How to Pick a Law School

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Thanks to Brian Leiter for posting a link to this article in the WSJ. Here is more support for why you shouldn’t shoose law schools based on rankings alone, and a list of factors you should consider when deciding where to apply and where to attend.
I’m thrilled this issue is garnering publicity at this crucial point in the law school application season. Remember, the idea when choosing where to apply is to keep your options open so you have decisions to make in the spring/summer.

2 thoughts on “How to Pick a Law School

  1. Melissa on said:

    Hi Ann!

    From what I have read online and in your blog, location is arguably a more important factor in choosing a law school than ranking if your numbers aren’t high enough for you to attend a top-20 school. So many write ups that I’ve read say that law school X is a good choice if you want to practice in the region around the school, but if you are hoping to practice in a different part of the country, job prospects will be poor.

    I feel kind of stupid to ask this but… why is that? Is it because law schools in different areas cover different material for the state bar exams? Or is it because lawyers choose to remain loyal to regional institutions and hire local students for summer associate positions and first jobs? And if so, is this really only true for a first job or do more experienced attorneys have similar problems when trying to relocate?

    I’m just confused by this, because lawyers have the same access to rankings and whatnot as we do. The articles on top-law-schools.com make it sound like if you graduate from University of Miami and apply for a job in Chicago, they’ll give you a blank stare. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m 23 and am definitely not ready to decide within the next few months where I want to live for the rest of my life.

    Can you please explain this a little?

    Thank you!

    Melissa

    P.S.— I ordered your book! Can’t wait to receive it.

    • Melissa, all other things being more or less equal, then yes – location is of the utmost importance.
      It’s because of who you’ll be networking with and where firms and organizations hire, not because schools teach to any particular state’s bar.
      I graduated from the University of Miami and had summer associate positions in Houston and Pittsburgh and Birmingham – but I had to go after them. Those firms did not come to UM to interview.
      It’s not that it’s impossible to get a job outside of a region, just that it requires more muscle and initiative.
      I hope you love the book, and if you do I’d really appreciate a review on Amazon!
      Ann

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