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The University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law slid in the rankings of the nation’s top law schools for the second year in a row. In its annual ranking of top law schools, U.S. News & World Report magazine placed Boalt at No. 13, three notches below last year’s ranking. Two years ago, it was ranked No. 7. Stanford Law School relinquished the No. 2 spot it has held for the past six years, coming in at third place. Yale University Law School and Harvard Law School ranked first and second, respectively. U.S. News & World Report released the data last week. Among the second-tier schools, Hastings College of the Law dropped two rankings, tying for No. 38 with George Mason University. Santa Clara University School of Law and the University of San Francisco School of Law tied with three other schools for No. 94. Last year, Santa Clara held the same spot and USF placed No. 97. Golden Gate University School of Law was listed among the fourth-tier law schools. U.S. News & World Report ranks the top 100 schools by number and lists the remaining schools as third or fourth tier. The magazine ranks schools based on a combination of statistical data, including the number of students who passed the bar exam, and surveys of individuals in academia and practitioners. Boalt Interim Dean Robert Berring Jr. attributed the decline in the school’s ranking to the student-faculty ratio, which is about 17-to-1. “That will be fixed next year,” Berring said. “The new dean is committed to expanding the faculty.” Harvard law school professor Christopher Edley Jr. is scheduled to take the helm in July. The school went through turmoil at the close of 2002 when then-Dean John Dwyer resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment allegation involving a student. But Berring said “that’s ancient history now.” Berring pointed out that the magazine’s detailed breakdown of the data lists Boalt among the top five law schools in reputation among judges, professionals and other academicians. In the breakdown by law specialties, Boalt retained the top spot for intellectual property law for the third year in a row, while Stanford came in at No. 3, behind George Washington University. Stanford ranked among the top 10 schools in dispute resolution, environmental law and tax law. Boalt ranked No. 10 in international law. The magazine also ranked schools according to a diversity index, based on the total proportion of minority students — excluding international students — and the mix of racial and ethnic groups on campus. Santa Clara ranked highest among Bay Area schools in diversity, tying for second place with three other schools. Stanford was listed 10th and Boalt 12th. “I think the rankings continue to show our program is extremely well regarded by students,” said Santa Clara Dean Donald Polden, adding that this year the school has received 5,300 applications for 300 spots. Polden also said the school is committed to diversity. “For a variety of reasons, a number of schools in California cannot [recruit for diversity], so it’s all the more important for schools like Santa Clara to tell people in groups that are under-represented in the legal profession” to apply. Related chart: Bay Area Law School Rankings

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