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Dickinson Law Falls 20 Places In U.S. News & World Report Ranking

In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking, the Penn State Dickinson School of Law was ranked as the 71st-best law school in the country, down 20 spots from 2014.

The methodology ranks 198 accredited law schools on 12 measures of quality, which are broken down into four categories, each with its own subcategories: quality assessment, selectivity, placement success, and faculty resources. The data for the most recent ranking was taken from last fall and early this year.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, Pennsylvania residents were eligible for the Commonwealth Scholars Program, a grant that is renewable for all three years of law school resulting in $60,000 savings. This caused a dramatic increase in the number of applications, and consequently made acceptance more competitive. According to the school’s Standard 509 report, in 2014, the school received 2,121 applications and accepted 981 students. The median LSAT score of accepted students was 158 last year.

Only 29.1 percent of 2013 graduates “had a full-time job lasting at least a year for which bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage” according to the report. However, that same year, Penn State edged out nine other law schools to receive the highest bar passage rate in the state, with a 93.83 percent success rate. It is the hope that as the new Commonwealth Scholars classes progress through the three-year program, the ranking will rebound.

This is the last U.S. News release where the University Park and Carlisle campus rankings will be combined. Last summer, the University Park campus was granted separate accreditation. Starting in the fall, students will either enroll in Dickinson Law, or Penn State Law.

It will be interesting to see how the separate schools fare in similar rankings in the future.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the 2014 bar passage rates were evaluated as part of the most recent ranking. That is not the case. We apologize for the error.

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