West Virginia University College of Law named top school by preLaw magazine

By Tara Mapes | Sep 16, 2016

MORGANTOWN – The West Virginia University College of Law has been named a top school for public interest law and criminal law by preLaw magazine.

“Being ranked so highly in public interest law is particularly significant for us," Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the WVU College of Law told The West Virginia Record. "Public interest is where lawyers can play a truly beneficial leadership role in their communities, and that is one of the pillars of teaching at WVU Law.”

The magazine graded law schools based on the breadth of curriculum offerings as follows: 30 percent for a concentration, 24 percent for a clinic, 12 percent for a center, 12 percent for an externship, 9 percent for a journal, 8 percent for a student group, and 5 percent for a certificate.

After reviewing 204 law schools approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), the publication awarded WVU College of Law a grade of A for public interest law. Fifteen law schools shared a grade of A with WVU while only five received an A+.

West Virginia University, founded in 1867, has a long and rich history as a land-grant university. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act offering land grants of 30,000 acres of federally owned land to each state that agreed to establish a college to teach agriculture and engineering.

WVU College of Law was founded in 1878 as the first professional school in West Virginia. In 2011, The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic were established at the WVU College of Law.

WVU College of Law is the recipient of several awards including the “Go-To” Law School, Best Schools of Law 2016, Top 25 Law School for Corporate Leadership Top 5 Regional Law School for Black Law 2012 Excellence in Pro Bono Award and the Best Value Law School.

“Public interest is tied to our mission as a land-grant law school, and we instill that in our students. It’s one reason that the Public Interest Advocates at WVU Law is one of our most active student organizations,” Bowman said.

WVU Law’s Center for Law and Public Service coordinates 18 summer fellowships for students to work at public interest law organizations around the state, in addition to three postgraduate, yearlong fellowships.

"The Public Interest Advocates helps raise the funds that support these fellowships," Bowman said.

preLaw magazine was founded in 1997 and is published quarterly through Cypress Magazines in San Diego. Emerging as a publication from The National Jurist, an online legal education news source and magazine founded in 1991, more than 45,000 prospective law students read preLaw magazine, according to its site. It covers topics on law school news, profiles and trends. The print magazine is available through pre-law advisers at more than 350 universities across the nation. It is distributed through honor racks at 100 universities.

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