Seton Hall Law jumps 17 spots, to No. 56 overall in U.S. News law school rankings

Seton Hall Law School not only maintained its spot as the highest-ranked law school in New Jersey, it jumped up 17 spots in the national rankings, coming in at a tie for No. 56 overall on the U.S. News & World Report list, which was released Thursday morning.

Rutgers Law School was ranked No. 109.

Stanford University and Yale University tied for the top spot with a perfect 100 rating, one notch above the University of Chicago, which had a 99.

Seton Hall’s improvement comes at a time when U.S. News has made significant changes to its law rankings formula. The publisher now places greater importance on student outcomes, such as passing the bar and getting a job that makes use of a law degree.

The formula change caused a mini-controversy among schools, enough to delay the release of the rankings. Every ranking except for law schools and medical schools was released April 25.

Local law schools

The New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia-area law schools that were ranked in the Top 100 by U.S. News & World Report included:

  • University of Pennsylvania: No. 4;
  • New York University: No. 5 (tie);
  • Columbia University: No. 8 (tie);
  • Fordham University: No. 29 (tie);
  • Villanova University: No. 43 (tie);
  • Temple University: No. 54 (tie);
  • Seton Hall University: No. 56 (tie);
  • Yeshiva University: No. 69 (tie);
  • Penn State University: No. 89 (tie).

Seton Hall Law interim Dean Kip Cornwell said the school welcomed the results.

“We have long been committed to the notion that law schools should be judged by the value they provide to students,” he said. “Our professors have risen to this challenge by being among the very best teachers in the country. And our Career Services Office is among the most nurturing, supportive and creative in all of academia.”

Seton Hall Law was noted in two other areas: Its part-time program was ranked No. 12; its health care law program was ranked No. 11. Rutgers’ part-time program ranked No. 28.

Cornwell said the recognition for Seton Hall was a team effort.

“My predecessor, Kathleen Boozang, and the entire law school faculty deserve an enormous amount of credit for today’s news,” he said. “They focused on student improvement by pushing curricular reform, skills development and excellence in the classroom. And, of course, our graduates have done us proud by following through and passing the bar exam at very high rates.”

As the law school enters a new chapter, Cornwell said it has maintained a commitment to these values, all while shepherding programmatic development into new areas. Among them is a new master’s program in American law that will cater to students legally educated abroad, which starts this fall.

“This is a very exciting time to be at Seton Hall Law,” he said. “While rankings are not the reason we do this job, we are happy that this year’s edition is better at showing potential students something we already know: Seton Hall Law is a transformative place.

“In good or bad economies, this place — more than any other — empowers students to take vital steps toward the career of their dreams.”