Success Affordable tuition $ Law SchooLS $ $ By Mike Stetz This year, when it came to value, Whittier Law School ranked 197th out of 200 law schools, and Charlotte ranked 199th. Only one law school – Thomas Jefferson School of Law – was ranked lower. This year’s top school for value is Atlanta-based Georgia State University College of Law, which rocked the house across the board. Its average student debt is below $65,000. The school’s 2015 bar passage rate was 88 percent, which was well above the state average of 73 percent. It’s employment performance? More than 82 percent of its grads got jobs. (See page 25 for Best Value methodology.) Now let’s compare those results with the two failed law schools. Average debt at Charlotte Law School was $140,000. At Whittier Law School, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., the average grad walked out $180,000 in hock. Both had abysmal bar-passage rates. Although Whittier recently claimed a 38 percent suc-cess rate, it made national news when only 22 T he N aTioNal J urisT Fall 2017 Jobs $ $ $ Value Bar exam $ Less debt Experience $ Quality $ A With legal education seeing dramatic turmoil, we celebrate those schools that have risen to the challenge and continue to offer affordable, quality education. 22 percent of its grads passed the July 2016 California bar. Charlotte School of Law didn’t fare much better. In the February 2017 test, only 25 percent of its students passed. Charlotte School of Law’s overall perfor-mance was so dismal that the America Bar Association put it on probation, and federal loans to students were discontinued for a time. Such results are why critics have been hounding legal education in recent years, saying too many schools were taking too many marginal students and failing to give them the academic support necessary to pass the bar, much less be successful attor-neys. Whether this is true or not, there are still many law schools where value is a benchmark. This year, 62 schools make our list. Granted, they aren’t necessarily the Yales and Harvards of the legal education world, but they don’t pretend to be. They are bent nd so, it finally happened. In the past year, two law schools announced they would close. The dire predictions first made when law school enrollment began declining have come to pass. What was one of the primary reasons both Whittier Law School and Charlotte School of Law met that fate? It’s simple. They did not offer value. The schools charged high tuitions, push-ing many students deep into debt. And the students got little in return for their money. The schools’ graduates did poorly on the bar, and many could not land jobs. There is no value in any of that. Both institutions are the very antith-esis of the schools that made The National Jurist’s annual list of Best Value Law Schools. It honors law schools that keep student debt manageable while providing a quality education so students can pass the bar and get legal jobs.