Law Schools are very wily about the numbers game and, although it can be annoying, all of this ranking is honestly a good thing for both schools and students. Law schools working to increase or maintain their rank must consider the post-graduation employment rate to stay competitive. See, the schools play a balancing game – trying to keep LSAT scores and GPAs high by making good choices of first offers while keeping post-graduation employment rates high, too. How do they boost their employment percentage? Good question. They have to project how many jobs will be available to their students and then create a class that will neatly align with the available jobs. This is why you’ve seen class sizes shrink at law schools around the nation despite a burgeoning demand for law school. This class size slashing is good for law school rankings because it means more students in the (reduced size) class will be snagging jobs come graduation, percentage-wise. And percentages are where it’s at! If there are fewer jobs available, it is good business to produce fewer lawyers to hire into them. This leaves fewer unemployed attorneys at graduation and a stronger chance that, at the end of your law school career, you will find a way to pay off all of those loans!
The T14 No real changes here. If you were accepted into a T14 school this year, you’ll still be attending a T14 school in the Fall. Congratulations. There were only 2 tiny moves in this list. Duke improved it’s standing by jumping ahead of University of Michigan – Ann Arbor so now these two schools are tied at #10. And Georgetown pulled even with Cornell creating a tied ranking so now any attendance at a T14 school means your school is ranked at #13 or higher.
Updates. Last year Brooklyn Law sank like a stone (from #65 to #80). The bad news is this law school hasn’t recovered from the fall. The good news is it didn’t fall off the map: BL is holding its own at #83. For now. After its precipitous fall to #47, U of Illinois (Urbana-Champagne) has pulled itself together and is starting to make the climb back up the rankings – this year making a showing at #40. As scandals are eventually forgotten, Illinois should be able to work its way back to (or at least close to) the 25th spot once again. St. John’s has sadly slipped into the second tier. The next few years will determine if St. John’s has become a casualty of our new economic reality.
Last year’s wake up call to BYU seems to have worked. BYU pushed up 8 places while the University of Utah (perhaps complacent in its newly won top ranking in Utah) fell 8 places to render BYU the top dog in Utah once again. Nice try U of U.
The University of Connecticut continues to rally and has worked its way back to the 54th place in the rankings. It still has a little work to do to earn back the 52nd place it enjoyed in 2009 but this is one of the quickest turnarounds in the rankings game. If this school continues to focus on its academic strong points and aligning its mission to its newly reduced budget, we anticipate great things from this school.
The University of Alabama continues to enjoy its newfound prestige. It dropped slightly in the rankings but is holding fast at #23. UNC – Chapel Hill holds fast to its prestigious ranking of #31 for a second year. Will they ever return to their 2010 position of #28? Stay tuned…
It seems a lot of the other gains and losses due to the changes to the ranking games adjusted slightly this year. Given a couple more years, everything should settle back down to a predictable pace. Who do we think is worth watching?
First and foremost, keep your eye on University of Nebraska – Lincoln. They have rocketed from the somewhere in the 2nd tier to #54. This is no small feat. And the upward movement has been a trend (so we’re pretty sure it’s not just a glitch) that looks like it has staying power.
Stay tuned for Part 2!