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UT Law college falls in influential rankings

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    The University of Toledo Law Center in Toledo on Saturday. The college fell five spots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

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    Third year law student Sarah Boldt, 24, of Oak Harbor, studies at the University of Toledo Law Center.

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    Law students mingle after the Presidential Forum at the University of Toledo Law Center. The forum included Student Bar Association presidential candidates.

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    Law students from front left: Adrianne Larbus, vice president of the Student Bar Association, student representative Tom Kirkham, front left, and editor of the Law Review mingle after the Presidential Forum at the University of Toledo Law Center. The forum included Student Bar Association presidential candidates.

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    Student Bar Association presidental candidate Atef Khalaf talks to law student Cara Griffiths as he campaigns at the University of Toledo Law Center. Griffiths is a transfer from Wayne State, and said she likes Toledo because they offer family law, and are more attentive to her needs.

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University of Toledo’s College of Law dropped in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, placing near the bottom among Ohio and Michigan’s public law schools.

The college moved to 137th in the nationwide rankings, according to an early list of results provided to The Blade from U.S. News. Last year the school ranked 132nd.

“We try not to let the rankings drive what we do too much,” College of Law Dean Benjamin Barros said. “On the other hand, I can’t ignore them. I need to understand how they work because they’re flawed, but they’re a metric that a lot of people look at.”

The law school’s U.S. News ranking has fluctuated in recent years. It was ranked 144th two years ago before climbing to 132th last year. The law school peaked in 2007 when it reached a six-way tie for 85th place.

The rankings are determined by several metrics such as student LSAT scores, acceptance rates, job-placement success, and faculty resources. It’s an imperfect formula, but the widely cited list carries prestige and is a crucial marketing tool.

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Third year law student Sarah Boldt, 24, of Oak Harbor, studies at the University of Toledo Law Center.

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Mr. Barros said the main reason for the law school’s drop was a decrease in job-placement numbers. The percentage of UT law students employed 10 months after graduation declined from 65.7 percent last year to 60.2 this year.

Mr. Barros said the college of law is constantly trying to improve graduate employment, citing a one-credit professional-development course launched last year.

“What we’re trying to do to improve our graduate employment is we’re trying to get our students thinking more about post-graduate employment and exactly what they want to do earlier in their time in law school,” he said.

UT doesn’t expect to compete with Ohio’s top-ranked school, the 32nd-ranked Ohio State University, Mr. Barros said.

“We shouldn’t try to be Ohio State,” the law dean said. “I think we’d like to be ranked a little bit higher than where we are, but you know we’re a regional law school.”

“We’re trying to be ambitious. We don’t want to be mediocre, but on the other hand, a huge part of our mission is to provide education to a wide range of students.”

UT’s annual law tuition is among the cheapest tuition rates in the state. At $19,973 for in-state students, the law school is less expensive than the lower-ranked University of Akron ($24,214) and University of Dayton ($34,162). Law school tuition at Ohio State is $30,238.

Contact Javonte Anderson at janderson@theblade.com419-724-6065, or on Twitter @JavonteA.

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