[Top 10] Best and Most Affordable Law Schools in the Midwest

By Tomas H. Lucero

A career in law is one of the most sought after paths for individuals who want to make a difference. There are many fields in law—from immigration to copyright to criminal defense to many others—enough to engage any individual. It’s a career where the stakes of one’s work are high. You may save someone from a prison life term, get an injured party a great settlement or argue a case that establishes legal precedence in an area you are passionate about. First, though, you need to complete law school. If you live in the American Midwest or are open to studying there, Business Review USA has compiled a list of the best and most affordable law schools in that region of the country.

10. University of Toledo (Toledo, OH)

Overall ranking: 142-tie

Tuition $17,900 per year (full-time, in-state)/$29,449 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

Toledo Law recently reduced its in- and out-of-state tuition rates. In-state tuition is the lowest of any law school in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. Michigan and Indiana residents pay Ohio in-state tuition rates “by virtue of the College’s automatic Michigan Resident Scholarship Guarantee and Indiana Resident Scholarship Guarantee.” The school, founded in 1906, has a student ratio of 10:1. Employment of its students at graduation is 22.9 percent.

9. University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)

Overall ranking: 56-tie

Tuition $14,479 per year (full-time, in-state)/$32,852 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

Nebraska Law students graduate with some of the lowest law school debt in the country, “which means they can follow their dreams and goals as lawyers, rather than having to focus their careers on how best to service their debt. Lincoln is the state capital of Nebraska, “which creates many opportunities for students to work in the legislature, administrative agencies, prosecutors’ offices, and courts. Students have the opportunity to present oral arguments before the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Nebraska Court of Appeals.” Employment at graduation is 51.6 percent. Nebraska Law’s student faculty ratio is 11:1.

8. Wayne State University (Detroit, MI)

Overall ranking: 105-tie

Tuition $30,025 per year (full-time, in-state)/$32,808 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

Wayne Law is the premier public-interest law school in the Midwest. Their civil rights, entrepreneurship, environmental and international programs, and their related clinics, set Wayne Law apart as an advocate for justice committed to serving the community. The Program for International Legal Studies provides qualified students with several opportunities for study abroad after their first or second year. Being in Detroit provides the school with unique opportunities. “It is rewarding for Wayne Law to be part of Detroit’s renewal. We are an anchor in Midtown – where lawyers work and confront the real problems of an urban environment – and our students, faculty and alumni contribute to the city’s rebirth on a daily basis.” Student-faculty ratio is 10:1; their employment at graduation is 27.6 percent.

7. Washburn University (Topeka, KS)

Overall ranking: 122-tie

Tuition $19,094 per year (full-time, in-state)/$29,766 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

Washburn’s location and caliber in teaching writing are two of the most important attributes of the school. "From its location in the capital city—exposing you to tons of internship and externship opportunities—to its nationally ranked legal writing program, Washburn provides its students with a foundation for success,” writes a student. The following states are eligible for in-state tuition: Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. It also offers dual degrees combining a J.D. with an MBA, a Master of Accountancy or Master of Social work degree. Its employment at graduation is 26.5 percent.

6. University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD)

Overall ranking: 145-tie

Tuition $13,904 per year (full-time, in-state)/$29,518 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

The University of South Dakota School of Law’s alumni “make up a majority of the membership of the South Dakota Bar and all five justices of the South Dakota Supreme Court.” The school has excellent first-time bar passage rates and employment statistics. The employment at graduation rate is 59.2%. Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1.

5. University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

Overall ranking: 82-tie

Tuition $24,010 per year (full-time, in-state)/$29,010 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

The University Of Cincinnati School Of Law is one of the oldest law schools in the country. A dual J.D. and MBA degree is available. Students can get real-world training through law school-operated centers and clinics like the Rosenthal Institute for Justice, where, through the Ohio Innocence Project, students work to identify unjustly imprisoned inmates throughout the state. The National Law Journal and the National Jurist’s PreLaw Magazine recently named UC Law a top-ranked school for practical training and firm hires. Its employment at graduation rate is 36.2 percent.

4. Ohio Northern University (Pettit)  (Ada, OH)

Overall ranking: 145-tie

Tuition $24,800 per year (full-time)

In 2013, Ohio Northern University became the first private law school in the country to reduce the price of tuition. Their 25 percent tuition reduction earned them the recognition of being 1 of only 6 private law colleges in the nation named to the 2014 “Best Value Law Schools.” ONU is No. 1 in Ohio for job placement and bar passage. ONU’s in-house legal clinic is different from other law school clinics. “It operates like a true law firm. Students are assigned clients and are expected to not only meet with them, but to represent their clients from the start of a case and see if through until their clinic tenure is finished.” Their student-faculty ratio is 12:1

3. University of Akron (Akron, OH)

Overall ranking: 127-tie

Tuition $24,340 per year (full-time, in-state)/$24,440 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

Akron Law is a National Jurist Magazine Best Value Law School. The school’s scholarship awards remain valid for an entire law school career. Students get an opportunity to try a real case in state trial and appellate court. The program also offers specialized certificates in intellectual property, health care and litigation. Akron Law’s student-faculty ratio is 11:1 and its employment at graduation rate is 28.9 percent.

2. University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND)

Overall ranking: 138-tie

Tuition $10,925 per year (full-time, in-state)/$24,249 per year (full –time, out-of-state)

The University of North Dakota School of Law is one of the smaller public law schools in the nation. Entering classes are 80 to 90 students, with an overall student body of 250. The school has an Academic Success program designed to help students succeed in their first year and beyond. Getting a good job after graduation is increased in North Dakota due to the state’s dearth in attorneys. “The State of North Dakota is in the midst of a rapid-onset shortage of lawyers…Practice-ready lawyers are critically needed throughout [North Dakota].” Finally, the law school is undergoing an 11.4 million renovation.

1. Capital University (Columbus, OH)

Overall ranking: Ranking Not Posted

Tuition $1,185 per credit full- and part-time

Capital’s comprehensive curriculum balances advanced courses in emerging areas of law with meaningful experiential opportunities and skills training. Capital’s faculty includes full-time professors who are nationally recognized legal experts in their fields, including Professor Mark Strasser, an expert in the fields of constitutional law and family law who has published more than 100 articles and books. Capital’s location, in downtown Columbus, Ohio provides ample opportunity for networking, externships and pro bono opportunities. It is located just blocks from the Ohio Statehouse and Capitol Square. The Law School is also near numerous courts, government agencies, public service and non-profit organizations, law firms and corporate headquarters.

Source: US NEWS

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