St. Mary’s University School of Law is listed as one of the country’s best law schools and its students are among the most competitive in the nation, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Princeton Review.

The school ranks seventh nationally for “most competitive students” in the publication’s 2007 edition of the “Best 170 Law Schools.” The publication chose the schools “based on our high regard for their academic programs and offerings, institutional data we collect from the schools, and the candid opinions of students attending them who rate and report on their campus experiences at the schools,” said Robert Franek, vice president for publishing.

“We have raised the bar over the past several years,” said Bill Piatt, dean of the law school. “This shows that our students are taking their jobs very seriously. They understand that law school is a demanding regiment. I think the work ethic they are showing will pay off for them as they pursue their studies, enter the legal profession and pursue their careers.”

The ranking was compiled over the past three academic years and is based on surveys of 17,000 students attending the 170 listed law schools. In the ‘most competitive students’ category, students were asked to assess the number of hours they and their peers spend studying outside of class each day and the degree of competitiveness among law students at their school.

“The St. Mary’s School of Law strives to educate students to become competent and ethical practitioners of the law with a sense of community and civic engagement,” said Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., president of St. Mary’s University. “This national recognition speaks to the dedication our law school students have to succeed.”

The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in the book on a single hierarchical list from 1 to 170, or name one law school best overall. Instead it has 11 ranking lists of the top 10 law schools in various categories.

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