Law School News, 0421 WYBJ, Vol. 44 No. 2. 48

AuthorChavawn Kelley Program Coordinator University of Wyoming College of Law
PositionVol. 44 2 Pg. 48

Law School News

No. Vol. 44 No. 2 Pg. 48

Wyoming Bar Journal

April, 2021

More Than a Label: What Does it Mean to Be a Best Value Law School?

Chavawn Kelley Program Coordinator University of Wyoming College of Law

Practical thinking landed Emily Sloan at the University of Wyoming College of Law in the fall of 2018. She says the lower tuition and cost of living in Laramie mean she can make her car payment and she and her husband can manage household expenses—including the vet bills that come with having an older dog

The University of Wyoming was recently recognized by Pre- Law Magazine with a spot on its 2021 list of Best Value law schools. The magazine characterizes these schools as ones that emphasize “providing a quality education without hammering students financially.”

In PreLaw’s methodology, tuition counts for 25%, while cost of living and average student debt round out the afford ability factor. Of the 60 schools on the 2021 Best Value list, only seven had a lower percentage of students who took out loans, and 32 had tuition more than double that of Wyoming.

Klint Alexander, Dean of the UW College of Law, says, “Students with a lower debt load have more professional freedom after graduation. Whether it’s a smaller private practice, public interest law or government or nonprofit work, students don’t have to make a career decision that’s driven by debt.”

Another advantage, he says, is that young professionals gain the financial flexibility to take on a mortgage or start a family earlier than those who graduate with high student loan debt and are forced to put those dreams on hold.

Sloan will be completing her law degree in May. She says, “When I look at the bigger picture, I don’t want to burden myself and my husband.” She’s drawn to family law, labor law and nonprofit or government work. “Less debt will allow me to do the work I want to do.”

Affordability is Only Half the Equation

Dean Alexander stresses the importance of legal clinics, externships, moot court competitions, study abroad opportunities and other extracurricular activities available to UW College of Law students. “These mean a lot in the long run to one’s overall educational experience,” he says.

In her calculus, Sloan says she was won over by affordability and scholarships in combination with UW’s guarantee of a clinic experience. “I’m a hands-on learner,” she says. Sloan started at the Family...

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