The University of Maryland School of Law is one of the most accommodating in the nation for aspiring female attorneys.
So concludes a survey in this month's National Jurist, a publication for law students. The magazine ranked Maryland 13th among 168 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.
The state's only other law school, the University of Baltimore, placed 58th.
The survey measured such things as the percentage of female students and their numbers in student leadership positions. Also figured in was the percentage of female faculty at the schools.
Some of the lowest rankings went to the oldest, most respected schools. Harvard Law School ranked next to last in the survey, in part because women make up only 15 percent of the faculty. Other prestigious schools, including Yale (145) and the University of Pennsylvania (139) also scored poorly.
Brigham Young University had the lowest proportion of female students, 32 percent. The lowest proportion of female faculty of schools in the survey was 5 percent at Wayne State University in Detroit.
The University of Maryland ranked highly in several categories. In all, women account for 50 percent of the school's students and 34 percent of faculty members, the magazine said. That compares with 48 percent of students and 32 percent of faculty at UB.
"We've been at the point for a couple of years where roughly 50 percent of our class has been women," said Donald G. Gifford, dean of the Maryland Law School.
"We don't aim for any particular percentage. We give that to the admissions committee. In recent years, looking at best-qualified candidates, we ended up at 50 percent women."
The University of Baltimore's percentages were slightly lower than Maryland's but above the national average.
"This really confirms that it's an excellent place for female faculty, female students and female administrators," said its dean, John A. Sebert.
The top spot in the survey went to North Carolina Central School of Law, followed by City University of New York School of Law and Northeastern University in Boston. Santa Clara University and Arizona State University round out the top five.
Mr. Gifford noted that several schools in the top 10 are relatively new. So, are their faculties, which may contribute to a balance among male and female professors.
"They haven't had large blocks of tenured faculty," Mr. Gifford said.