How important are law school rankings in deciding where to apply and where to attend? My friend Austin at CALI pre-law blog said it perfectly in yesterday’s post:
“The US News law school rankings are useful as a shorthand starting point for those of you initially looking into law schools. But you have to do your own research and pick out the data that are important to you based on your personal goals. “
I wholeheartedly agree and I immediately wrote Austin to thank him for sharing this advice with his readers. (And if you’ve read my book review of Susan Estrich’s book and my postings under the Law School Location category, you know the reasons why I feel so strongly about this.) Austin was kind enough to write back with the following insight which I think is very important to share with my clients:
“I have to admit. I probably went to the school I am at right now based on rankings. That’s what I heard and read a lot: “Go to the highest ranked school you can.”
Well, that may have been a mistake that cost me in terms of the debt that I will be carrying as a result. I’m not sure the job prospects of someone outside of the top 10-15% at an upper 2nd tier school are significantly greater than for those at a lower 2nd tier school. But the scholarship opportunities were for me.
There are just so many other factors to consider. As a pre-law, there is just so much I didn’t understand about the legal world!”
Even though I tell this to all of my clients, I think it’s even more meaningful from a current law student and I thank Austin so much for allowing me to share his comments with my readers.