UM Law School Rises 31 Spots in National Ranking

UM students study in the William J. Jameson Law Library.

MISSOULA – The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana jumped 31 spots in the latest U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Schools list, earning a rank of 103 nationally.

This ranking evaluates institutions on their successful placement of graduates and bar passage rate, faculty resources, academic achievements of entering students, and peer assessment by law schools, lawyers and judges on overall program quality.

The high ranking recognizes the law school’s amazing students, talented faculty and dedicated staff, said Cathay Y. N. Smith, acting dean of academic affairs and a UM law professor.

“As the only law school in Montana, we attract exceptional students from all over the state and nationwide,” Smith said. “Students come to the Blewett School of Law to gain a place-based and student-centered education and to live the outdoor recreational lifestyle that Montana offers.

“The faculty are experts in their areas of law and have significant legal practice experience that allows them to integrate theory with practice in the classroom,” she said. “We may be a small school, but we are proud to offer an exceptional and affordable legal education to our students.”

UM law students receive practical training to help them excel in practice after graduation.  Every student in their third year is placed in a clinic, where they have the opportunity to practice law under the supervision of faculty and experienced attorneys in a variety of settings.

“The excellent education that our students receive here is reflected in our high bar passage rates, judicial clerkship placements and employment rates,” said Monte Mills, a law professor and the acting dean of student success.

During the past year, UM’s law school also ranked No. 7 in National Jurist’s PreLaw Magazine’s 2021 list of Best Value Law Schools and No. 5 for clerkship placement, with 30.4% of the law school’s 2020 graduates placed in judicial clerkships. Additionally, it ranked 4th in Best Value Schools’ 20 Most Affordable Law Schools.

In addition to achieving high standing in the overall law school ranking, the Blewett School of Law also placed No. 34 in in U.S. News’ Best Environmental Law Programs list.

The Blewett School of Law’s Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program (NREP) is nationally recognized for its place-based learning, rich curricular offerings and guaranteed environmental clinical opportunities with agencies and nonprofits that provide students a strong foundation for entering practice.

The program’s faculty members have substantial and diverse practice experience in natural resources, environmental and Indian law, coming from careers in the public, private, nonprofit and tribal sectors. Drawing from that experience, they help students apply legal principles and examine issues from a variety of perspectives.

“It is particularly exciting for me as the first woman of color to lead the admissions office to receive these high U.S. News rankings during my tenure,” said Alicia Miles, director of admission for the Blewett School of Law. “It allows us to raise our national profile and increase our visibility to the best students. But regardless of our ranking, Montana truly is an amazing place to begin a legal career. The people, place and community here are unmatched.”

For more information about the U.S. News and World Report, visit To find out more about the Blewett School of Law, go to


Contact: Alexander Blewett III School of Law, 406-243-4311,