While I'm certainly happy to see a publication outside of the South validate my law degree, I'm no fool. The only categories in which LSU traditionally trumps Yale are athletics and attractive co-eds. So how exactly did The National Jurist calculate its law school rankings?
The magazine used nine factors in three categories:
- Post Graduate Success (50 percent): employment rates, number of graduates who made partner at National Law Journal 200 Firms, number of graduates recognized by Super Lawyers, bar passage rate.
- Quality of Teaching (35 percent): student satisfaction, RateMyProfessor.com evaluations, Princeton Review scores for professor availability and professor interest.
- Cost Efficiency (15 percent): Debt and diversity.
Post-graduate success, understandably, received the most weight.
Then The National Jurist worked its numbers-weighting-grading-curve magic:
To derive the final ranking, we converted the letter grades to a GPA and applied the weights listed above. Some schools did not receive a letter grade for all nine factors, in which case their final GPAs are based on the smaller number of grades. A school was excluded from the study if [its] missing factors accounted for more than 20 percent of the final GPA.
The top 14 schools out of the magazine's ranking?
1. Stanford University
2. University of Virginia
3. UC Berkeley School of Law
5. University of Alabama
6. Harvard Law School
7. Columbia Law School
8. University of Pennsylvania
9. Texas Tech University
10. University of North Carolina
11. Louisiana State University
12. Duke University
13. Yale Law School
14. George Washington University
The U.S. News and World Report list is the benchmark for law school greatness. While this year's U.S. News rankings are still a few weeks away, let's compare The National Jurist list to the 2012 U.S. News list, shall we?
Interpret these rankings as you will. From what I can see, Stanford is a good bet either way.
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