MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia University’s college of law is one of only 20 law schools across the nation to receive a Best Value grade of A from The National Jurist/preLaw Magazine.
The magazines select and honor Best Value law schools for providing students with “excellent chances of passing the bar and getting a legal job without taking on a ton of debt.” West Virginia University’s graduating law class of 2014 had an employment rate of 77.5 percent for full-time, long-term bar passage required and J.D. advantage jobs just 10 months after they graduated. The national average is 71.1 percent. The past year’s graduating class has even more impressive stats, said James Jolly, director of marketing and communications for West Virginia University College of Law.
“Our employment rate for the Class of 2015 is even higher than for the Class of 2014, at 80 percent,” Jolly told The West Virginia Record. “Plus, that 80 percent is 10 percent higher than the national average this year of 70 percent. Last year, our rate was only 6.4 percent higher than the national average of 71.1 percent.”
This year, there are 321 students enrolled in the university’s college of law. Jolly said they pursue a variety of degrees, including a stand-alone J.D., a J.D. with a concentration in either energy and sustainable development law, international law, labor law and public interest law or dual degrees of J.D./online MBA, J.D./M.P.A. (master’s in public administration), or J.D./LL.M. (master of laws) in energy and sustainable development law.
“Also offered, but not technically part of the Best Value ranking, is an LL.M. in forensic justice and LL.M. in energy and sustainable development law. The LL.M. is a postgraduate degree following a J.D.,” Jolly said.
The university’s college of law has received a similar honor before, Jolly said. In 2015, West Virginia University's school of law received a Best Value ranking of A-, meaning it placed in the top 40. It’s an honor, Jolly said, and proof of the college of law’s success.
“It’s positive national recognition that we offer a quality legal education at a low cost compared to most other law schools,” Jolly said. “That means a legal education at WVU Law is very good investment.”
Of course, the side effect of this recognition and ranking not only increases awareness of the college and its programs, but often results in an increase in new students.
“We expect that it will result in more applications, but it is not a guarantee,” he said.
West Virginia University's college of law also awards more than $2.3 million a year in scholarships and grants to help keep student indebtedness approximately $24,000 lower than the national average.