Ah, the U.S. News and World Report law school rankings were published yesterday, and law students -- future, current, and former -- rushed to see how schools ranked.
This listing is not the end all be all, but as college juniors start thinking about applying to law school, this list will definitely affect their decision on what schools to apply to. Current students may get a boost of confidence (or quite the opposite) as they head into the legal job market. Meanwhile, alumnus are hoping their alma maters move up the list, making their resumes look more impressive.
Here's a look at the top 10 law schools as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
1. Yale University
2. Harvard University
3. Stanford University
4. Columbia University
5. University of Chicago
6. New York University
7. University of Pennsylvania
8. University of Virginia
9. University of California, Berkeley
10. (tie) Duke University and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
There shouldn't be many surprises here as the list is mostly static with a few slight moves, the most notable made by Duke by moving up one spot into the top ten. So, are you happy with your school's ranking? Here's why you shouldn't put all emphasis on this list.
1. Practice Area/Unique Features
Though a school may not be ranked highly overall, it may excel in a particular practice area that is of interest to you. Or maybe a school has a great clinic that you are really interested in participating. Many schools have programs that are unique to them, and may be great selling points. They may not be enough to shoot the school to the top of the list, but that doesn't mean that the school shouldn't remain at the top of your list.
2. Practice Location
Look, if you go to Yale you can work anywhere. But what if you don't want to work anywhere? What if you just want to work in "this town" USA? Do you need to go to Harvard? No. The legal market in the U.S. varies by geography, and if you know you want to practice in a particular state, you may want to go to law school there. This may also help your chances at passing the bar in that state a bit (ahem, California).
Not all of us can get into a top 10 school (and many don't want to pay for a top 10 school). Does that mean you shouldn't go to law school? Of course not. Many great attorneys didn't go to a top 10 school. If you're dead set on being a law professor or a Supreme Court clerk, it would definitely help. But, if you're just interested in getting a good legal education, then don't beat yourself up if you didn't go to a top 10 school -- just make sure it's accredited.
While the new law school rankings are out, take a look to see where your dream school (or alma mater) ranks. But don't discount your school solely because of its ranking. Be sure to take other matters into consideration before ranking law schools on your own list.
What do you think of the law school ranking? Do you think it's important? Let us know @FindLawLP on Twitter.
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