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Published: Friday, 4/2/2004

UT hurdles into 2nd tier in ranking of law schools

BY RYAN E. SMITH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The University of Toledo's law school has moved into the second tier of law schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report, a distinction UT officials hope will help make it more desirable to prospective students and law firms seeking its graduates.

The magazine lists UT in a five-way tie for 94th out of the nation's 177 law schools, the highest ranking that UT officials can recall receiving. Last year, the school was 101st, placing it in the third of four tiers and just below the second tier.

"We knew we were close, and we knew that we had improved in a couple of categories," said Phillip Closius, dean of the law school. "This is a very nice recognition of all the improvements that we've been making over the last five years."

The annual rankings should be available online today and will hit newsstands Monday, said Richard Folkers, director of media relations for the magazine.

The most immediate impact of UT's jump in the rankings could be in admissions, where Mr. Closius said he expects to see an increase in the number and quality of applicants.

"Prospective students clearly look at these things," he said.

The same can be said of law firms, Mr. Closius said, adding that the improved ranking could help with placing UT graduates and recruiting faculty members.

Nancy Slonim, director of national media services for the American Bar Association, said the organization does not track whether law firms may be influenced by rankings. Taken overall, though, she said "the ABA does not believe that rankings of law schools are helpful."

One thing that helped the UT climb in the rankings: its incoming undergraduate students' grade-point-average rose from 3.14 last year to 3.41 this year.

"We have a certain amount of momentum in the building," Mr. Closius said. "I think this ranking reflects that."

The magazine's top law school was Yale University. The University of Michigan ranked seventh, and Ohio State University finished 42nd. The other Ohio law schools ahead of UT were Case Western Reserve University and the University of Cincinnati at 56th and 59th, respectively.

Contact Ryan E. Smith at:

ryansmith@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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