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2017 Law School Rankings Leaked Early -- Worried?

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on March 10, 2016 11:57 AM

Well, it's happened again, only a little earlier than usual. Key sections the 2017 U.S. News and World Report Law School Rankings have been released, apparently due to some staff miscommunication, Above the Law Reports.

Considered how obsessed people are about the Top 100 law school ranks, we just couldn't leave this one alone. Here's an overview of what can be learned from the leaked rankings.

T14 Schools

There's no real drama here; it seems that the T14 schools pretty much stayed the same. Duke and Michigan traded places with Duke falling three points and Michigan rising three points. All in all, nothing earth shattering.

As usual, most of the drama took place nearer the bottom. These last couple of years have not been kind at all to a number of schools, some which we will not mention by name. The rankings from 50-100 were as tumultuous as a sea crashing against rocks.

Should You Be Worried?

Unless you completely dropped the ball, you already have sent your applications out, and acceptance and rejection letters should start trickling in. For all intents and purposes, the leak doesn't really do much except to validate the schools that did well in the ranks and to embarrass those schools who fell even further in the ranks. It will give you approximately another week to weigh your decisions. If a school you were looking at fell 20 points, then you'll probably reassess it.

What's in a Rank?

There's push and pull about how much the U.S. News rankings of law schools matter -- but the fact the list exists lends a credence to the mythology. Part of the reason ranks actually matter is because people think they matter. It's kind of like any other tradeable good or idea. People only value it relative to the perceived value they think other people have for it.

People look at these numbers to validate their biases of certain brand names. Attended Georgetown? You'll enjoy the benefit of brand name recognition a little more than someone who attended ABC Law School. These are the realities that you will have to face. Sure, go to the highest ranked school you can, but also keep in mind the tuition.

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