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July 13th, 2011

Mcgill’s law faculty ranks No. 1 in Canada

Posted by Joan McGuigan
  • Article rank
  • 13 Jul 2011
  • The Gazette
  • KAREN SEIDMAN GAZETTE UNIVERSITIES REPORTER To see the QS rankings, go to topuniversities.com kseidman@ montrealgazette.com
  • ‘A source of pride for all Montrealers’

    It might become even harder now to get into the faculty of law at McGill.

    The already competitive university is basking in the glory of a new QS World University Rankings that places McGill’s law faculty 12th best in the world and No. 1 in Canada.

    It’s not entirely bad when the universities beating you have names such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and Yale.

    And it says something about a university that can compete on a world playing field with others that have much more money at their disposal.

    “It really shows that this faculty has the highest reputation,” said Daniel Jutras, dean of law at McGill. “It should be a source of pride for all Montrealers that one of its faculties placed so high on a world ranking. After all, the per student budget at McGill is nowhere near what they have at Harvard.”

    The QS university ranking is among the most respected of university rankings. The rankings are obtained from three measures: academic opinion, employer opinion and citations by academics.

    It was the first time there was a ranking of social sciences, which included sociology, statistics, politics, law, economics and accounting.

    In law, 100 universities were ranked.

    While McGill beat the University of Toronto in the law ranking – Toronto was 13th – McGill was bested by its rival in several of the other departments, including sociology and politics.

    Jutras said McGill has several challenges to its program, including the fact students study in both English and French and earn both common and civil law degrees in a comparative and integrated program of legal studies.

    “We are delighted that the exceptional expertise and dedication of Canada’s oldest law faculty has been recognized by QS and those surveyed,” Jutras said.

    He said McGill goes to great lengths to choose the right candidates for its law program, relying not just on numerical evaluations but on an autobiographical essay, letters of reference and interviews.

    “We have chosen a very labour-intensive process to select students,” said Jutras, adding that the ranking may bring even more high-quality candidates to the faculty of law.

    “There is a certain visibility that comes with this.”

    Already only one in 10 applicants makes it into law school at McGill, which has 170 students in its first-year class and gets about 1,700 applicants for those spots.

    The allure is McGill’s great reputation and the opportunity to study at a university that has churned out accomplished law luminaries such as Canadian prime ministers Sir John Abbott and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and justices of the Supreme Court Morris Fish and Marie Deschamps.

    “We are just very proud and happy about what it says about us,” Jutras said. “But different rankings mean different things so we have to be both proud and modest.”

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