UW College of Law Ranked among Nations Best Values

October 24, 2011
Three students
UW College of Law students practice their trial advocacy skills in the Summer Trial Institute, one of the many experiential learning opportunities at the law school. From left are Kyle Ridgeway, Casper, Sarah Jacobs, Laramie and Graham Hersh, Centennial, Colo.

PreLaw Magazine ranks the University of Wyoming 15th for providing the best value among the nation's more than 200 law schools approved by the American Bar Association.

"The best value study is not designed to identify the schools where students can get their greatest return on investment or where they will earn the most upon graduation," the publication noted. "Instead, this study is designed for students who want a quality legal education at an affordable price. As such, we weighed bar passage and job placement figures with tuition and average indebtedness upon graduation."

UW College of Law Dean Steve Easton says the study did not include some quality criteria that would rank UW even higher on the list.

"For example, most of our students get the opportunity to participate in clinics and, therefore, practice law with real clients and real cases before graduating.  At many schools, only a few students get that opportunity," Easton says. "Our students get a tremendous set of opportunities for a very reasonable tuition cost, at least when compared to other law schools, at both the resident and non-resident rates."

The small classes are one of UW's attractions, Easton adds.

"The law school has a very low student-to-faculty ratio of 10-to-one, so our students get to know their professors," he says.

While many schools are cutting back due to state budget cuts, that's not the case in Wyoming.

UW College of Law third-year student Brooks Tueting says, "(Attending UW) was a value-based decision, the lowest cost for the quality of the school. It's also close to my home in Fort Collins. It couldn't have been better. I got a great education for a great price."

Tueting accepted a position with a major patent law firm in Houston, Texas.

Easton says UW has worked hard to improve its bar passage rate, in part because the state has a fairly tough test that asks 11 essay questions related to 17 different topics, including oil and gas law and water law -- areas not usually on bar exams.

"This past spring, we started something new," Easton says. "We have practitioners come in to each do a half-hour lecture on a different section of Wyoming law. For example, for oil and gas we had a lawyer volunteer from Casper who is one of the country's leading experts in energy law."

PreLaw magazine, a publication of the National Jurist, is the leading news source in its markets. National Jurist reaches an estimated 100,000 law students. PreLaw, read by more than 45,000 prospective law students, is a source for students seeking knowledge and advice on preparing and choosing a law school. Today, both publications deliver news stories, trends and advice to law and prospective law students.

"There are great values if you're open to moving to a state where you can find low tuition, great academics, a lower cost of living plus good job prospects," according to the best value study.

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