Published on December 10, 2020 by Morgan Black  
Photo taken prior to COVID-19
Photo taken prior to COVID-19
The Princeton Review, known for its college rankings in dozens of categories based on students’ ratings of their colleges, has released their “Best Law Schools for 2021” rankings. Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law was ranked 4th in the “Best Quality of Life” category. Cumberland was listed in the category’s top five along with other prestigious law schools including those at the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Florida State University and Stanford University. 
 
The publication’s rankings for 2021 factored in data from its surveys of 17,000 students attending 164 law schools. The 80-question survey asked law students about their schools’ academics, student body and campus life; it also included questions for the respondents about their backgrounds and career plans.
 
The “Best Quality of Life” list is based on student answers to survey questions on whether there is a strong sense of community at the school, differing opinions in the classroom, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school and the school's research resources (library, computer and database resources). 
 
“One of Cumberland’s most distinctive attributes is the caring sense of community that pervades faculty, staff and students alike. It is a part of our school’s culture,” Dean Corky Strickland said. “The student body has a cohesiveness that is more like a small, liberal arts college than a law school. The bonds within the student body coupled with our unusually supportive faculty and staff make Cumberland a more humane and effective place to learn law. The Princeton Review ranking confirms the strength of Cumberland’s supportive community.”
 
Student comments gathered from the surveys regarding Cumberland School of Law’s quality of life include: “Most students are more than willing to help their classmates succeed;” “We study together, hang out together, and have formed a tight bond with each other;" “There is a friendliness and warmth that you just won’t find at other schools” and “We interact with each other like friendly colleagues; we compete with each other like sibling rivals, and we support each other through the trials of life and death like family.”
 
“Those of us in the Cumberland community know we have a very special atmosphere, but it is wonderful to have it acknowledged by such a large, impartial group,” Whitney Dachelet, assistant dean for admission and enrollment management ,said. “We are consistently ranked in the top five for quality of life in an industry that doesn’t always foster such a positive and supportive environment. Therefore, I am extremely proud of our students, faculty and administrators for creating an atmosphere that is so pleasant and challenging at the same time. I truly believe our environment is one of our strongest assets, and it helps us produce compassionate, hardworking and ethical attorneys.”
 
To learn more about the rankings and the methodology behind the lists, see here.