Law school ranked fourth in nation by Jurist

9-12 News - Law School (photo by Andrew Hornak)
Photo by Andrew Hornak | For The Duquesne Duke. Students stand outside Edward J. Hanley Hall on Monday afternoon. Out of 204 law schools surveyed by The National Jurist, Duquesne’s School of Law ranked behind only Brigham Young University, Baylor and Notre Dame.

By Adam Ernette | The Duquesne Duke

The Duquesne University School of Law was ranked fourth in the nation by The National Jurist for being one of the best value private law schools.

School of Law Dean Ken Gormley said it was a “wonderful surprise,” and that this was something the university had been working toward.

“We’ve worked hard to try to build a really strong law school that pays a lot of attention to the student and trying to keep tuition affordable, and trying to make scholarships available,” Gormley said.

Out of 204 law schools surveyed, Duquesne managed a ‘B’ grade, ranked behind only Brigham Young University, Baylor University and Notre Dame University.

“Anytime you get a ranking of this sort, it is very positive because it gets people’s attention…the fact that we are kind of featured in this group is a wonderful thing for Duquesne,” Gormley said.

Second year Grant Nagy said he was “a little surprised” by Duquene’s Law School ranking so highly. “I don’t know, in relation to other law schools, how much the value matters as opposed to the rankings and how good the law school is itself,” Nagy said.

According to Jack Crittenden, editor-in-chief of The National Jurist, net tuition for all law schools has gone down over the past years. Duquesne’s School of Law posts tuition at $36,192.

Crittenden said this is the first time The National Jurist has included private law schools into their rankings due to their costly nature.

“We look at tuition, cost of living, average indebtedness compared to employment rate and bar exam pass rate,” Crittenden said.

Keeping the cost of tuition down while keeping academic excellence high is something the school has been focusing on, according to Gormley.

“We are proud of the fact that we have worked hard not just to make a legal education attainable for a large group of students regardless of their backgrounds,” Gormley said.

Gormley also said he is happy to see students leaving Duquesne’s School of Law “more successful than most given the cost of the education,” acknowledging their high rate of success.

It is not only in the classroom Duquesne is preparing their students to practice law. In late September, the law school is opening up a law clinic building on Fifth Avenue.

“We’re trying to figure out how [students] can get practical skills in the process, which enable them to perform in the marketplace,” Gormley said.

Duquesne’s law school hopes to remind students of the university’s mission by placing them in direct contact with those that they serve, according to Gormley.

“We put this clinic in the Uptown area purposely in order to have, first of all, direct access to our neighbors here in the community – to be able to help them – and also for students to be within two blocks of the courthouses down the street,” Gormley said.

The location is one way of making sure law students are reminded of why they want to be lawyers, Gormley said.

“We’re just staying focused on creating great practicing lawyers who understand that a part of their reason for being lawyers is to make sure they are always serving others,” Gormley said.

Dean Gormley said he hopes to continue improving, but is not focused on the numbers. His primary concern is on making sure students receive the best education for the money they pay.