Local: Education

Georgetown, George Washington slip in law school rankings

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Photo - Art from georgetown's campus to accompany story on college tuition. In Washington, DC on Thursday April 21, 2011.

Andrew Harnik/Examiner
Art from georgetown's campus to accompany story on college tuition. In Washington, DC on Thursday April 21, 2011. Andrew Harnik/Examiner
Local,DC,Maryland,Virginia,Education,Rachel Baye

Georgetown University and the George Washington University's law schools each fell one spot in the U.S. News and World Report's rankings of Best Graduate Schools released Tuesday after the publication changed the way it counts some graduates' jobs.

In the new rankings, the schools are now ranked 14th and 21st, respectively, among law schools nationwide. The University of Virginia -- the other area school whose law program is ranked in the top 25 -- held steady at seventh place, tied with the University of Pennsylvania.

Representatives from Georgetown and GW did not return requests for comment.

Top law schools
1. Yale University
2. Harvard University
2. Stanford University
4. Columbia University
4. University of Chicago
6. New York University
7. University of Pennsylvania
7. University of Virginia
9. University of California-Berkeley
9. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
11. Duke University
12. Northwestern University
13. Cornell University
14. Georgetown University
15. University of Texas-Austin
15. Vanderbilt University
17. University of California-Los Angeles
18. University of Southern California
19. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
19. Washington University in St. Louis
21. George Washington University
21. University of Alabama
23. Emory University
23. University of Notre Dame
25. Indiana University-Bloomington
Top business schools
1. Harvard University
1. Stanford University
3. University of Pennsylvania
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. Northwestern University
6. University of Chicago
7. University of California-Berkeley
8. Columbia University
9. Dartmouth College
10. New York University
11. Duke University
12. University of Virginia
13. Yale University
14. University of California-Los Angeles
14. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
16. Cornell University
17. University of Texas-Austin
18. Emory University
19. Carnegie Mellon University
20. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
21. Washington University in St. Louis
22. Indiana University-Bloomington
23. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
23. University of Washington
25. Georgetown University
Top medical schools for research
1. Harvard University
2. Stanford University
3. Johns Hopkins University
4. University of California-San Francisco
4. University of Pennsylvania
6. Washington University in St. Louis
7. Yale University
8. Columbia University
8. Duke University
8. University of Chicago
8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
12. University of Washington
13. University of California-Los Angeles
14. Vanderbilt University
15. University of California-San Diego
16. Cornell University
16. University of Pittsburgh
18. Baylor College of Medicine
18. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
18. Northwestern University
21. New York University
22. Emory University
22. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
22. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
25. Case Western Reserve University

New this year is the way U.S. News weighted post-graduation employment.

Full weight was given to graduates with full-time jobs that were expected to last indefinitely or for at least a year and that required or benefited from a law degree, explained Robert Morse, director of data research at U.S. News. Less weight was given to graduates with jobs that did not require a law degree, graduates with jobs whose start dates were deferred and graduates who went back to school full-time. Graduates with part-time and short-term jobs were weighted the least.

These changes, as well as new rules by the American Bar Association requiring schools to report more details about the types of jobs graduates have, follow a growing trend in law schools that not only help graduates get jobs but also offer paychecks to those who remain unemployed.

At GW, for example, graduates in the school's Pathways to Practice Fellowship Program can get paid $15 an hour for working up to 35 hours a week for 48 weeks assisting practicing attorneys at law firms, nonprofit organizations or government agencies.

Georgetown, meanwhile, has Entry Into Practice, which provides up to $6,000 for six months of public-interest legal work for graduates who do not have jobs.

Since Georgetown's program does not employ graduates for a year or longer, participants in the program were not counted in U.S. News' ranking with the full weight of a permanently employed graduate for the first time this year.

This likely explains the drop in the percentage of graduates employed at graduation and nine months later. At Georgetown, 63.7 percent of the class of 2011 -- the year looked at in the new rankings -- was employed at graduation, compared with 92 percent of the class of 2010, and 71.1 percent was employed nine months later, compared with 96 percent in 2010.

At GW, whose program employs graduates for almost a full year, the percentage employed at graduation increased, from 56.1 percent of the class of 2010 to 81.7 percent of the class of 2011 ??-- when the Pathways program started. But nine months later, only 88 percent were employed, down from 94.3 percent.

Employment data for U.Va., whose law school also has a program that pays graduates to work in the public sector for a year, showed no significant change.

However, it is hard to say how greatly the changes in job data affected the rankings, Morse said. "It's hard to disaggregate the meaning of one place. One place is not a meaningful move."

Other highlights from the rankings:

» Among business schools, U.Va.'s Darden School of Business rose one spot from 13th to 12th, while Georgetown's McDonough School of Business fell from 24th to 25th.

» The University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering fell one spot from 18th to 19th, and Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering climbed from 26th to 25th.

» Johns Hopkins' School of Education shot up from sixth to second place. U.Va.'s Curry School of Education also climbed from 23rd to 22nd.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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Rachel Baye

Staff Writer - Education
The Washington Examiner