BATON ROUGE – Louisiana State University (LSU) Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge has been rated a Top 50 institution in two national law school rankings thanks to its high graduate employment rate.
The law center rated 43rd in Above the Law's ranking and 42nd in the National Law Journal in May, with both organizations basing rankings largely on employment data.
"When we’re included in rankings, we view it as validation that we're doing the things that matter the most to us," LSU Law Center Dean Tom Galligan told the Louisiana Record. "We scored really well in a lot of areas and I think that's a good measures of the overall strength of the program and our overall success. We are focusing on the right things to train great lawyers and when focusing on those thing things turn into good rankings that's a good thing to."
The center had 69.52 percent of its 2015 class employed in full-time jobs within 10 months of graduation. The national average is 59.3 percent, The National Journal reported.
"We begin career development in the first semester in law school; it prepares them for work in our law center during the academic year and summers prior to graduation," Erin Phifer, career services director for LSU, told the Louisiana Record. "Because Louisiana is the largest employment market for LSU graduates, we also rely heavily on our extensive alumni network for permanent placements post-graduation."
Above the Law bases its rankings on a variety of elements, including employment and quality jobs at 30 percent of the total score, education cost 15 percent, and, finally, active federal judges, U.S. Supreme Court clerks, alumni rating, debt per job and salary-to-debt ratio each making up 5 percent of the total score.
LSU law students also exceeded the median score of other schools in the categories of academics, practical/clinical training, financial aid advising and social life, according to an Above the Law survey.
"Our program really does prepare our graduates to practice law anywhere in the world," Galligan said. "We also have an experiential learning program so students are getting very practical real-life experiences. We have a great legal clinic where students represent clients, an externship program working with judges and lawyers and nonprofits, and also simulation courses where they're trying case, they're drafting legal documents."
The LSU Law center also made a 12-spot jump to 82nd in the latest U.S. News and World Report law school rankings and consistently ranks among the top 10 Best Value Law Schools in the country by National Jurist/Prelaw Magazine.
Karen Soniat, director of alumni, communications and external relations and development, told the Louisiana Record these overall measures have been, and will continue to be, priorities for the LSU Law Center, including a strong alumni network.
"The best value rankings tell an important story because students are voting with their feet to come here because it's an extraordinary value," she said. "And this reflects some of the most important values because it looks at the outcome measures, how likely they are to the pass bar, get a job, and our alums they network to help our students."