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updated: 3/12/2013 5:54 PM

University of Illinois law school ranking drops

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Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University of Illinois College of Law dropped 12 places to No. 47 in the country in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, which were released Tuesday.

The drop comes less than a year after the law school was fined by the American Bar Association for falsely inflating the performance of incoming students in data used to market the school.

A key factor in the drop from 35 to 47, though, was a change in the way the magazine evaluated job-placement data, U.S. News & World Report's Robert Morse told The News-Gazette in Champaign. This year jobs were sorted by factors such as whether they were full- or part-time, or temporary versus long term, he said.

"We were able to emphasize jobs that we think prospective law students (want)," he said.

Bruce Smith, dean of the law school, said he is disappointed by the drop.

"We think it failed to capture many of the most important initiatives and values we have invested in and care about," he said. "The core fundamentals of what we do don't change -- highly respected faculty, superb students and outstanding alumni."

The law school's rank dropped from 23rd to 35th last year after the problem with the use of student-performance data was first reported. The American Bar Association later took the unprecedented step of fining the law school.

High U.S. News & World Report rankings are coveted by university leaders because they're widely used by students and parents.

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