Earlier this week, as you know, U.S. News & World Report published its 2014 rankings of top law schools. This year, the College of Law was ranked 47th, having been ranked 35th in the prior rankings cycle.
Although we are disappointed by this assessment, we know that the current rankings fail to capture many of the College’s most important institutional achievements and values: the College’s new Chicago Program; the best bar passage rate (98%) in the state of Illinois in summer 2012; the College’s ranking of 17th in terms of alumni ascending to partnership in the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms; and our fundamental commitment to accessibility, affordability, and transparency – including tuition and scholarship guarantees. It is also important to note that the current rankings rely on employment data for the Class of 2011 – a class that faced a particularly challenging legal market, including in the state of Illinois. Externally verified placement data for the College of Law’s Class of 2012, which will be submitted to external bodies later this week and reported in the upcoming U.S. News cycle, show a significantly higher percentage of Illinois Law graduates in long-term jobs after nine months. You will receive a follow-up email when the Class of 2012 nine-month placement data is available on our website. We believe that this significant, positive development reflects the considerable investments made by the College in its Career Services Office, as well as in clinics and externships that help students become even more practice-ready.
As you make your decision to attend the University of Illinois College of Law, please know that we will remain focused on our chief task: to prepare students to excel as lawyers, from day one and throughout their careers. In the coming weeks, deans, faculty members, and students will be reaching out to you and our other admitted students to address your questions and convey what Illinois Law has meant to them. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me.