points higher at graduation than American’s and 9.8 points higher ten months after graduation.

Interestingly, this is a down year in the U.S. News rankings for all of the Washington, D.C.-based law schools. American drops eight places in the U.S. News rankings, Georgetown is down one place, George Washington is down five places, and Howard is down fourteen places. UDC remains unranked.

"While closely watched, the U.S. News' rankings do not fully capture the essence of what we call the CUA Law Advantage. Our Law School excels in offering a first-rate legal education that is practical, focused, and connected," said Daniel F. Attridge, Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law at Catholic University’s Law School. "At CUA Law, our students learn by doing in classes, clinics, and externships that emphasize practical skills for the real world of practice. Our students can focus on different legal specialties to gain enhanced expertise, while being challenged by our mission that promotes service to others. And our students are connected in an ideal Washington, D.C. location with small classes, committed professors, a collegial student body, and an active alumni network."

As examples of CUA Law's strong educational value and its graduates' exceptional performance in the real world of practice, the dean pointed to recent recognition from outside sources, including:

National Law Journal ranks CUA Law #4 for the highest percent of 2015 graduates in government and public interest jobs.

PreLaw magazine rated CUA Law #5 in their list of best schools in the country for public defender/prosecutor careers.

Study ranks CUA Law #12 nationally as one of the most diverse law schools in the country.

American Lawyer survey of midlevel associates ranks CUA Law in the top 15 for preparation for firm practice.

Study ranks CUA Law 26th nationally as one of the best schools for associates obtaining Big Law jobs.

Forbes ranks CUA Law in the top 30 for recent graduates who earn the biggest paychecks.

Study ranks CUA Law #32 for the number of alumni who are partners at the largest law firms.

“Regardless of whether CUA Law moves up or down in the latest U.S. News rankings, we will remain a top-notch law school with the same unshakeable commitment to excellence," said Dean Attridge. “Our innovative educational programs ensure that our graduates will remain among the most practice-ready, career-focused, and best-connected lawyers in the nation. As alumni, our graduates will continue to outperform whatever expectations may be forecasted by our U.S. News' ranking."