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News Posted on April 23, 2009

UC Davis School of Law Ranks High in US News and Other National Surveys

UC Davis School of Law placed 35th in U.S. News & World Report's latest ranking of 184 American Bar Association-approved law schools in the United States.  The rankings appear in the magazine's 2010 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools," on newsstands this week.

The U.S. News ranking, probably the best-known (if sometimes criticized) rating of American law schools, also placed UC Davis 25th in the "peer assessment ranking" category that is based on surveys of law deans and professors nationwide and 20th in the racial diversity of the student body.  The peer assessment ranking of 25th coincides almost perfectly with the rating of 24th given to UC Davis Law School by the most recent comprehensive faculty quality ranking undertaken by Brian Leiter, a law professor at the University of Chicago whose on-line assessment of law faculty productivity and influence is often regarded as the most systematic quantitative evaluation of law schools, and the best-known law ranking system other than the annual U.S. News survey. 

"The rankings are a welcome recognition of the excellence and diversity we see on a daily basis at UC Davis School of Law," said Law School Dean Kevin R. Johnson.  "Our faculty and students can take pride in seeing their high standing among the country's most outstanding law schools confirmed in this prominent national survey."

The U.S. News & World Report ranking of law schools uses a complex methodology that includes surveys of law school deans and faculty as well as lawyers and judges, averages of student scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), median undergraduate grade point averages, percentage of applicants accepted, employment rates and bar passage rates of recent graduates, and student/teacher ratios, alongside other factors.  Ratings in all these categories are weighted and totaled to determine the overall school rankings, which this year placed UC Davis behind only Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and USC among California law schools. 

The 2010 overall ranking of 35th represents a one-year climb of nine spots-the second-largest jump of all schools in the top 50-from the aberrational ranking of 44th in 2009.  Dean Johnson said that while any number of factors can cause a law school to rise or fall in the rankings from year to year, and that any year's ranking should thus not be judged in isolation, the consistently outstanding work of UC Davis' faculty and students have firmly established the Law School among the upper ranks in the annual survey. 

Johnson, the first Latino dean of any University of California professional school, said that the high rating for diversity was also a source of pride for UC Davis Law, which recently was ranked tenth in the nation for faculty diversity by the Princeton Review.  Johnson and UC Davis School of Law also figured prominently in a story on "Most Diverse Faculty" in National Jurist magazine, which noted the Princeton Review ranking and reported that UC Davis has the highest number of Asian American faculty of any American law school.

"It is impressive that in our relatively brief four decades of existence, UC Davis School of Law has achieved consistent recognition among the nation's very best law schools," said Johnson.  "We are solidly positioned within the top echelon of American law schools, and poised to make even more progress over the coming years."

U.S. News & World Report rankings

National Jurist article on "Most Diverse Faculty"