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The William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa rose 26 points to be ranked among the top tier law schools in the country, according to the latest U.S. News and World Report 2014 graduate school rankings. The Law School ranked 80th among the nation’s 144 best law schools compared with 106th a year ago. The rankings also included a second tier of 50 additional law schools.

“Our dramatic rise in the rankings is just one indicator of our many successes, including of our dedication to helping our students find legal employment—a factor that was weighted more heavily this year,” said Law School Dean Avi Soifer.

The U.S. News consumer guide used a complex array of metrics to make its evaluations, including student/faculty ratios, employment at graduation and nine months afterward, bar passage rate, LSAT scores and acceptance rates.

First-year law student Mike Dunford said the new ranking carries significant weight for students. “It’s really validation of what most of the students already know—that the legal education we get here is truly outstanding, particularly given how small this school really is,” said Dunford.

Soifer noted that this latest ranking by U.S. News reinforces the excellence and commitment of the Richardson faculty, and the extraordinary students drawn to study law in a diverse Law School that is heavily engaged with its community.

“We rank high for our success in enrolling those we admit and for our exceptionally good faculty/student ratio. We continue to be incredibly proud of the first-class legal education we offer that honors the vision of the late Chief Justice Richardson—to keep talent and leadership grown in Hawaiʻi in Hawaiʻi,” he added.

“The Law School is a source of wonderful law clerks and excellent attorneys,” said U.S. District Court Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway. “It has produced some of the very best advocates I have seen, both in student competitions and in cases filed in Federal District Court. With each passing year, its value to the legal community increases. At this point, it is indispensable to the practice of law in Hawaiʻi.”

Other recent Law School accolades

  • In November 2012, the Law School ranked 7th in the “Diversity Honor Roll” among America’s top 27 law schools, by National Jurist magazine, placing among the top 20 U.S. schools for overall diversity and among the top seven with the highest diversity of faculty.
  • In October 2012, Princeton Review listed the school as one of the “Best 168 Law Schools” in the country and ranked Law School number 1 as the “Best Environment for Minority Students.”
  • In August 2012, the Law School was on the “A” list as a “Best Value Law School,” ranking 29th out of 47 schools, according to National Jurist.
  • In July 2012, the Law School was named one of the 20 most innovative law schools in the country by preLaw magazine and the National Jurist. The school also placed 52nd in the nation on the strength of law journal citations for publications by the law school’s faculty, according to the Scholarly Impact Report study.
  • The Law School ranked third on a list of the Top 20 law schools in helping students find state and local clerkships, according to National Jurist’s January 2012 issue of preLaw magazine.

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