Georgia State University College of Law was selected as No. 35 in the revised National Jurist Best Law School rankings.
This is the first year the magazine has ranked law schools, using a different set of criteria than the traditional U.S. News & World Report rankings, which are due March 12. National Jurist's criteria included factors of postgraduate success, quality of teaching, student opinion and cost-efficiency.
Georgia State Law performed well in employment and bar passage rates, as well as the affordability and diversity categories. National Jurist gave the college an A-plus in affordability, as illustrated by its consistent ranking as a Best Value law school.
"It is a healthy development for other ranking services, such as the National Jurist, to evaluate law schools and provide multiple lenses to view legal education," said Dean Steven J. Kaminshine. "Our placement among the top schools in National Jurist's rankings is consistent with our Best Value status and mission to provide an accessible legal education integrating theory and practice."
The new rankings met with less than positive impressions by the legal education community, particularly as it related to the student's opinion scores and the weighting of two post-graduation data sets.
These two categories — the percentage of a school's alumni Super Lawyers and those working in the National Law Journal's top 250 firms — were weighted more heavily than some other categories that commentators viewed as more significant (e.g., bar passage). Although Georgia State received a D in Super Lawyers and a B-plus in NLJ250, the college's employment rate of just over 83 percent and a bar passage ratio of 1.10 earned a solid letter grade of A-minus in each category.
Some schools, including Boston College Law School and the University of Chicago Law School, brought complaints to the magazine, leading a reevaluation of the data, and a subsequent reprinting of the results on Feb. 20.
Clerical errors were found and corrected, and each school's student scores on RateMyProfessor.com and the Princeton Review were double-checked and updated. Detractors have called for the student rating data to be thrown out completely, but National Jurist has stood behind its decision to include the information. Georgia State received a C and two B-pluses in the student opinion categories.
As a result of these updates, eight schools moved up significantly in the rankings. Georgia State Law was one such school, moving swiftly from the third tier to the first. The University of Chicago saw the largest move, from No. 56 to No. 4, when the F grade in RateMyProfessor was replaced with an A.