Aug 24, 2012    #102
Contact: John Martellaro

UMKC Law School Again Earns 'Best Value' Designation

School ranked in nation's Top 20, rises in rankings after methodology improvements

The School of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is listed among the Top 20 "Best Value" law schools in the U.S., according to the latest rankings released by The National Jurist magazine.

Being listed in the magazine's rankings is nothing new for UMKC Law, which has moved up in the rankings each year since it was ranked 25th in 2009. This year, however, ushered in a more precise methodology by the magazine - a change that lifted UMKC into the Top 20 while knocking some schools out of the rankings altogether.

The key difference is in how the magazine figures successful job placement after graduation into its value calculation, which also includes tuition, cost of living, student debt and bar exam passage rates. Previously, any graduate working "full time" was calculated as a highly successful placement; in the new formula, only those working full time as a lawyer are counted in that category. UMKC's high job placement rate for graduates - 76 percent as a "weighted" rate under the complex formula - boosted it into the top 20 this time, despite the fact that only five schools in the top 20 had a higher cost of living than Kansas City. Eleven schools in the top 20 had a higher tuition cost than UMKC.

Other rankings, such as U.S. News, give schools positive credit for spending more on each student. As UMKC Law School Dean Ellen Suni explains, "UMKC is penalized under those rankings, because we are efficient and effective in delivering high quality legal education at a reasonable cost. The 'best value' rating gives us credit rather than penalizing us for our ability to do that."

Dean Suni welcomed the new National Jurist ranking and the more realistic calculation that produced it. She said the school provides value to students by preparing them with knowledge and skills prized by recruiters.

"The law school prides itself on incorporating practical skills with theoretical perspectives to create 'practice ready' law graduates. Our students can graduate and go directly to work in any setting, from large law firms to solo practice to public service, and can serve as effective advocates, lawyers for entrepreneurs and counselors for children and families," Suni said. "UMKC Law was one of the first law schools, and has been among the most successful, in developing programs to assist students in the bar preparation process and the transition to practice." The complete Top 20 list and accompanying article can be found online at

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

The UMKC School of Law is a top 20 "Best Value" law school that prepares students for practice by integrating high level theory and lawyering skills throughout the curriculum. The School provides a supportive academic and professional community offering high level student interaction with faculty and the legal community. UMKC School of Law is a true community of scholars committed to the foundations of good lawyering: respect for people, for knowledge and ideas, and for justice.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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