The release of the US News and World Report law school rankings always sets the internet abuzz, and this year was no different. With some shake-ups in the top 10, drops of over 25 spots further down the list, and the debut of a few new schools, concerned parties from all over the internet are weighing in with opinions and analysis.
With so much noise, it can be difficult and confusing to figure out what’s actually important, so we’ve collected some of the articles most relevant to pre-law readers.
Methodology: 2016 Best Law School Rankings — U.S. News and World Report
With these particular rankings playing such a huge role in determining where many applicants decide to attend law school, you should at least know what goes into determining where schools place. This is pretty dry, but it’s the place to go to find out all the nuts and bolts of the ranking system.
The Upshot of the Latest U.S. News Law School Rankings — Wall Street Journal
Among WSJ’s insights is one particularly encouraging observation for pre-laws:
It’s easier to get into a top-10 law school: It’s still hard to get into an elite school, but one’s chances are better than they were a year ago. The average acceptance rate of schools ranked in the top 10 is 18.7% this year. That’s two full percentage points above last year’s average, which stood at 16.7%. Some schools in the top 10 also saw slight declines in applicant LSAT scores. Columbia, Chicago and New York University, for example, each dropped a point in both the 25th and 75th percentiles for the entrance exam.
What Did The Law School Rankings Look Like in 1987? — Spivey Consulting
Don’t look if you’re a Michigan alum…
Five Failures of the U.S. News Rankings — Law.com (Subscription Required)
You can sign up for a trial subscription to Law.com, or read the full text here. The author brings up five problems with the rankings, but the most important for many pre-laws is this:
Second, the rankings use a national scope, which places schools on the same scale. Only a handful of schools have a truly national reach in job placement. The rest have a regional, in-state, or even just local reach. The relative positioning of California Western and West Virginia in the rankings is virtually meaningless. Graduates from these schools do not compete with one another.
How Prospective Law Students Can Make Better Use of Rankings — Verdict
This was actually published a couple of weeks before the rankings were released, but it contains some important reminders for pre-laws: don’t freak out about a one-year jump or drop, look deeper into employment numbers, and always think about cost.