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Lewis & Clark law programs earn high marks in 2012 U.S. News & World Report rankings

April 13, 2011

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Four law programs at Lewis & Clark Law School earned high rankings in the U.S. News & World Report 2012 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The law school also ranks among the best law schools in the western United States and among the top ten law schools on the west coast with Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, Berkley.

“Lewis & Clark continues to strengthen its reputation as a top law school in the western United States thanks to outstanding programs like those recognized by U.S. News,” said Lewis & Clark Law School Dean Robert Klonoff. “Those programs are built on stellar professors and legal scholars, as well as exceptional clinical experiences where students put their classroom knowledge to work.”

Environmental law program ranks second

The environmental law program has consistently ranked number one or number two in U.S. News rankings for more than a decade. The program offers students the widest range of subject areas available in the field, as well as unique clinical experiences. Students work on influential legal cases, draft public policies, and present written and oral arguments through one of its three clinical programs: Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, International Environmental Law Project, and Animal Law Clinic.

Lewis & Clark Law School has served as a leader in the field of environmental law since it founded the program in 1970, the first of its kind in the country. Janice Weis, associate dean and director of the environmental and natural resources law program, points out that this long history and connection to Pacific Northwest natural resources issues has given it a leg up on its competition.

“We are always proud to be recognized by U.S. News as a leading environmental law program,” said Weis. “In addition to our environmental law distinction, we are also proud to deliver a truly comprehensive program that is dedicated to teaching our students environmental and natural resources law. This means our graduates are best prepared to understand all sides of an environmental legal issue and more likely to succeed in the courtroom and in advising clients.” 

Learn more about environmental law at Lewis & Clark:

Legal writing program ranks 15th

The legal writing program moved up four spots to earn its highest ranking to date. Lewis & Clark has developed a nationally recognized Legal Analysis and Writing program through extensive curricular offerings and innovative teaching methods of professors such as Steve Johansen.

Johansen has served as a catalyst in the legal writing community, earning the Legal Writing Institute and Association of Legal Writing Directors’ prestigious Blackwell Award for contributions to improving the field of legal writing. He has organized three applied legal storytelling conferences for the legal writing community including the 2009 conference that brought legal writing experts from around the world to the Lewis & Clark campus.

“The breadth of our course offerings is a real strength of our program,” Johansen said. “All students develop foundational legal analysis and writing skills in the first year.  Upper-division students can choose from a variety of writing courses tailored to their specific interests. This gives our students a rigorous preparation so they are ready to hit the ground running when they enter practice.”

Listen to an interview with Johansen who explains why effective legal writing is both an art and a science.

Intellectual property law ranks 24th

The intellectual property program offers students hands-on experience working with clients on intellectual property issues including trademark, copyright, and licensing with small companies, major companies, and emerging high-technology ventures through its nationally recognized Small Business Legal Clinic and through its nationally recognized Small Business Legal Clinic and internships in corporate and entrepreneurial counsel.

Lydia Pallas Loren, Kay Kitagawa & Andy Johnson-Laird IP faculty scholar and professor of law, has helped make the intellectual property program a standout with her academic leadership. Her casebook Copyright in a Global Information Economy, now in its third edition, has been widely adopted at law schools across the nation. Loren has also taken her scholarly interest in copyright law into the field of digital publishing. In this podcast interview, Loren talks about her work as an intellectual property expert and foray into the world of downloadable text books.

Part-time law program ranks 32nd

Since its inception in 2008, Lewis & Clark Law School has placed among the top half of U.S. News rankings of the country’s part-time law programs.

U.S. News began ranking part-time law programs, stating it recognized what a vital role these programs play in the legal education field for many people wanting to earn a juris doctor degree. The American Bar Association reports that about 16 percent of U.S. law students are enrolled part time. At Lewis & Clark, one out of ten first-year students enrolled in the part-time program in 2010.

The U.S. News methodology for ranking part-time law programs is based on four factors: reputation among deans and faculty at peer schools, LSAT scores, undergraduate GPAs of students entering in fall 2010, and the breadth of the part-time focus.

Shannon Davis, dean of admissions, said she is proud to have Lewis & Clark recognized for the quality its part-time program since the law school is intentional in blurring boundaries with the full-time program.

“The flexibility of being able to go to law school part-time or full-time, during the day or evening, is a real advantage to our students,” Davis said. “It makes law school accessible while still allowing them to manage work, family, and other obligations. And the faculty have made this an extremely student-centered place. Part-time students can attest to that sense of support, camaraderie, and access.”

In this video, part-time student Darren Nichols talks about managing a career and family life while enjoying the strong sense of community from his peers and faculty at Lewis & Clark.

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