The University of Baltimore School of Law gained seven points in the latest U.S. News and World Report law school rankings, and its clinical training program ranked in the nation’s top 10.
Overall, UB Law ranked 122nd among the nation’s law schools, according to the report, up from 129th the previous year. Maryland’s other law school, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, rose three points to 47th in the nation.
“We’re moving in the right direction for the entire law school,” said Ronald Weich, the dean of UB’s law school.
UB Law’s clinical program performed especially well in this year’s rankings, rising to 8th in the nation from 15th last year, according to Weich.
This year’s 8th-place ranking was part of a tie that included Maryland Carey Law and six other law schools.
Maryland Carey Law’s clinical training program has been ranked in U.S. News’ top 10 for more than a decade, according to the school’s website.
In clinical programs, law students have the chance to work alongside faculty on real-world legal issues, such as immigration, family law and low-income tax assistance.
“I think our program is increasingly recognized around the country as being a model,” Weich said. “Our students emerge from their clinical experience well-prepared to practice law. Clinics are also a way in which we serve the community.”
The U.S. News rankings are a controversial signifier of law school standing. Harvard Law School fell out of the report’s top three for the first time in decades, a shift that may have been linked to the recent addition of educational debt to the rankings.
The rankings evaluate law schools based on their students’ employment prospects post-graduation, faculty resources, incoming students’ academic prowess and the opinions of lawyers, judges and other law programs. The criteria can be opaque, however, and also includes smaller details such as library resources.
Donald Tobin, the dean of Maryland Carey Law, is critical of the rankings, which he said largely benefit wealthy schools and hurt schools with less funding.
“There’s this view of these things as being somehow objective measures of schools, and they’re really not,” he said. “They’re designed to hold privilege.”
Even so, Maryland Carey Law performed well, moving up within the top 50 law schools in the country. The law school’s health care law program also ranked 6th in the nation.
“What we really work hard to do is make sure that whatever we do continues to align with our values, so things like investing in our clinics or investing in our health law and environmental programs, working to make sure our students get jobs,” Tobin said. “Those are all things that are consistent with what I think is a great law school.”