Law magazine ranks St. Thomas seventh nationally for 'Where Public-Interest Lawyers Go to School'

Law magazine ranks St. Thomas seventh nationally for 'Where Public-Interest Lawyers Go to School'

National Jurist Magazine in its March issue ranked the University of St. Thomas School of Law seventh nationally for the percent of students going into public-interest law.

National Jurist used American Bar Association information to rank U.S. law schools. Over the past several years the number of St. Thomas law graduates going into public service has exceeded the national average.

For the 2007 graduating class, National Jurist reported that 7.3 percent of St. Thomas graduates were engaged in government practice while 12.2 were employed in public-interest law. Public-interest law includes nonprofit and government positions.

Since its 2001 founding, the School of Law has had a strong public-interest and public-service focus in its mission. The school has a public-service requirement of 50 hours, and it is not uncommon for students to exceed that by hundreds of hours.

The School of Law also has strong representation of public-service law in its Mentor Externship Program and in the university's Interprofessional Center, which provides services through graduate programs in law, social work and psychology.

"Year after year, our students demonstrate amazing commitment to public service and a passion for representing the underserved and disenfranchised in our communities. It is inspiring, but not surprising, to see their success in pursuing public-interest careers," noted Catherine Powell Finnegan, interim director of career services.

In related news, the St. Thomas School of Law is in the third tier among 195 law schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report. This was the second year St. Thomas was eligible to be included in the magazine's rankings.

This year, St. Thomas saw its scores improve in several categories: peer assessment, assessment by lawyers and judges, undergraduate G.P.A., and admission test scores.

While the magazine has a third and fourth tier for its law school rankings, there are only three categories. The first category, "The Top 100 Schools," has 104 schools because of ties. The schools in this category are ranked numerically from first place to 100th place. There is no second tier. The third tier, with 37 schools, alphabetically lists schools that fall between 105th place and 140th place.