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Boalt Hall School of Law has regained 11th place in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of top law schools. Boalt came in 11th in 2003, but fell two notches last year after its former dean resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. A school spokesman called it “good news,” and said officials there are “optimistic about further significant progress in light of the ambitious plans being implemented” by the new dean, Christopher Edley Jr., who came from Harvard Law School nine months ago. Stanford Law School remained third, after Yale Law School and Harvard. Hastings College of the Law dropped one ranking, to 39th, and McGeorge School of Law tied for 90th. There was bad news for Santa Clara University School of Law and University of San Francisco School of Law, which after tying for No. 94 last year fell from the top 100 into the third tier. Julia Yaffee, senior assistant dean at Santa Clara, dismissed the results. “All schools really don’t change that much from year to year,” she said. “They need to have schools move around to have people buy their magazine.” Yaffee is one of many deans who sign on to an ABA letter each year admonishing students not to take the rankings too seriously. Yaffee added that Santa Clara did score well in specific portions of the survey. (Among Bay Area law schools, Santa Clara had the highest diversity index.) And she pointed out the school recently became a member of the Order of the Coif, which she saw as an indicator that “the school really is on the move.” Golden Gate University School of Law was listed among the fourth tier of law schools. Edley, whose goals include making Boalt a top-five school, has taken steps to improve Boalt’s financial situation in light of reduced state funding. He has pushed for higher tuition and launched an aggressive fund-raising campaign. U.S. News, which is publishing the law school data in its April issue, ranks the top 100 schools by number and lists the remaining schools as third or fourth tier. The rankings are based on statistics that include bar exam pass rates, reputation among lawyers and judges and other students, undergraduate grades, student/faculty ratios and job placement rates.

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