The University of Toledo’s college of law rose in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, though it still placed last in the rankings among Ohio and Michigan’s public law schools.
The college moved to 140th on the rankings released this week. Last year its rank was not published.
“While we are certainly pleased to see the hard work of Dean Daniel Steinbock, his staff, and law school students raise this particular ranking, the most important and relevant metrics — bar passage rates, successful employment, and financial accessibility — clearly demonstrate UT’s College of Law is strong and continuing to thrive,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said.
Ohio law schools
■ Ohio State University - 31
■ Case Western Reserve University - 64
■ University of Cincinnati - 79
■ Cleveland State University - 115
■ University of Akron - 121
■ University of Toledo - 140
■ Capital University - Not Published
■ Ohio Northern University - Not Published
■ University of Dayton - Not Published
Michigan law schools
■ University of Michigan - 10
■ Michigan State University - 87
■ Wayne State University - 87
■ Thomas M. Cooley Law School - Not Published
■ University of Detroit Mercy - Not Published
The law school’s U.S. News ranking has fluctuated in recent years, after peaking in a six-way tie for 85th place in 2007 on the widely cited list. It was ranked 129th two years ago, and 148th the year before.
The ranks are determined mostly through such data as student LSAT scores, acceptance rates, and faculty-student ratios. They’re an imperfect science, but a highly sought-after source of prestige and a key marketing tool.
Though UT moved up in the rankings, its law school was still ranked only sixth out of nine law schools in Ohio.
UT is unlikely to ever threaten the area’s top-ranked school, the 10th-ranked University of Michigan — as the local school simply doesn’t have the resources of larger or more prestigious schools, Mr. Steinbock said.
But rankings aren’t everything, the law dean said.
A graduate of Yale University’s law program, which topped this year’s rankings, Mr. Steinbock said the rankings are a gauge of student pedigree, not program quality. They don’t measure a school’s quality of education, he said, and UT has the lowest tuition of any Ohio or Michigan law school, meaning graduates can move into their profession with less debt.
“I think there’s no question that we give an excellent education at a good price,” Mr. Steinbock said.
UT's annual law tuition, at $22,203 for in-state students, is only slightly cheaper than that at the higher-ranked University of Cincinnati ($23,536), University of Akron ($23,583), and Cleveland State University ($23,816). Tuition at Ohio State, Ohio's highest-rated law school, is $28,033.
As Dr. Jacobs said, UT law graduates have consistently passed state bar examinations at high rates. Scores of graduates have been appointed judges, and UT alumni are partners, general counsels, and lead litigators at many top firms, Mr. Steinbock has noted in the past. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Lanzinger is a graduate of the college.
Those results have garnered UT graduates a solid reputation in the region’s legal community, leaders of the Toledo Bar Association have said.