The law school rankings game is competitive these days. While U.S. News and World Report is still House Lannister — they’ve got the money and the power — there have been a ton of pretenders to the throne cropping up in the last few years. Of these, Above the Law’s rankings might be House Stark in our Game of Thrones analogy: they’re in this thing for honor, not (only) influence.
Started three years ago as an alternative to U.S. News, Above the Law’s law school rankings are based almost solely on the employment prospects of each law school. They want students to have an accurate picture of what their degree is worth, to the point that they often discourage students from attending law school because of what a poor investment the bottom tier of degrees is. To that end, they don’t even bother ranking schools past number 50.
Here’s what they have to say about their methodology:
These are the only rankings to incorporate the latest ABA employment data concerning the class of 2014. The premise underlying our approach to ranking schools remains the same: that given the steep cost of law school and the new normal of the legal job market, potential students should prioritize their future employment prospects over all other factors in deciding whether and where to attend law school. The relative quality of schools is a function of how they deliver on the promise of gainful legal employment.
There’s a bit of a catch-22 about these rankings, since so many law firms use the U.S. News rankings as part of their hiring decisions. Even though ATL might ding Yale for having slightly worse raw jobs numbers than Chicago or Penn, you’re still going to have more cache walking into a job interview with a degree from Yale.
More information never hurts, though, so here is ATL’s top 14.
1. Harvard Law School
2. Stanford Law School
3. University of Chicago Law School
4. University of Pennsylvania Law School
5. Yale Law School
6. University of Virginia Law School
7. Duke Law School
8. Columbia Law School
9. Cornell University Law School
10. NYU School of Law
11. UC Berkeley School of Law
12. University of Michigan Law School
13. Northwestern University School of Law
14. University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Click here for the full list.