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Marquette Law School falls out of top 100 ranking

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The Marquette Law School lost its spot on the top 100 law schools in the country in this year’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, falling to 105 out of 198 accredited schools.

Last year Marquette Law tied for the No. 93 spot with seven other schools. This year it is tied with Stetson University in Gulfport, Fla., and Wayne State University in Detroit.

“The recent U.S. News ranking is within the general range that we would expect in any given year,” said Joseph Kearney, dean of the law school, in an email. “It’s very slightly lower this year than the past couple of years, but not materially so, in my estimation.”

U.S. News makes its rankings based on a set of weighted criteria including quality assessment of lawyers, judges and law school faculty across the nation: selectivity, job placement success, the rate students pass the bar exam and faculty resources.

“It’s important to take a long-term view of these things,” Kearney said. “And there’s no question that the general trajectory of our U.S News ranking over the past 25 years has been upward.”

Mitchell Lindstrom, a third-year law student at Marquette, said he was a bit surprised of the lower ranking because of the resources available at the school.

“For instance, we have the Marquette Poll which has become an extremely accurate measure for the outcome of political races,” Lindstrom said in an email. “The other asset that people often overlook is the magnificence of Eckstein Hall. Not only is it an amazing building but it’s also a magnet for community engagement. How many law schools across the country can say they hosted a gubernatorial debate in their facilities?”

Kearney said he is more interested in the reputation of the law school than its ranking.

“Law school rankings are part of reputation, but not so much small variations from one year to the next — and in all events only part,” Kearney said. “And, in fact, Marquette Law School’s reputation in Wisconsin has never been better. Both our traditional program of legal education and some of our recent innovations have occasioned a lot of attention and even acclaim.”

Lindstrom also pointed out reputation as important, but stressed the importance of having a strong alumni network.

“I would love to see a law degree from Marquette hold more clout outside the Midwest, but ultimately I think that onus is on myself and other alumni,” Lindstrom said. “The more well respected lawyers that Marquette puts out into the world, the more respected the degree will be, and the better the applicant pool gets.”

Kearney said he does not expect the rankings shift to have any notable effect on the number of applicants to the law school in coming years.

“It’s a minor blip on the radar,” Lindstrom said. “While the law school will always be a community of students, at the end of the day, you are only as good as your GPA and how well you can interview.”

U.S. News conducts these rankings annually and used data from fall 2014 and early 2015 to make its qualifications. Yale University, Harvard University and Stanford University came in first, second and third respectively. The University of Wisconsin’s law school held its spot at No. 31.

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