The Best Law Schools For Wannabe Big Shots*

 

big shots

*Update: The original post inadvertently switched some of the results from the National Law Journal’s top 10. It has been corrected and the post updated.


Prospective law students must wade through mixed messages from dozens of sources: alumni, faculty, family, and friends — not to mention rankings (ahem, U.S. News & World Report).

If you are a would-be law student with aspirations of a life in biglaw, you should note The National Law Journal’s list of “Go-To Schools” released today, in which “Go-To” means the schools with “the highest percentage of graduates hired by NLJ 250 firms.”

The NLJ’s numbers differ considerably from U.S. News  — Northwestern, for instance, tops the NLJ poll but is tied for 10th on U.S. News.

We wanted to take a look at the NLJ and U.S. News rankings in combination, and also take into account Super Lawyer’s school ranking released last fall. As we noted at the time, the Super Lawyer ranking is somewhat flawed in that they looked at the sheer numbers of which schools had the most Super Lawyers, and that the selection of Super Lawyers themselves are not necessarily scientific. But, given the weight of peer response and respect of the list, it’s at least illustrative of lawyers doing well in their respective field and geographic area.

The numbers present a difficult truth. As Elie Mystal noted at Above the Law, “This is the kind of information prospective law students need to be armed with before they decide where to spend 3 years and six figures.” If your prospective schools aren’t on the list, it’s time make some tough decisions.

Law school is obviously not only for the biglaw attorneys-in-waiting. But the expense of law school and burden of student loans must be weighed against the opportunities a law degree affords, and certain law schools will give students a shot at more, and higher-paying, gigs.

As for the methodology of our list, we considered and weighted three criteria for each school: U.S. News & World Report (20%), National Law Journal Go-To ranks (40%) and Super Lawyer ranks (40%). Because we wanted the list to represent which schools are best for lawyers who want to have significant standing in their respective field or within the industry, we weighted U.S. News less than the other two factors, as it attempts to rank the quality of education rather than pure post-grad employability.

Best Law Schools For Wannabe Big Shots >

10. Georgetown University Law School, Total Law Review Score: 10

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 13

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 5

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 14

9. Northwestern University School of Law, Total Law Review Score: 9.6

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 1

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 18

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 10

8. Stanford Law School, Total Law Review Score: 9.4

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 3

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 19

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 3

7. University of Chicago Law School, Total Law Review Score: 9.2

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 4

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 16

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 6

6. University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall, Total Law Review Score: 8.4

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 9

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 9

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 6

5. New York University, Total Law Review Score: 6.6

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 8

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 6

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 5

4. University of Virginia, Total Law Review Score: 5.6

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 5

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 4

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 10

3. University of Michigan Law School, Total Law Review Score: 5

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 6

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 2

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 9

2. Harvard Law School, Total Law Review Score: 4.8

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 10

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 1

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 2

1. Columbia Law School, Total Law Review Score: 4.4

National Law Journal's Go-To Schools Rank: 2

Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rank: 7

U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools Rank: 4

And Rounding Out The Top 20...

11.University of Pennsylvania Law School, 10.4 (15; 7; 8)

12. The University of Texas School of Law, Total Law Review Score: 10.6 (Super Lawyers: 3; National Law Journal: 16; U.S. News: 15)

13. Yale Law School, 11.4 (10; 18; 1)

14. Duke Law School, 15.2 (23; 10; 10)

15. UCLA School of Law, 15.4 (14; 17; 15)

16. Vanderbilt University Law School, 16.6 (21; 12; 17)

17. Boston University School of Law, 16.8 (13; 19; 20)

18. Cornell University Law School, 18.6 (26; 14; 13)

19. The George Washington University Law School, 18.8 (12; 21; 28)

20. Boston College Law School, 19.6 (17; 19; 26)

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