HONOLULU — The William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa has just ranked high nationally among the country’s law schools in two important realms, according to a UH press release.
The Law School has been named one of the “60 Best Value Law Schools” for 2011 by “PreLaw Magazine,” and it is 16th in National Jurist Magazine’s ranking of the top 20 law schools that offer exceptional clinical training opportunities. The sister magazines track values, trends, and issues in American law education and are viewed as important sources of information for students applying to law schools, those immersed in legal education, and law school graduates.
“It is always nice to be recognized,” Law School Dean Avi Soifer said. “And it’s certainly accurate to say that we stand out for providing tremendous value in the education we offer our students, and the clinical component of our curriculum is one of our many unusually strong programs.”
In choosing the 60 best value law schools, PreLaw evaluates the bar pass rate, along with the percentage of students employed nine months after graduation and student indebtedness. The magazine also includes the cost of tuition into its algorithm. This year the magazine changed its standards slightly — to enhance fairness — by evaluating the bar pass rate and employment rate over the last two years rather than just the most recent.
“In past years a school could be included one year and excluded the next year due to slight fluctuations in their bar pass rate,” said Jack Crittenden, editor of both magazines, in announcing the new 2011 rankings on the PreLaw website. “This year’s changes are designed to penalize a school for poor bar exam performance, but not to exclude them outright.”
In National Jurist’s evaluation of schools with the best clinical program opportunities, the magazine points out that today’s difficult job market includes law firms who want new associates “who can hit the ground running.” Experience during law school in working with real clients on real problems helps to produce such a lawyer.
At Richardson Law School, students receive credits for their experience in real-life client clinics including those in criminal law, family law, environmental law, elder law, child welfare law, Native Hawaiian rights law, and small business law.