MORGANTOWN – Schools, not just students, believe in getting good grades because high marks mean an assurance of quality. When the West Virginia University College of Law recently scored high on Best Value grade from the National Jurist/preLaw Magazine, it is also a means of celebration.
“We’re very proud to be recognized again as a Best Value law school,” said Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “We take very seriously our obligation to provide the highest quality of legal education at an affordable price. This is a reflection to how well we do that. We work very hard to keep cost low and keep quality high.”
The law school is one of the 20 law schools in the nation to receive a Best Value grade of A-minus from the magazine. The magazine describes Best Value Law Schools as those that provide students with “excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a ton of debt.”
Graduate students definitely see the value in West Virginia University’s College of Law.
For example, 10 months after graduation, the WVU Law Class of 2014 had an employment rate of 77.5 percent for full-time, long-term bar passage required and JD advantage jobs. Compared to the national average, which is 71.1 percent, the students of WVU Law are doing better than their peers.
“We are very proud of that [the job rate] as well,” said Bowman. “Our job placement rates are above the national average and have been for some time. We work very hard to help our graduates train to be ready for a career in law and find jobs that they will find satisfying and rewarding. It is one thing to find students jobs. It is another thing to help students launch into careers they want to pursue. And we do a very good job at that. We are large enough to be robust. And we are small enough pay individual attention to each and every student.”
As for value, WVU Law awards more than $2.3 million a year in scholarships and grants to help keep their school affordable. Student indebtedness in WVU Law is approximately $24,000 lower than the national average compared to their peers.
Bowman hopes that this affordability and the school’s ranking will attract future applicants.
“In order to have a strong pool of applicants in this day and age, you really have to do everything well,” he said. “You have to provide an excellent legal education. You have to provide excellent student services in helping students start their careers. And you have to do so at an affordable price. You have to be innovative. It’s a challenging market. American law schools are an era of rapid change, and that is a great challenge for many schools, but it’s also an opportunity to make an impact in students’ lives if you do what you well and you do what you do right and you do it for the right reasons. We’re very proud to do all of that. It’s a challenge and an honor."