The Dean of the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewitt III School of Law said the school received yet another national accolade late last week.

Paul Kirgis was justifiably proud to announce the honor to KGVO News.

“We learned this week that we have been named the 10th best value law school in America,” said Dean Kirgis. “That makes us one of only two law schools west of the Mississippi who are even ranked in the top 20. This comes from Pre-Law Magazine, which if the largest magazine circulated to both undergraduate and law students on legal education and admissions to law school.”

Kirgis explained why this designation is so important in recruiting new law school students.

“It looks at both student outcomes and cost,” he said. “It measures employment rate and bar pass rate and we’re doing really well on both of those which of course are the most important to our students. It also considers the cost of tuition, but even more important, the average debt load of our students, so it’s a measure of the return on your investment in your education.”

Kirgis said the UM Law School has had a tradition of excellence since it opened not long after the turn of the 20th century.

“If you go back and look at the documentation of the founding in 1911, this law school has always placed an emphasis on practical legal education, training students so they can hit the ground running when they graduate,” he said. “Our mission focuses on bringing theory and practice together in a competency-based curriculum. That’s one of the things that really attracted me to this law school was that focus on the students and their ability to go out and practice and serve their communities right after they graduate from law school.”

In 2011, the School of Law celebrated 100 years of education and service. It accepts about 80 new law students every year.