William and Mary Law School

Law and Education Schools Maintain High Rankings in USNWR Survey

  • Top notch
    Top notch
    William & Mary Law School tied its highest ranking on the latest U.S. News & World Report Grad School survey.
    Photo by Chris Cunningham

Good news is in abundance at the nation’s oldest law school. In U.S. News & World Report’s most recent survey of the nation’s top graduate and professional  schools, William & Mary Law School ranked 27th, up one spot from last year, and tied with Boston College and Iowa.  The School of Education also ranked among the nation’s best graduate programs in the survey, ranking 41st – tied with University of Illinois, Chicago.

The Law School has consistently ranked among the best in the country in the U.S. News survey. This year’s ranking is among the highest it has received in the annual report; the school also ranked 27th in the 2006 and 2007 surveys. U.S. News also added some new categories to this year’s survey including a “When Lawyers Rate Law Schools” list. William & Mary did well here, too, ranking 28th (tied with the University of California, Hastings, George Washington University, and Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

“William & Mary Law School continues to be one of the nation's great law schools, home to a nationally regarded faculty, an astonishingly talented and energetic group of students, and an exceptionally accomplished group of alumni scattered across the nation and the world.  Our best days lie ahead of us," said Davison M. Douglas, dean of the William & Mary Law School.

It has been a banner year for the nation’s oldest law school.  In October, the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners announced that 92.6 percent of William & Mary Law School graduates who took the bar for the first time passed the July 2010 exam, the highest passage rate among first-time test takers from the eight law schools in the Commonwealth. The Law School also had good news in admissions, receiving nearly 6,000 applications for its J.D. Class of 2014, which is the second largest applicant pool in its history. This also has been one of the law faculty’s most productive years as measured by publications in the nation’s most prestigious law reviews and university presses.

The School of Education also remained among the nation’s top graduate schools. Its 2012 ranking of 41st follows a ranking of 39th in 2011 when the school moved up nine spots from 48th in the 2010 survey.  The school was also ranked 48th in  the 2009 survey.


“With so many external factors, including the economy, impacting schools of education, these very positive ratings affirm the quality of our programs and the tremendous productivity of our faculty,” said Virginia McLaughlin, dean of the school of education.

The School of Education is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and just last fall they opened a brand-new 113,000 square feet facility that, for the first time in the school’s history, has brought all of their classes, programs, faculty and staff together under one roof.

U.S. News & World Report annually ranks graduate and professional school programs in education, law, medicine, engineering and business using a variety of scoring categories, such as peer assessments, student/faculty ratios and funding for faculty research. Highlights of the graduate school rankings are scheduled for publication in the 2012 version of the Best Graduate Schools book will be available for purchase as of April 5. A complete list of the rankings is available online.