Skip to comments.Ave Maria Quickly Becoming Top Catholic Law School.
Posted on 11/01/2005 5:20:14 PM PST by dangus
I was very impressed that Sam Alito had hired a clerk from Ave Maria Law School, which only recently opened. What a big feather in the law school's cap to have graduated someone who clerked for a future Supreme Court justice! So, I went to check just how well Ave Maria is being ranked as a law school. Surprisingly, it has (by my measure, which I detail following) already surpassed Georgetown University and has University of Notre Dame in its sites, as it strives to become the top Catholic law school in the country... as it remains the nation's most conservative law school.
(ConfirmThem.com links to Southern Appeal citing this law student... I wish I could confirm this story better, but both sites normally do a good job of stating when they are passing on rumors.)
Ave Maria doesn't yet rank very high on many ranking systems, because they often include criteria that a brand new and very small school can't compete in, such as number of full-time faculty, library seating capacity, networking with graduates, or number of full time faculty. US News and World Report wouldn't even measure Ave Maria because it is so new that it only has a provisional certification. And while it doesn't have an enormous faculty, it offers one of the smallest section sizes (8th), and, according to the Princeton Review, ranks 4th best in quality of professors as ranked by graduates, beating out not only Georgetown and Notre Dame, but also Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Virginia and Harvard.
The Thomas M Cooley Law School has created a database of objective measures of a law school's excellence. Here are the key rankings that don't unfairly penalize schools for newness or smallness, with top schools and most prominent Catholic schools for comparison:
Average first-year class section size (out of 189 schools):
8. Ave Maria, 45
20. Stanford, 56
29. Virginia, 60
49. Yale, 68
65. George Mason, 70
101. Harvard, 79
153. Notre Dame, 91
172. BYU, 106
178. Georgetown, 112
Library Size (measured by number of titles)
34. Notre Dame
44. Ave Maria
55. George Mason
(This is particularly impressive, because libraries DO take time to build large collections or less and less current books.)
1. Yale, 7.9
2. Stanford, 9.5
3. Arizona, 9.8
4. Chicago, 9.9
11. Harvard, 11.3
36. Virginia, 13.6
43. Ave Maria, 14.0
59. Georgetown, 14.8
70. Notre Dame, 15.6
127. BYU, 18.3
(Ave Maria also should improve in this measure, too, because Ave Maria's first-year classes are over-sampled due to the fact that the school's first-year enrollment is growing so quickly.)
7. Ave Maria
7. Notre Dame
Passing Rate, First Time on Bar Exams
2. BYU (!)
5. Notre Dame
15. Ave Maria
By the way, these are the most conservative schools, according to the Princeton Review:
1. Ave Maria
3. Bringham Young
4. Notre Dame
6. George Mason
7. Louisiana State
These are the schools with the best professors, as ranked by recent graduates:
1. Washington and Lee
2. Boston U.
3. Loyola Marymount (CA)
4. Ave Maria
10. Wake Forest
Of the other top conservative schools... Of course, BYU and Notre Dame are excellent, widely regarded as among the top schools in the country. And yes, Notre Dame is a LOT more conservative "then you remember it." George Mason has a lot of commuters; I wonder if that's why it does so well by some measures, but so poorly by program completion and % passing bar on first try. Baylor is very, very strong, but not quite world class. (Baylor supporters, I expect to hear you refute that!) Regent is simply failing to get its ducks in a row, it's tooo non-selective.
Actually, Ave Maria has full accredidation now. This article is great as I am currently a second year at Ave Maria.
Thanks for the good news. I trusted US News and World Report's 2006 analysis. I suspect US News is just avoiding having to rank such a counter-cultural college. Good luck... I'm working full time but attending another "Mary" college which is also pretty authentic...
As a Graduate of the first class (2003) I can say that it was very conservative while I was there. Of course, I might have been a little more conservative then most, but there was, and still is, an amazing intellectual discussion going on there. I personally do not like the Dean of the school (part of the old Catholic Law School guard), but the faculty is outstanding.
It is true that an Ave Maria classmate of mine and davewendell's is clerking for Judge Alito. That clerk is as pro-life as a person can be - lets leave it at that.
Ave Maria is also very JAG friendly. The first class alone had 10% of graduates go JAG. Among other descriptions, Ave Maria is a "God and Country" kind of school.
As a graduate of the inaugural class, I thank you for lauding this fine school.
And yes, one of my classmates - summa cum laude - was a clerk for Sam Alito at the time he was elevated to the SCOTUS.
Grads also worked on - and helped to win - NOW v. Scheidler, the 20 year lawsuit the feminazis used to harass a staunch and effective pro-life advocate.
I was looking this up because the son of an acquaintance is about to graduate from there. Seems like they’ve run into some roadblocks of late.