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'No Frills' Law School Thriving Outside U.S. News Ranking System

Back in October, I wrote about the impact the U.S. News and World Report rankings continue to have on on the behavior of law schools and how many academics now believe the tail of USNWR rankings is wagging the dog of legal education. This is not true everywhere, however. Via this post on Chuck Newton's Third Wave blog, I learned of at least one law school, North Carolina Central University School of Law, that is thriving on its own terms.

Newton writes that instead of trying to compete for U.S. News rankings, NCCU admits it is a "no frills" law school, and simply concentrates on developing practice ready lawyers. He notes that:

The law school has 14 clinical programs and two institutes to train lawyers for the real work they will be expected to do. In short, what this says to me, is to hell with the U.S. News ranking garbage, we are going to concentrate on what really matters to make our graduates prosperous and successful even if it is not the "in thing" to do.

The school, which is located in Durham, N.C., near Duke University, is reportedly starting to generate a lot of buzz for the things it is doing right. Among other things, it was recently ranked as one of the 11 best law schools in the country by The Princeton Review, and as the the "best value law school in America" by PreLaw Magazine. Newton notes that the PreLaw rankings are particularly important because they do not just look at the overall cost of the school, but also at things like bar passage rates and employment rates.

So while you and I (and USNWR, which labels NCCU as "Tier 4") may never have heard of NCCU, Newton concludes that, "if you want to be a lawyer, graduate from a good quality law school, with practice-ready skills, with no or little debt, and pass the bar the first time out of the gate, then this might well be the place for you."

Posted by Bruce Carton on January 5, 2010 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)


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