MISSOULA – Best Value Schools recently released a national list of the 20 Most Affordable Law Schools, and the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law ranked fourth for its low cost of tuition.
“Without the added pressure to make ends meet or to pay back exorbitant student loans, I’ve been able to keep a healthy life balance and stay focused on learning the law,” said second-year law student Jhevon McMillan.
“The cost put me at ease when deciding to come to Missoula,” he said. “The affordability will no doubt inspire more people like me to attend, creating greater diversity in the Montana legal community.”
Besides the reasonable tuition, McMillan said, the true value of his Montana legal education is the relationships he has formed with professors, fellow students and staff members that would have been more difficult at a larger school with a bigger price tag.
“In my experience, our unique community allows us to easily interact with one other often,” he said. “Because of that, I’ve become friends with everyone. The feeling is ‘We are all in this together.’”
In the ranking, Best Value Schools cited the practical education UM law students receive in faculty-supervised, experience-based clinics in settings ranging from criminal defense offices to environmental nonprofits.
“While the Blewett School of Law is extremely affordable, I think the amount of hands-on experience, as well as the kind and caring community, truly make the school stand above the rest,” said Gabrielle Broere, a third-year law student.
“In clinic, I have been able to work on cases that have tested me and forced me to grow in ways I never imagined,” she said. “My clinical experience has helped me to further my skills and feel ready to work after graduation.”
Best Value Schools highlighted that over 33% of Blewett School of Law graduates are placed in judicial clerkships and more than 92% pass the bar exam on their first attempt as evidence of the high-quality level of education provided to students at a less-expensive school. (The national, first-time bar pass rate in 2019 was 79.6%.)
Best Value’s recognition is one of many accolades garnered by UM’s law school, which is frequently cited by educational and industry organizations for being a top school in the areas of practical training and environmental law. The school’s Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic is the oldest such clinic in the U.S.
It also houses the first accredited Master of Public Administration program in the nation within a law school, placing UM on the cutting edge for training the next generation of students interested in law, policy and public service.
“This ranking reflects our commitment to delivering the best possible legal education at a cost that will allow our graduates to pursue their career goals without the debt burden so many new lawyers carry,” said Paul Kirgis, dean of the law school.
For more information about the Alexander Blewett III School of Law, visit https://www.umt.edu/law/.
Contact: Andi Armstrong, Blewett School of Law director of marketing and communications, 406-243-6509, firstname.lastname@example.org.