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Law Schools Ranked for Clinical Programs

Yale University Law School far outranks other law schools in the number of clinical opportunities it offers students, according to a ranking published in the September issue of National Jurist. Clinical positions are available for more than 90 percent of Yale law students, nearly twice the number available at the two schools tied for second in the ranking, Drake University and the University of Wisconsin, where clinical positions are available for 45.7 percent of students.

National Jurist ranked ABA-approved law schools based on the total number of full-time clinical course positions offered per the number of full-time students. It used data provided by the Official Guide to ABA-approved Law Schools, 2008 Edition. Based on that data, National Jurist found that for the 576 full-time students at Yale, the school offered an astounding 520 positions. Drake had 196 positions for 429 students and Wisconsin had 373 positions for 817 students. Other schools ranked in the top 10 were University of the District of Columbia, University of Maryland, University of Georgia, Florida A&M, University of Puerto Rico, University of Minnesota and University of Kansas. Clinical opportunities at these schools were available to between 35 and 45 percent of students.

In an article that accompanies the rankings, several law professors and clinical instructors say there is more to a good clinical program than just availability. Robert Rigg, professor and clinical director at second-place Drake University, said the school's culture is one that values clinics. "There is a real effort to allow students to immerse themselves in not just theory but practice of a given area of law," he said. Drake also boasts that all of its faculty members have actually practiced law.  The school attempts to integrate clinical opportunities with substantive courses and provide students with real-life experiences from the beginning of their law school careers. Even a low ranking may not fairly reflect a school's commitment to clinical programs. The article cites Stetson University College of Law as one with outstanding programs, despite its 74th place ranking.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 2, 2008 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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